News Archive

Dec 10, 2013

Students Hard at Work in the North Wessex Downs

The Royal Agricultural University obtains funding from the Sustainable Development Fund for its ‘Students for Conservation’ project. The Royal Agricultural University has successfully secured support and vital funding from the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Sustainable Development Fund for its ‘Students for Conservation’ project.

The project will help reinforce links between the RAU and groups such as the Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area (MDNIA). The Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) are a key outcome of the Government Natural Environment White Paper consultation.

RAU Lecturer Dr Ian Grange, who manages the foundation degree in Environmental Conservation and Heritage Management, said: ‘This is a great opportunity for RAU students to get hands-on work experience in a range of projects including the ground breaking MDNIA. This is the only farmer-led NIA in the country and they are keen to develop partnerships involving the wider community and conservation organisations.’

The funding will allow the University to work on habitat restoration projects aimed at better linking populations of priority species, such as tree sparrows and other threatened farmland birds. Students will also be able to apply their surveying training by conducting Phase 1 Habitat Surveys of the area, aimed at benchmarking environmental improvements resulting from this new management approach.

The RAU is grateful to Oliver Cripps, Assistant Director of the North Wessex Downs AONB, along with the NWD AONB Sustainable Development Fund for assisting student participation in this project.

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