Meet the winners!

Kingfishers by Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography

The Dorothy Morley Awards 2018 have now been judged and the results are in!

The biannual Dorothy Morley award scheme has been running since 2000. It is a tribute to the memory of the dedicated conservationist Dorothy Morley and showcases the fantastic work and achievements of local groups in Berkshire that benefit local wildlife and people, with a £1,000 cash prize to the winning group. 

This year the judges shortlisted four projects across Berkshire;

  • The Renewal Project in Newbury
  • Butterfly Conservation Upper Thames branch Elm Trees project at Maidenhead Thicket
  • Twyford Allotment Association in association with the Twyford and Ruscombe Local History Society’s (TATA&TRLHS) project  
  • Wildlife in Ascot
Judging

Dan Akam and Kelly Hedges adjudicating Wildlife in Ascot

Winner of the 2018 Dorothy Morley Award – Wildlife in Ascot

Congratulations to Wildlife in Ascot! 

Hilary Phillips remarked on what particularly impressed the judges;

‘Wildlife in Ascot are deserving winners of the Dorothy Morley Award 2018. As a group they have worked tirelessly to engage the local community and inspire a programme of activities to benefit local wildlife. Their methodical and strategic approach to this has been commendable, ensuring that their efforts have maximum impact, are included in planning policy as part of the Neighbourhood Plan and reflect regional and national biodiversity initiatives. They have taken an evidential approach and a long-view of how best to improve their local patch for wildlife.

'Everyone from the local scouts to schools, university, Local Authorities and even the local racecourse has been involved in some way, and they all seem to be having a great deal of fun in the process!’

Wildlife in Ascot

Runner up –  The Renewal Project, Newbury

Coming in a close second is The Renewal Project in Newbury. This project looks after a 1.5 mile stretch of the River Lambourne flowing through Newbury. They are improving the habitat by restoring the banks, and creating flow deflectors which improve the riverbed and overall health of the river. They also have a focus on education with kids clubs, evening talks and pond dipping events all free of charge.

Kelly Hedges explained what the judges liked about the project;

‘The improvements made to the river are clearly of benefit to the health of the river thus supporting a wide range of wildlife. During our visit we were even lucky enough to see a water vole, proof that the bank and river restoration is really paying off! We were also really impressed with the link to the local community with the river being a focal point of the local greenspace. There is a lot of community engagement educating the local community to cherish and value their local patch.’

The Renewal Project

Awards ceremony

Staff from BBOWT present the Dorothy Morley Award 2018 to Wildlife in Ascot at Ascot Heath Infant School, one of their project sites.

Well done to everyone who entered this year

The projects that didn’t quite make it this time around were Butterfly Conservation's Upper Thames Elm Trees project and Twyford Allotment Association in association with the Twyford and Ruscombe Local History Society’s (TATA&TRLHS) project; both of these projects had really good wildlife gains and had added heritage value.

The Elm Trees project aims to bring back elms for people and wildlife, in particular the white letter hairstreak butterfly which has been in a 87% decline since the advent of Dutch elm disease. This is being done by replanting elm species close to existing known colonies of butterflies and creating corridors to connect them. This is truly a landscape-scale project with more than 115 trees being planted to date. Local community groups have been involved with planting the trees and the aftercare needed for them to flourish. 

The TATA&TRLHS project looked at the combined wildlife value of an allotment with lots of fantastic initiatives including hedge laying and coppicing, nest boxes, tree planting, pollinator nectar projects, wildflowers planting to name a few things. Education is also at the heart of this project with conservation activities introduced to allotment tenant, open days and guided walks.

The heritage osier beds at the allotment showcase the past osier industry (willow used for wickerwork) which was an important part of the village's past, a great resource for the community with benefits to some willow loving wildlife. During their visit to the site the judges got a chance to strip the willow, a satisfying activity!

White-letter hairstreak

White-letter hairstreak butterfly

Daniel Akam from BBOWT who is on the judging panel said;

“It’s amazing to see what great work is being done all over Berkshire, the enthusiasm and passion for each project is inspiring. All of what we saw clearly held great benefit to local people and wildlife, all entrants should be really proud of what they have achieved to date. They are certainly making a massive difference to their local area and wildlife in general, with education and awareness being a key part to many of these projects. Our decision has been very hard as the calibre of projects have been so high; it was a pleasure to be involved in this year's award.”

The Dorothy Morley Awards comes round next in 2020, so anyone thinking of a project that can deliver for wildlife and local communities should look out for the next call for entries in spring 2020. 

Dorothy Morley Awards

 

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