A new Community Science Project in the Peak District and South Pennines that will encourage local people and visitors to get involved in caring for their local moors has been awarded over £600k in funding.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant has been given to the  Moors for the Future Partnership to expand and develop our Community Science Project that will help shape future national climate change initiatives.

This exciting scheme allows volunteers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to learn new skills, have fun, get closer to nature and make a real difference to the future of our iconic upland moorlands.

The funding will support the expansion and development of the programme providing volunteers with the opportunity to learn and participate in ‘Citizen Science’ and improve scientific understanding of how the Peak District and South Pennine Moorlands are affected by a range of environmental factors.

Vanessa Harbar, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands says: “The moors are a much-loved, beautiful landscape and the work to restore them over the last decade is a real success story.

“We're delighted to continue supporting this pioneering work - helping to send hundreds of volunteers out across the length and breadth of the back-bone of England to gather data to inform land management practices.

“It will provide an incredibly useful insight into how habitats are changing, increasing understanding and informing future priorities.”

Volunteers are at the heart of the project and there are three different types of participation – from long-term monitoring of permanent sites by local communities to ad hoc surveys that can be completed in a single afternoon.

Among those who have already joined the band of volunteers taking an active role in the project is Jane Price.

“The best bit for me is that it has engaged so many people. It has been great to see the enthusiasm it has generated – it is infectious and my family and friends are all interested in getting involved,” she explains.

During the next three years, and beyond, the Community Science Project will provide:

A sustainable community volunteer programme for participants to learn, develop new skills and enjoy ‘their’ moorland heritage
Invaluable scientific data on wildlife and climate change impacts in the region
Data and knowledge which can be shared with conservation organisations at local, regional and national levels
Already valuable data has begun to be collected on specific bumblebee, bird and butterfly species.

Environment Agency Board member Dr Clive Elphick said: “This project is a key example of how partnership working can galvanise the public in the fight against climate change.

“Local communities have a vital role to play in monitoring the health of their local moors and helping to collect scientific data.

“We have been supportive of the project since it was launched and are pleased to see it go from strength to strength.”

The project builds on the ground-breaking restoration work of the Moors for the Future Partnership which was formed in 2003 with the help of a £3.1million grant from HLF.

Seeking to undo 200 years of damage caused by industrial processes, the partnership has pioneered work to restore bare and eroding peat and protect blanket bog. It has now become one of the largest moorland conservation programmes in Europe.

The partnership and project is led by the Peak District National Park Authority and supported through its partners including the Environment Agency, Natural England, National Trust, United Utilities, Severn Trent Water, Yorkshire Water and RSPB.

Get involved
Find out more and sign up as a volunteer at:

on Facebook MoorCitizens
on Twitter @MoorCitizens