A South Cumbrian wildfowling club has won the Green Thinking Award in this year’s Community Sport and Recreation Awards, organised by the Sport and Recreation Alliance (SRA). Secretary Andy Stott and Chairman Mark Shaw of the Westmorland Wildfowlers’ Association were presented with their award and £1000 prize by HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, at the SRA’s Annual General Meeting yesterday (July 8th 2015). They came top out of almost 200 entries in the awards.
The Green Thinking award is given to the club, programme or initiative which displays outstanding concern for the environment through work which helps to protect the great outdoors.
Andy Stott from the club said: “It is a great honour for our club to have our conservation work acknowledged via this prestigious award. What makes it more special is that this accolade originates from the U.K.’s representative body for Sport and Recreation, who have recognised the valuable contribution that wildfowlers make to improving the habitat over which they shoot”
The club, which shoots the River Kent estuary, is affiliated to the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
Richard Ali, BASC’s Chief Executive, stated “I am delighted that the Sport and Recreation Alliance has recognised the important contribution that the Westmorland Wildfowlers Association makes to conservation. Everyday those who shoot protect our natural heritage through their sheer hard work and commitment. It truly is conservation in action.”
Duncan Thomas, BASC England’s North West officer, said: “We would like to congratulate Westmorland Wildfowlers’ Association for blazing a trail in teaching and inspiring many others within the fields of shooting, conservation and Young Shots. They are leading lights and should be rightly proud of their achievement.”
The club’s 500 word winning submission was supported by a three minute video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yQoFIWdvWQ. The club stated in their submission that ‘Green Thinking’ involved a proactive approach to enhancing the environment in which they shoot. They said that they aspired to give something back to the environment and pass this aspiration on to their young members so that future generations can carry on their work to preserve and improve the land over which they shoot. They said the key to enhancing their habitat was to forge strong links with their landlords and with the major public and government stakeholders on the estuary. Once stakeholder approval was given, hundreds of hours of labour have been volunteered by the club. They have created new wetlands which attract a diverse array of migrant and resident birds throughout the year. The club utilises “duck tubes” which have greatly improved the breeding success of the mallard by protecting the eggs and duckling broods from predation. “Duck tubes” have been built, donated and erected on Cumbrian Wildlife Trust, RSPB and National Trust wetlands by the club. On the estuary access points, the clubs anti-disturbance signs warn members of the public about the presence of ground nesting saltmarsh birds during the Spring breeding season. Overall the clubs biodiversity enhancing projects have benefitted Morecambe Bay for wildlife, locals and visitors alike. The club have inspired their membership, specifically their juniors and younger members, to embrace conservation.
Shooters spend 3.9 million work days on conservation – the equivalent of 16,000 full-time jobs.
Shoot providers spend nearly £250 million a year on conservation.
Source: The Value of Shooting