Campaign for National Parks hands out 2014 Park Protector Awards at Dartmoor National Park awards event

~~Delegates at the event at the Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Princetown visitor centre heard how Plantlife’s  winning “Make the Small Things Count” project is enabling thousands of people to have the opportunity to learn about the wonderful Atlantic Woodlands that are found in Devon and Somerset and discover the hidden treasures of ferns, mosses, lichens and liverworts.
And they were told that the runner-up project - the North York Moors Buildings at Risk app – designed to come up with the best ways to assess the current state of the Park’s Grade 2 listed buildings for inclusion on the Heritage at Risk register – has been taken up by English Heritage to be used across the country.
The annual Park Protector Award recognises, rewards and celebrates exceptional projects or individuals that have made a lasting contribution to the protection, restoration or conservation of the National Parks in England and Wales.
Julian Woolford, Campaign for National Parks chief executive, said: “The winning projects are wonderful examples of how innovation can help building understanding of the fantastic nature and culture within our National Parks. It is important that projects like these get the recognition they deserve through the Park Protector Awards so that they can inspire others to follow in their wake.”
Rachel Jones, Plantlife South West Outreach Manager, said “Make the Small Things Count” was now working with schools on Dartmoor, Exmoor, the Quantock Hills and North Devon Coast at key stages one and two
Ms Jones said the new Science Curriculum had given Plantlife a real opportunity as it placed an emphasis on children working scientifically. “The free learning resources that we have developed for schools gives children first-hand experience by leading them through a series of scientific enquiries within a woodland environment.
“They will be learning alongside characters Ash and Daisy about the woodland habitat, its mosses, lichens and ferns and the kinds of conditions these special plants need to grow.”
Beth Davies, North York Moors National Parks Authority building conservation officer, said English Heritage was developing a variant of the app to allow people across the country to survey buildings using their own smart phones.
Ms Davies said the app for smart phones was currently being piloted by York University and was set to go live nationwide in the next financial year.
“I am absolutely delighted that we have been recognised as being at the forefront of this technology and this further development will encourage others to carry out important survey work on the nation’s historic buildings,” she added.
Peter Harper, Chairman, Dartmoor National Park Authority said:
" Dartmoor National Park is pleased to host the CNP Park Protector Awards, at its gold award winning (Devon Tourism Award) visitor centre Princetown, in the heart of one the most iconic landscapes in the South West."
The visitor centre will be hosting an exhibition about the project later next year.