Getting to know your neighbours – Initiative for Nature Conservation Cymru (INCC)
Sustainable Development Fund Grant £8,252 over two years
The Initiative for Nature Conservation Cymru was set up in 2018 as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Its aims are to:
- promote the conservation, protection, and improvement of the natural environment of Wales
- advance the education of the public in the conservation, protection & improvement of the natural environment of Wales
This project aimed to engage the local community in a range of activities, focussing on promotion and understanding of, recording, and caring for the species in the area. Equipment such as moth traps and bat detectors were purchased for long-term use.
The project was severely affected by Covid restrictions – walks and activity events were on hold for most of the past year. Despite that, work has continued in different ways. Expeditions have been held with family groups in partnership with Gwaun Cae Gurwen library. 57 people signed up to the project newsletter, with each issue prompting a good response and email questions/comments – local people provide their own stories and photos.
Moth traps and bat detectors (and training packs) were loaned to around 15 families – they return details/ID of species identified, which are then logged and submitted to the Biodiversity Information Service. The Initiative for Nature Conservation Cymru has close links with Cwmaman Town Council and has a high profile in the area – invaluable in promoting engagement. Now that the kit has been purchased, the project and engagement work will continue.
Taking part has changed the lives of some local people: “In 2016 I had been diagnosed with cancer but thankfully came through that. Just as I was getting back to health my husband also was told he had cancer and unfortunately he died within three months of diagnosis. I was devastated and life had no meaning. Everything was too much effort and even my beloved garden got neglected as I had no interest in it or, indeed, anything else. All this changed when I got involved in volunteering for the Initiative for Nature Conservation Cymru.
I’ve since been on bat walks and trekked the surrounding countryside checking on pied flycatchers, among other things. During one of these expeditions, I saw a real live cuckoo for the first time in my life. And I’ll always remember standing on the hillside with the rest of the group, cheering on the meadow pipits as they mobbed the marauder. What a thrill!
I’ve also been monitoring a couple of camera traps, both overlooking the river, which flows past my garden, and have been delighted in seeing the nocturnal doings of various creatures, including the unforgettable sight of a tawny owl having a bath in the shallows. Even the pesky squirrels which trigger the cameras repeatedly are a source of amusement. Health problems, sudden widowhood and the isolation of lockdown could all have had a detrimental effect on me, but I never feel lonely or bored now. On the contrary, life is full of interest and I look forward every morning to discovering what else I share my world with.”