19th January 2017
Canvey Wick Nature Reserve has been shortlisted in the Nature Reserve of the Year category in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2017 in recognition of its impressive biodiversity and transformation.
Nominated by naturalist and BBC Radio 4 presenter Brett Westwood, the Essex site is showcased as an outstanding example of the value of brownfield sites. “An old oil refinery on the Thames estuary’s shores doesn’t sound like a wildlife haven, but the wildlife thinks differently,” Brett said in his nomination. “This glorious, post-industrial reserve hums with rare bees and other insects.”
Voting is now open at www.countryfile.com/awards and the closing date is 28th February.
Described as a “brownfield rainforest” by Natural England officer Dr Chris Gibson, Canvey Wick Nature Reserve is a 150 hectare Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Canvey Island, Essex. Owned by national land management charity the Land Trust and managed in partnership with the RSPB and Buglife, Canvey Wick Nature Reserve was recently expanded to 150 hectares.
Alan Carter, Director of Portfolio Management at the Land Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be nominated in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards. Canvey Wick Nature Reserve is a shining example of how former industrial areas can become havens for nature and our partnership with RSPB and Buglife, and the support of Natural England, allows us to conserve and enhance this site for people, plants and animals to enjoy for many years to come. We urge everyone to take a minute to cast their vote.”
Yianni Andrews, Essex Area Manager for the RSPB, said: “I’m personally thrilled Canvey Wick has been nominated for this award. As one of just five nature reserves in the whole of the UK shortlisted in the Nature Reserve of the Year category, the nomination alone is a fantastic recognition of this very special site for some of our rarest, but less conspicuous, even overlooked, wildlife – from wildflowers to bees, and beetles to butterflies.
“What is really special about Canvey Wick, and something that fills me with hope for the future of wildlife and nature in the UK, is that it is not a remote unspoilt wilderness, it is a post-industrial site in an urban landscape on the edge of one of the most built up and populated cities in the world, but with a little help nature been able to thrive there.”
Paul Hetherington, Director of Fundraising and Communications at Buglife added: “Canvey Wick is an outstanding Thames Gateway brownfield reserve with one of the finest assemblages of rare invertebrates found in the UK. Species include two or our most endangered bees the Shrill carder bee and Brown-banded carder bee, the Canvey Island ground beetle, Five-banded weevil wasp and the Scarce emerald damselfly. Buglife urges the public to vote for Canvey Wick the reserve that is saving the small things that run the planet.”
I used to work at Askern pit so I've got an affinity with the place. I've been volunteering at the park for the past couple of years, helping people get the most out of it.
Pete Robson, volunteer at Warren House Park
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