Chichester Harbour Conservancy has been recognised nationally for its education service, winning the prestigious Bowland Award.
The Bowland Award is presented annually for the best project, best practice or outstanding contribution to the wellbeing of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It recognises the tireless work of those who contribute to making the UK’s 46 AONBs wonderful places to visit, live and work in.
The education service, which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary, works with local schools throughout Hampshire and West Sussex as well as some further afield, and offers children the opportunity to learn about coastal habitats and wildlife, and take trips aboard Solar Heritage, the Conservancy’s solar-powered catamaran. A classroom at Dell Quay provides a centre from which groups can go out and explore the harbour, which is one of the UK’s smallest Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Dr Richard Austin, AONB manager at Chichester Harbour Conservancy, commented: “Since 1999 we’ve welcomed over 150,000 children to Chichester Harbour, in a bid to better connect them with nature. I nominated the service as I felt the team deserved national recognition for their outstanding efforts.”
Jane Latawski, education officer, added: “We are all delighted to win, and I’d like to thank everyone connected with the education service, including staff, teachers, volunteers and visiting schools.
It is a wonderful boost for our work to be acknowledged with this award, and we look forward to proudly displaying this incredible sculpture in our newly refurbished education centre.”
Awards are made at a special ceremony at the annual Landscapes for Life Conference, which this year took place between July 9-11. Over 100 conferences delegates voted for one of six nominations, with the education service announced as the overall winner. The Bowland Award, also in its 20th year, was named after the first winner, from the Forest of Bowland AONB. The award itself is a hen harrier sculpture in bronze.