The National Lottery has awarded £8,700 to Ferne Animal Sanctuary for an exciting new natural heritage project that aims to educate and inspire. ‘Discovering Dragonflies’ launches on 22nd July with a day packed full of activities at Ferne Animal Sanctuary, near Chard.
“It is great news that Ferne Animal Sanctuary has received this support thanks to National Lottery players,” Mark Hancock, Education Officer at Ferne said.
“Dragonflies have been around since 50 million years before the first dinosaurs appeared. They are beautiful, inquisitive, incredibly aerobatic, and territorial – basically great to watch. This is why dragonflies are perfectly suited for generating inspiration for, educating about, and raising awareness of our natural heritage.”
The launch event will showcase taster sessions of some of the dragonfly themed events that will be happening over the next 14 months. These will include free bookable sessions on willow weaving, jewellery making and junk modelling. Also happening throughout the day will be pond dipping, a special dragonfly trail, and drop in crafts too.
There will also be displays in our Visitor Centre that will inform people about the project, how they can get involved further, and some fascinating insights into the lives of dragonflies too. Most of the activities will be undercover, so it’s a great day out for all the family, regardless of weather.
After the launch, the project will offer a host of activities and workshops focused on dragonflies running throughout the year including dragonfly-themed courses to get people thinking creatively about conservation – from photography and willow-weaving to jewellery-making and sculpture.
“The fascinating biology and behaviour of dragonflies and their charismatic appearance make them an inspirational subject for artistic studies,” Eleanor Colver, Conservation Officer at the British Dragonfly Society commented. “Most of the general public is unfamiliar with their life cycle, habitat requirements, and are unable to identify common species. As a result, the limited recording of British dragonflies makes it difficult to identify species that require conservation action.”
With a hands-on approach, Ferne will also be working to create more habitats for dragonflies, both at the Sanctuary and in the wider community, to encourage a much-needed increase in populations.
As well as having several large ponds and resident dragonflies, Ferne is undertaking this project because caring for wild habitats and the species that live in them is closely linked to caring for pets – both thrive if we provide the right conditions for them and meet their needs.