Fancy hunting dragons? Then a wildlife project in the Fens could be for you

Rings End Nature Reserve is located over 11 peaceful hectares, two miles north of March in Cambridgeshire.

Rings End Nature Reserve is located over 11 peaceful hectares, two miles north of March in Cambridgeshire. - Credit: Archant

Dragon hunters are needed to record wildlife that can be found across the Fens.

The plea for hunters is part of a new project, that includes two apprenticeship posts, at Rings End Nature Reserve after winning a share of money from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The River Nene Dragon Finder Project aims to improve wetland habitat for amphibians and reptiles and to get local people involved in their conservation.

The funding has been won by Froglife, a national charity dedicated to conserving native amphibians and reptiles.

Kathy Wormald, Froglife CEO, said the money would: “Provide Froglife with an excellent opportunity to inspire local communities in the East of England about amphibians and reptiles and their intriguing lives, whilst also introducing people to the many local green spaces on our doorsteps that can be enjoyed by all.

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“We’ll be hosting some exceptionally creative activities alongside much needed habitat creation and restoration work.

“The project will also provide employment opportunities in the region through offering two traineeships who will be trained in public engagement and wildlife conservation.”

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A share of the £472,000 grant will help to restore, create and manage ponds on the nature reserve, which provide an ideal home for newts, frogs, toads, grass snakes and common lizards.

The project aims to help local people explore wildlife habitats. Part of this will be achieved by recruiting a new generation of dragon finders – people to go out spotting and recording the amphibians and reptiles that can be found across the region.

A varied programme of events and activities will be held including dragon trail fun days, dragon boat festivals, dragon boat tours and opportunities to swim with the dragons in local pools.

Sandra Mortlock, Friends of Rings End Nature Reserve Group, said “The reserve is already a fantastic place for wildlife but this grant will give it a real boost. It will allow us to create the ideal pond habitats for amphibians.”

Over the next four and a half years, people who live alongside the River Nene will be brought together to work on improving, restoring and creating more than 150 habitat sites for local wildlife.

Phil Clark, Cambridgeshire County Council community green spaces manager, said: “Through the creation and restoration of wetland habitats we will be providing a better place for wildlife.”

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