Longest serving Midweek Mucker Val Crane receives the Blue Turtle Award from JNCC Chair Peter Bridgewater (left) and Phil Gawne, Isle of Man’s Government Minister of Environment, Food and Agriculture. © Mike Wade, Isle of Man NewspapersMidweek Muckers meet the Blue Turtle

9 February 2012

 

Come rain or shine, a band of ‘Muckers’ from the Isle of Man work tirelessly to maintain the island’s wildlife habitat - and now their hard work and dedication has been recognised with a prestigious conservation award.   

 

The Midweek Muckers will this weekend receive the Joint Nature Conservation Committee’s Blue Turtle Award for nature conservation in the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.  

 

The team of volunteers meet twice a week and muck-in to support to the Manx Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves. Ageing from 22 to a sprightly 83, the Muckers work alongside the Trust’s Reserves Officer Tricia Sayle: “The Muckers work with a smile throughout the year, week-in-week-out, and undertake the physical work needed to manage the Trust’s reserves. Most years they complete over 2000 hours of work and without them the Trust would not be able to protect its 255 acres of wildlife habitat and rich biodiversity for future generations.”

 

Val Crane, the longest serving Mucker, has been working on the reserves for the last 20 years: “I enjoy working outdoors and it certainly keeps you fit, at any age! Where else could you find such great company, spending a morning with likeminded people, helping the environment and the Trust, and getting to know the reserves up close all year round.”

 

The Muckers’ first project was at Close Sartfield Nature Reserve, where five acres of gorse were transformed into a wildflower meadow. The field now contains over 100 species of wildflower including six species of protected orchid. The volunteers also manage three other nature reserves, all of which form part of an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI), which also forms part of the island’s Ramsar site, the Ballaugh Curragh.

 

Natural Environment Minister Richard Benyon said: “This is an excellent example of a community literally ‘mucking in’ to protect their local wildlife. I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to the team on this well-deserved award.”       

 

JNCC’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies Programme Manager Tony Weighell, one of Award’s judges, said: “I want to congratulate the Midweek Muckers for their efforts in maintaining the Isle of Man’s nature reserves. There are many community volunteers in the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies helping to work towards a better environment and a greener future for future generations. This is exactly the sort of community-based activity that should be encouraged to conserve and manage biodiversity.”      

 

ENDS

 

Notes to editors:

 

  • The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is the statutory adviser to Government on UK and international nature conservation, on behalf of the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside, the Countryside Council for Wales, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage. JNCC’s work includes a specific programme aimed at providing support to nature conservation in the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

 

  • The Blue Turtle Award will be presented to the Manx Muckers by JNCC Chair Peter Bridgewater and Phil Gawne, Isle of Man’s Government Minister of Environment, Food and Agriculture. The presentation will take place at the Manx Wildlife Trust’s Winter Woodland Workshop on Saturday 11 February, at 13:00, at Close Sartfield Nature Reserve.

 

  • The Blue Turtle Award is presented based on the following criteria: nature conservation benefit/added value; innovation; community involvement; and links to a specific project, or demonstrating long-term commitment and dedication. The work or project must also have been in place for over a year.   

 

  • For further information and images of the Midweek Muckers in action, contact the JNCC Communications team: or Tel: +44 (0) 1733 866839.

 

 

The Midweek Muckers making willow faggots at Close Sartfield Nature Reserve © Manx Wildlife Trust

 

The Midweek Muckers making willow faggots at Close Sartfield Nature Reserve.  © Manx Wildlife Trust

The Midweek Muckers at Goshen © Manx Wildlife Trust

 

The Midweek Muckers at Goshen. © Manx Wildlife Trust

The Midweek Muckers clearing hay off Close e Quayle © Manx Wildlife Trust

 

The Midweek Muckers clearing hay off Close e Quayle.  © Manx Wildlife Trust
The Midweek Muckers making willow faggots AT Close Sartfield Nature Reserve © Manx Wildlife Trust The Midweek Muckers making willow faggots AT Close Sartfield Nature Reserve © Manx Wildlife Trust