A special place... The Isles of Scilly are one of only two places in England where Manx Shearwaters breed
Under threat...The Isles of Scilly hold 3,000 fewer pairs of breeding seabirds than 25 years ago
We need YOUR help to protect our important seabird heritage
Project ‘Open Day’ Celebrates 25 Years of Habitat Protection
In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the LIFE Programme and of the Habitats Directive, the Isles of Scilly Seabird Recovery Project held an ‘Open Day’ and ‘Creative beach clean’.
In 1992 the Habitats Directive created the EU Natura 2000 Network of protected areas, which also includes the sites designated under the Birds Directive. The Isles of Scilly are one of these sites, designated for the protection of storm petrels. The Isles of Scilly Seabird Recovery Project removed rats from St Agnes and Gugh in 2014, with storm petrels and Manx shearwaters now breeding successfully, for the first time in living memory.
At the Open Day residents and visitors learnt all about these important seabirds through chats with staff, leaflets, brochures and gadgets. The event was celebrated by a Creative Beach Clean with local artists and Project officers, Vickie Heaney and Lydia Titterton.
Vickie Heaney Project Officer and local artist said: “These islands are the most important site for seabirds in the southwest. Beach plastics are often ingested by seabirds and beach litter can attract rats. So by taking part in a beach clean we can all play a part in protecting our seabird heritage, plus making beach art at the same time makes the task fun and rewarding.”
Jenny Griffin, visitor to the islands said: “It was great to hear all about the wonderful work that is happening to save the seabirds. The friendly staff at the stand provided so much information, so the following day we took a boat trip to see puffins and we saw our first Manx shearwater! We now know we can play a small part to help them by doing beach cleans. May the success of the project continue”
Peter Exley, RSPB South West Public Affairs Manager, said: “It was great to see so many people engage and learn about this important milestone in habitat protection and what it means for Scilly. Also it was rewarding to spend time with a caring group of people, we were so proud to have cleaned four beaches, collected 10 bags and 2 tyres, all now removed from the environment. We can all play a small part.”
Will Garratt, Duchy of Cornwall Estate Assistant, said: “I think it is a great opportunity for the project to once again maximise their audience on the Islands and beyond. Many travellers congregate on the quay to visit, amongst other islands, St Agnes or they may be disembarking a cruise ship or arriving on the island’s ferry, The Scillonian III. The Duchy are very happy for the project to integrate into the hustle and bustle of their busy transport hub”
Thanks to the Council of the Isles of Scilly Waste Collection Team for collecting and disposing of the rubbish
Anybody who thinks they have seen a rat on St Agnes or Gugh should call the project’s Rat on a Rat hotline on: 01720 422153. The project team and islanders will then inspect the area, set up surveillance and respond if necessary.
This Isles of Scilly Seabird Recovery Project is a partnership between the RSPB, the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, the Isles of Scilly Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Natural England and the Duchy of Cornwall. The project is funded by LIFE, the EU’s programme for financing key environmental schemes across the continent and a £269,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
For further information, images, or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Morwenna Alldis, RSPB Communications Officer, 01392 453767
Full details of the Isles of Scilly Seabird Recovery Project can be found at: www.ios-seabirds.org.uk
The Heritage Lottery Fund invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect they heritage they care about, from the archaeology under their feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. More information at: www.hlf.org.uk