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“In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.” ― Baba Dioum
Here in the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere, we have always believed in the need to inspire a positive and sustainable future by connecting people and nature; to do this we need to celebrate and support the importance of education.
The importance of sustainability needs to be interwoven into every fabric of our society, but most importantly, it needs to start with the education of our youngsters –therein lies our future.
“There are exciting times ahead as we work collaboratively to prioritise education for sustainable development.” ― Andy Bell
Andy Bell and Sarah Jordan were recently interviewed for The Education and Training Foundation’s (ETF)
T Level Professional Development courses, funded by the Department for Education, for the Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care, and separately Catering Route and T Level courses. The courses will be available at no charge, to Further Education and Training sector colleagues, online through the ETF FutureLearn platform from September 2022, one year in advance of first T Level delivery.
Cerian Ayres, National Head of Technical Education at the ETF said, "Education is an enabler - Providing access to inclusive, high-quality learning experiences is essential if we are to prioritise sustainable development. Teachers are the single biggest external influence on learners’ progress in, engagement with, understanding and enjoyment of their subject. Placing sustainability at the heart of the curriculum and embedding sustainability throughout teaching and training will empower learners to take informed decisions, and responsible actions, for environmental integrity, economic viability, and social justice. I would therefore like to thank the North Devon Biosphere Reserve team and business partner colleagues - Peter Brend, Director - Saunton Sands Hotel and team, Sean Mackeney, CEO and Principal - Petroc College and colleagues, and Paul Coles, CEO - South West Business Council for their valuable contributions to the Education and Training Foundation’s T Level Professional Development Courses."
T Levels are new gold standard, Level 3 technical qualifications, that have been delivered since September 2020 by teachers and are designed to bring Education and industry closer together so that learners have a ‘clear line of sight to work’ and gives a purposeful and visual signpost to young people. The North Devon Biosphere Team are really pleased to be supporting the professional development of teachers, managers, and leaders in the FE sector, who will be working to deliver positive outcomes for learners here in North Devon and England-wide.
"It is vital for our future workforce to learn about environmental sustainability to ensure an economy that is future proofed and for our biosphere to remain a special place for generations to come.” ― Sarah Jordan.
Colleagues spoke about the Biosphere Reserve designation, what is meant by sustainable development, the digital biosphere and the variety of programmes and projects that the team are involved with locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.
The North Devon Biosphere Reserve is one of 737 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves worldwide. The message was clear - we are preparing learners for the world of work as global citizens.
This year’s 2022 World Environment Day campaign, #OnlyOneEarth , calls for collective, transformative action to celebrate, protect and restore our planet. Andy and Sarah discussed how knowledge, skills and behaviours required to ensure a sustainable future for the biosphere and beyond, shared our core focus of ‘Acting Locally, and Thinking Globally’, exploring how to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) throughout our everyday working practices. They emphasised that we cannot hope to address for example, the SDG of Clean Air or Climate Action, if we don’t also address Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education, Decent Work for Economic Growth and Partnerships for Goals, as all SDG’s have interdependencies. Collaborative partnership working is key, and both colleagues expressed how pleased they were to work with the ETF to share their approaches, practices, and insights.
We are currently looking for a highly motivated work experience student to provide website and IT support of our internal software systems and reviewing their effectiveness for business use. Applications will open shortly, and the job specification will be advertised on our careers page. The team hope to offer T Level learners a range of industry placements, here at the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere, in the future.
The Natural Capital Marketplace launches with a large carbon offset order from Devon County Council.
Farms are unique in their ability to transition from a ‘carbon emitter’, through 'net-zero', to creating a positive impact to CO2 emissions and the climate emergency. No other sector has the same potential to do this, and it offers farmers’ new income opportunities, through carbon offsets, nutrient trading, flood protection and biodiversity credits.
However, up until now, it has been incredibly hard for farmers to access reliable information and funding in this new market to implement these ‘natural capital’ approaches and realise the new revenue and environmental benefits.
The Natural Capital Marketplace (NCM), launched this month across Devon, seeks to change that and make it easy for farmers and landowners to plan, implement and benefit from these opportunities, like tree planting, peatland restoration, habitat improvement, in exchange for new revenue from the sale of resultant benefits. The launch has been marked by a large carbon offset order from Devon County Council.
The NCM has been developed over the last two years by the Biosphere Foundation (the non-profit trading arm of the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere), in partnership with the Environment Agency & Siemens. The NCM platform is built on Siemen’s technology and has been designed to scale nationally and internationally.
For example, delivery partners could implement the creation of culm grassland areas, herb-rich meadows, wetlands, woodlands and river-bank habitats. These improvements improve the environment for wildlife and local people and help address climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reducing flood risk. The farmer is rewarded for these benefits through new income streams and the creation of tradeable environment services such as carbon & biodiversity credits.
Further, the NCM provides landowners with a route to market for the sale of these credits to environmentally responsible customers who have demonstrated their commitment to carbon reduction and align with the UN's (United Nations) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
Dr. Lawrence Couldrick, CEO of Westcountry Rivers Trust, added ‘The NCM is a great way to pair the buyers and sellers of ecosystem services together, and delivery groups like Westcountry Rivers Trust can work in the middle to ensure that the benefits are met. These private-on-private transactions will be an important part of our landscape and need careful planning to articulate with other public schemes whilst still supporting farmers to grow high-quality food.”
The Foundation welcomes Devon County Council (DCC) as the 1st purchaser of carbon credits through the NCM platform. By placing an order for nearly 2,500 tonnes of carbon credits from the Natural Capital Marketplace towards offsetting its carbon footprint, Devon County Council has affirmed its commitment to ensure its carbon reduction strategies also contribute to the local economy.
DCC’s Environment & Sustainability Officer Doug Eltham said: ‘We have been tracking the development of the Natural Capital Marketplace for some time, and its ability to provide carbon credits from projects right here in Devon, which then keep the associated benefits for nature and communities local, is exactly how DCC wishes to deliver its net-zero commitments. It can be difficult to be certain that carbon storage is happening if the project is occurring elsewhere in the UK or overseas.’
David Collier, NCM Operations Manager, added; ‘we are delighted that Westcountry Rivers Trust and Devon County Council have recognised the potential of the platform, and we are now urging Devon farmers and landowners to get in touch for free advice on how they can benefit from natural capital projects on their land holdings.” Find out more at https://app.naturalcapital.market/, or email David.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The North Devon UNESCO Biosphere (NDUB) welcomes 5m visitors every year, who come to enjoy our golden sands, rugged coastline and rich heritage.
The Biosphere team have recently launched a VIP donation scheme to enable visitors, residents and businesses to help protect and preserve this precious resource, for all to benefit from now, and for future generations.
The VIP scheme links the increasing number of visitors with the breadth of work happening within our biosphere, which aims to create a positive future for all by connecting more people with the importance of our local environment, on which our nature depends. It allows locals, visitors and businesses to play their part in protecting what we love, by donating to fund a variety of important and exciting projects like the Water Vole reintroduction at Braunton Marshes or restoring the incredible ancient woodlands of the area.
The North Devon UNESCO Biosphere would like people to:
Visit our area.
Invest in nature.
Protect our environment!
"Our UNESCO biosphere is of international significance due to its unique ecosystem. The actions we take now will impact our region for the next generation and beyond. However you choose to support us, you will be giving back to the wonderful place we all benefit from." Andy Bell, CEO, Biosphere Foundation.
Businesses can also get involved by becoming a Biosphere Business VIP and giving their customers the option to round up a bill and 'Boost for our Biosphere', or invite them to make a voluntary contribution at the point of booking.
‘We are excited to connect people and businesses with our biosphere and show them that their donation really does make a difference’ says Sarah Jordan, VIP Project Lead, ‘Each donation will go towards making sure we are restoring nature and addressing the climate emergency here in North Devon.’
All donations will go to the Biosphere Foundation, the non-profit operational arm of the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere.
To make a single donation or set up a regular payment head to www.northdevonbiosphere.org and click on the donate button.
To find out more about Biosphere Business VIP, email the team at: email@example.com or sign up via our form.
Can we reintroduce the water vole to Braunton Marshes? Natural England and North Devon UNESCO Biosphere have partnered up to find out.
The water vole, a small chestnut-brown furry mammal, was once a common sight within the network of ditches of Braunton Marshes, but they are now sadly absent. Recent evidence indicates that water voles have undergone a long-term decline in Britain, disappearing from 94% of their former sites.
The native water vole was once found throughout Britain in high numbers, occurring mainly along well vegetated banks of slow flowing rivers, ditches, dykes and lakes. Predation by the introduced American mink, habitat degradation and pollution are thought to be the main contributing factors to the decline in this wonderful mammal. The water vole is now legally protected in Britain and is on the red list of British mammals at risk of extinction in Britain.
This partnership will first identify the presence and population size of American mink within the Braunton Marshes and the findings will be used to inform the reintroduction. The Braunton Marshes are a near perfect habitat for the water vole with extensive networks of ditches with friable banks which are well vegetated with suitable food plant species.
These small mammals are really important for the ecosystem as they not only help to improve ditch flora and fauna but their feeding habits help to create lawns and burrows, allowing a more varied flora to develop. As they naturally occur in large numbers, they provide an important food source for many native predators and their absence in aquatic ecosystems has resulted in a decline in other species.
To learn more about this exciting reintroduction, come to our walk and talk at the Braunton Countryside Centre from water vole expert, Derek Gow on the 1st of April. Sign up here.
Find out more about water voles here
North Devon is a biodiversity hotspot, renowned for its spectacular scenery and wildlife. Visited by thousands of visitors every year, the tourism industry of North Devon is second to none and provides memorable and engaging experiences with the amazing array of marine life that can be seen both from the coastline and on-board local vessels.
In recognition of the keen interest shown by North Devon skippers to protect marine life, an Accredited Wildlife Safari Operator Scheme was developed in 2016. Its success has been shown by the support to Accredited Operators by visitors, “We have found the accreditation scheme very useful and informative, we found that it attracted more customers for us due us displaying the poster for accreditation and many of our customers ask what it involved and why we wanted to be involved. As skippers and crew being happy to share our knowledge has helped others around the coast.” Andrew Bengey, Skipper of Obsession II told us. As the impact of the pandemic has hit hard on the North Devon tourism industry, and to show their support of all local operators, North Devon Biosphere and Lundy have joined once again to redevelop and expand the Scheme so that it now reflects the broader coastal business sector in North Devon and is open to all North Devon businesses and individual operators who encounter coastal and marine life.
“The marine life found in North Devon is spectacular and attracts many visitors to business across the coastline. There has been an explosion in businesses operating along the coast and offshore since the initial schemes release and so now is a great time to support all our businesses by relaunching the scheme and opening it up to them all.” Andy, the Manager of North Devon Biosphere told us “As someone who regularly interacts with marine life around our coast, it really is up to us to protect it and make sure that both the species and visitors benefit from interactions”.
Today, the new Marine Wildlife Aware Accreditation Scheme (MWAAS) covering the North Devon Biosphere and Lundy has gone live, allowing any relevant business or individual to undertake training online and gain accreditation. Participants to the Scheme will receive annual training, be promoted as Wildlife Aware businesses through the relevant websites and the new North Devon Explorer App, be able to promote their businesses using the Scheme logo, have a transferable skill and have the opportunity for further support through regular webinars and updates through a members-only Facebook group.
Derek Green, the Lundy General Manager told us “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to run the wildlife accreditation scheme online, which will make it easier for charter boat skippers and other boat users who visit Lundy to take part remotely. Lundy is famed for its wealth of wildlife, and with a larger than normal number of visitors expected in the region this summer, we need to ensure that our wildlife is properly protected for everyone to enjoy. I would encourage anyone who is considering visiting the island by boat to take part and acquire the accreditation. My thanks to The North Devon Biosphere and former island Warden Beccy MacDonald-Lofts, for organising the course”.
Since it's initial launch, the course has been well received with a mix of local businesses sign up including boat operators, bed and breakfast businesses and recreational activity providers including Tom McKee and Tom Humphreys who have become individual accredited members of the Scheme. North Devon Biosphere are hosting a webinar on the Scheme at 7pm-8 pm on Thursday 17 March 2022. Sign up via North Devon Biosphere Eventbrite page.
To register your interest to participate in the Marine Wildlife Aware Accreditation Scheme (MWAAS), please register via the Accreditation Scheme tab on our North Devon Biosphere website and follow our social media pages for updates.
This project has been funded through North Devon Biosphere’s BioCultural Heritage Tourism Project which an INTERREG Channel project. This project links 2 English UNESCO Biosphere reserves with 2 French reserves to develop sustainable tourism products and experiences that ultimately help to safeguard and restore our natural capital.
North Devon UNESCO Biosphere and Torridge District Council join forces on Nature Tourism Agenda to boost sustainability across the tourism sector.
North Devon UNESCO Biosphere have joined forces with Torridge District Council to drive forward the council’s ‘Nature Tourism Agenda’, which will help businesses to grow by supporting them in showcasing the region's abundance of natural assets and adventure activities.
Nature Tourism covers three dimensions:
During March, a series of tourism workshops will be held to support and show businesses across northern Devon how to create new, bookable, nature experiences or enhance the offer they may already be providing. Hosting these workshops will be Chris Brant, Director and Founder of Unmissable England, who says "No longer do visitors just want to see the sights when they visit a place. They're looking for authentic guided experiences that connect them with the locals and the places they know best. Visitors want to be captivated by fascinating stories about nature and the landscape well beyond the tourist trail. They want to immerse themselves in local history and heritage and leave with a better understanding of the places they have experienced.
I cannot wait to see what new nature experiences are developed by local businesses in Unmissable England's latest series of experiential tourism training".
An Introduction to Experiential Tourism Webinar will be hosted by Chris, followed by an in-person workshop, which will include interactive activities to help participants discuss ideas and identify opportunities to work together to create new and unique experiences across northern Devon.
The series of FREE workshops can be found on North Devon UNESCO Biosphere’s EventBrite page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for the link to the collection.
Following these workshops, Nature Tourism Officer and Biosphere Business Partner Coordinator, Sarah Jordan, will be offering a limited number of businesses a FREE 1:1 support session to discuss ways they could offer Authentic Experiences for their guests, become a more sustainable business, and increase their year-round offer. Sarah says “Having worked with numerous tourism businesses over the last couple of years on the UNESCO Biosphere’s ‘Bio-Cultural Heritage Tourism’ project, this collaboration is a logical next step to ensure we keep up the momentum of increasing sustainable tourism across the region. I can’t wait to meet new businesses and help them discover ways of increasing their offer.”
Torridge District Council have already created a range of resources to help tourism businesses extend their season, understand the wildlife and experiences that Torridge has to offer, and to bring new/targeted customer groups to their business.
The free resources include a nature tourism business toolkit, which looks at tourism patterns in Torridge, what makes our region so special, nature tourism case studies, and how businesses can develop their offer. The kit also includes free resources such as high quality photos of Torridge through the seasons, seasonal itineraries to print and display, a wildlife spotting calendar and posters on coastal and inland landscape features. This toolkit may be useful to all tourism businesses across Torridge and wider northern Devon. To be kept up to date with nature tourism news and events, businesses can sign up to the Nature Tourism mailing list: https://www.torridge.gov.uk/article/20025/Mailing-List
“This award recognises the unique Natural Capital assets that are within the biosphere designation. These include part of our treasured National Parks, some of the most important agricultural assets within Devon and a huge marine area which includes the Isle of Lundy. Within this, there is a population of nearly 200,000 people all of whom have a relationship with the Biosphere but deserve to participate in this opportunity to improve their economic and social wellbeing.” Added Tim Jones – Chairman, North Devon Biosphere Foundation.
“This award is the result of an inspired contribution from the project team. In recognition of the quality of the proposition, the funding secured is the largest grant to have been awarded in the Country for a “Green Programme”. It is our biosphere’s ambition to be the lead for Natural Capital activity, regionally, nationally and internationally, this award is a significant step forward in this journey.”
The North Devon UNESCO Biosphere’s CRF programme has two linked elements - the Green Biosphere, focused on woodland, regenerative agriculture and agritech; and the Blue Biosphere focused on offshore wind, aquaculture. marine biodiversity and ‘blue carbon’. Both elements have strong skills development and job creation elements as well as plans to redirect private investment into the area.
The programme will offer solutions for economic development and raising wellbeing for local communities through innovation projects in nature – on land and at sea.
With 70% of Devon’s graduates leaving the county to find better employment elsewhere the CRF money will offer young people exciting job opportunities which will in turn help protect the local rural and coastal way of life AND address regions net zero ambition.
Devon’s richness will be translated into economic prosperity that addresses the climate emergency - including the incredible place we live
"It is excellent news that northern Devon’s £1.3 million Community Renewal Fund bid for the Blue & Green Biosphere Natural Capital Accelerator Bid was successful.” added Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon, “This project will seek to enable a further £50 million of private sector investment into our environment and potentially create up to 1300 new jobs by 2026. I am confident that we can back up this positive announcement with further investment in North Devon in the future.”
To find out more about the work of North Devon UNESCO Biosphere and its trading arm the Biosphere Foundation please head to the website: https://www.biospherefoundation.co.uk/
The North Devon UNESCO Biosphere is a UNESCO protected area because of its unique ecosystem. The area covers 30% of Devon and extends 12 miles past Lundy island into the Bristol channel. It is one of 730 Biospheres globally, that together cover 5% of the earth’s surface and are home to ¼ billion people.
The Biosphere Foundation is the non-profit trading arm of the Biosphere focused on testing and proving new nature-based economic models and then scaling them regionally, nationally and even internationally
The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK, to pilot programmes and new approaches to build community resilience and prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment.
Who: Delivery partners:
Marine Institute, The University of Plymouth
Torridge District Council
North Devon +
The Lundy Company
The Devon and Severn Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority
Devon County Council
One Northern Devon
Plastic Free North Devon
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The UNESCO biosphere global network connects communities around the world who are pioneering a positive future for people and nature. Together, the network covers over 5% of the Earth’s surface and is home to over 250m people.