The dormice 'Great Nut Hunt'
South West Water and its parent group Pennon are supporting the People's Trust for Endangered Species' national dormice monitoring programme.
The Pennon Environmental Fund (PEF) has donated £3,000 to the Westcountry Rivers Trust to support the work of the People's Trust for Endangered Species in Devon and Cornwall.
Every eight years, the People's Trust for Endangered Species runs a national project called the Great Nut Hunt, encouraging volunteers to look for the carefully nibbled nuts that indicate dormice are living nearby.
This winter, the PEF grant, in association with the Westcountry Rivers Trust, Cornwall Mammal Group and the Devon Wildlife Trust, is being used to train volunteers to become 'nutters' in Devon and Cornwall. The nutters will record evidence of areas where dormice are present as part of this year's Great Nut Hunt.
The grant is being co-ordinated by Kate Stokes, South West Water's ecologist and environmental planner.
Kate, who worked for Cornwall Wildlife Trust before joining South West Water, said: "Dormice are difficult to study and monitor because they spend three quarters of their lives sleeping and they are nocturnal. They are a very under-recorded species, which is why we need more people to look for them."
To enhance dormice habitats for long-term benefit, the PEF funding is also being used to put dormice boxes into key sites throughout the region to help the species spread.
Dormice are already successfully breeding in boxes on land owned by South West Water at Coombe Wood, near Okehampton.
Notes to editors
- For more information about the Great Nut Hunt, which runs from October 2009 until March 2010, see the People's Trust for Endangered Species website www.ptes.org or contact Kate Stokes on 01392 443456.
- Dormice are a national and European protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).
- The Pennon Environmental Fund is sourced from Viridor. Viridor is a waste management company, and South West Water's sister company within Pennon Group.
- HM Revenue and Customs allow landfill operators, such as Viridor, to allocate up to 6.6% of landfill tax to enrolled Environmental Bodies. This provides landfill community funding to environmental and community projects within 10 miles of a landfill site.
- Pennon Environmental Fund distributes a landfill community fund budget of £75,000 per annum to qualifying projects within South West Water's operating region.
- Grants are typically between £3,000 and £5,000 and must first receive approval from HM Customs and Excise Regulator ENTRUST.
Published: 26 October 2009
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