Lottery Heritage Funded project Old Chalk New Downs (OCND) is working with the Attwood family and Kent County Council to start a corporate volunteering scheme to help safeguard the future of Boxley Warren Nature Reserve.
The project and scheme has seen much interest.
KCC cabinet member Michael Payne said: “Old Chalk New Downs has been an exemplary project for green action in Kent.
“That this year is officially the Kent Year of Green Action makes it all the more important to consider the environment around us and not just enjoy it but to all take part in some small way to enhance it for future generations. I commend the volunteering aspect of this project to everyone.”
Boxley Warren Nature Reserve is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with a mosaic of habitats and many rare species that need protection.
Earlier this year the Friends of Boxley Warren who carried out practical management tasks disbanded, which has left the site vulnerable to losing its distinctive characteristics which may result in the loss of protective designations.
OCND’s aim to protect, enhance and conserve this precious site creating connectivity through positive habitat management for the benefit of wildlife and the people who visit.
Securing a legacy of community involvement with KCC at the forefront, through encouraging staff involvement and support.
There is growing evidence indicating environmental volunteering can have a positive impact on an individuals physical and mental health and wellbeing, according to Natural England.
KCC is the biggest employer in Kent, this scheme provides a positive outlet for KCC staff to get out into the countryside and take advantage of the many benefits of being in nature while also contributing towards their wider contribution.
This 100 hectare scarp of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has been supported by KCC for many years.
Working in collaboration with the landowners and several conservation organisations, the site has been transformed from a fly tipping and illegal off road driving hotspot, to a wildlife-rich landscape recognized for its beauty and ecological importance.
The site also boasts beautiful scenic views and plenty of walking opportunities including following the Pilgrims National trail which passes through the southern end of the site.
OCND hope to enhance and protect the site whilst engaging the KCC community through the voluntary scheme which consists of a half day practical conservation tasks supported by Medway Valley Countryside Partnership and the OCND team.
Volunteers will have the opportunity to learn new skills, help improve the site for wildlife and enjoy the natural beauty of their surroundings.
For more information about the OCND project visit www.oldchalknewdowns.org.uk