SEFTON Central MP, Bill Esterson, has praised the work of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust on a visit to Freshfield Dune Heath Nature Reserve.
The MP heard how the charity had continued its conservation work despite financial and staffing issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. He met with Merseyside reserves officer Michael Cunningham and volunteer Don Gordon, who recently raised more than £1,500 for the Trust by walking 80 miles coast to coast across the North of England with three close friends, nicknamed the ‘Coastbusters.’
Mr Esterson said: “It was great to talk to Don following his walk along Hadrian’s Wall, and to learn from Mike about the vital projects the Lancashire Wildlife Trust is managing despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“The national lockdown has affected many projects and funding streams, as staff have been furloughed and income from on-site venues like cafes has been cut. It has meant some big schemes such as the red squirrel project have been affected, but it is hoped these will go from strength to strength over the coming months.
“The work the Lancashire Wildlife Trust does is vital to conservation and wildlife in the area and for keeping open land accessible for everyone to enjoy.”
Mr Esterson was told about the “Gems in the Dunes” project, which helps promote and protect habitat for the rare natterjack toad and sand lizard at the site of special scientific interest (SSSI). Gems in the Dunes is led by the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust. The aim of the programme is to bring 20 key species back from the brink of extinction. With the help of the Gems in the Dunes project, a fenced-off areas has been created where sand lizards have been able to lay their eggs.
Mr Esterson addedd: “It was great to hear of such a lot of community work, with everyone pulling together in these tough times.
“With normal income streams and even some grants being cut off or delayed by the coronavirus, fundraising such as Don’s walk and help like that given by Formby Golf Club is vital.”
Donald, along with friends Phil Morrison, from Crosby, Mike Cooke, who lives in Hillside, and brother-in-law David Seymour, who lives in Felixstowe, set off from Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria on Sunday September 13, following the Hadrian’s Wall trail all the way to Wallsend in Tyne and Wear, arriving the following Sunday.