BCT’s Wales Bat Officer, Steve Lucas, talks about an award-winning BCT project in South Wales…
Amongst the range of projects that BCT undertakes in Wales to actively promote a greater awareness of bat conservation, one has gained particular recognition - the Urban Bat Survey Project.
The Urban Bat Survey Project aims to record and map bat activity in the urban environment by engaging volunteers new to bat conservation and providing them with the skills needed to take part in these and other survey projects, such as the National Bat Monitoring Programme. In other words – the Urban Bat Survey Project is a jewel in the crown of the Wales Bat Project.
Funded by Environment Wales and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project started in 2009 under the Count Bat Project taking place in Swansea, Cardiff, Neath and Newport. In Neath, 22 dedicated volunteers took part surveying 11 one kilometre squares. Overall in the project 228 volunteers took part surveying 108 one kilometre squares. Due to the success of the project, this year it was extended to Clwyd in north Wales.
I decided to enter the Neath element of the Urban Bat Survey Project into the Neath Port Talbot Environment Awards under the Action for Wildlife category – and I’m delighted to say that we won! The award was presented by BBC wildlife presenter Iolo Williams in recognition of the outstanding work that this project has done not only to gather new information about bats in the urban landscape, but also to train new volunteers to help deliver actions under the biodiversity action plan. The urban environment is an important area for people to get to engage with bat conservation and we need to ensure that bats are not disadvantaged by increasing urbanisation.
The ceremony was a great night and we all had an enjoyable time. It was a tremendous and fitting accolade for everyone who took part. Those volunteers who were able to be there on the night all felt really proud of this achievement - and so they should! Well done to all of them who continue to make this project such a success. Next year will be the International Year of the Bat so this is a great boost to 2011!
For more information about the Urban Bat Survey Project, you can read the full 2009 survey report.
Wales Bat Officer
The work of BCT in Wales is also financially supported by the Countryside Council for Wales. For more information, see BCT's website.