Working with Avon Wildlife Trust, the lottery funding will enable the council to carry out a range of survey training sessions over the next two years, providing lots of opportunities for volunteers to get involved and help address the climate and nature emergency.
Volunteers will be able to develop new skills and will be trained to help with the task of monitoring their local environment and recording the biodiversity changes created by rewilding.
In addition, two paid placement opportunities will be on offer, one each year. The two successful candidates will learn all the survey techniques as well as skills for working with volunteers and delivering projects. Avon Wildlife Trust will start recruiting for the first position shortly which will be advertised via the trust’s recruitment website at www.avonwildlifetrust/jobs.
The programme of training sessions is currently being developed. Once this is done the sessions will be advertised on the trust’s website at www.avonwildlifetrust.org.uk, Twitter (www.twitter.com/avonwt), Facebook (www.facebook.com/Avonwt/) and Eventbrite.
A further grant will enable a council ranger to carry out volunteer sessions over the next six months. These will involve revisiting all of the tree planting sites created so far as a result of the rewilding programme to carry out maintenance and additional survey sessions at the tree and tall grass locations.
It is planned to develop "rewilding champions" from these two projects to help with the ongoing monitoring and aftercare of these areas.
Volunteers who have signed up previously will receive an email with more information about the tree maintenance sessions. If you would like to get involved but have not yet signed up email firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be added to the mailing list.
Sessions will be advertised through Eventbrite and more details will be on the Nature and Climate North Somerset Facebook page - www.facebook.com/NatureandClimateNorthSomerset/.
"Unfortunately we had to suspend all volunteering opportunities because of Covid restrictions but we are now looking forward to welcoming volunteers back with us and to working in partnership with Avon Wildlife Trust to take the rewilding project forward," said Cllr Mike Solomon, the council's executive member for neighbourhoods and community services.
"Rewilding means a significant transformation in how we manage our open spaces and it's important we're able to monitor the changes that will happen as we alter the way we manage some of our land. This is a significant task and the lottery grant and sessions being led by our ranger will enable us to train volunteers to help us do this. There will be a number of exciting opportunities for people to get involved in over the coming months.
"Before the lockdowns we'd already had fantastic support from our local communities and this project will enable more residents to get involved in helping us deliver our ambitious rewilding programme."
With the help of volunteers and its contractors Glendale, the council has planted a total of 20,000 young trees so far as part of its commitment to rewild areas of North Somerset.
The aim is to plant 50,000 trees, resulting in 25 hectares of new woodland, and create around 40 hectares of tall grass areas where the grass is allowed to grow. Together, these initiatives will provide more habitats for wildlife to flourish and increase biodiversity, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change and address the nature emergency.
You can find out more about the rewilding plans on the council's website at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/rewilding.