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Working with communities to bring back species to Cumbria and Morecambe Bay

The Back On Our Map Project

Back On Our Map is a pioneering project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and hosted by the University of Cumbria. The project works with communities to reintroduce a suite of locally threatened or extinct species to South Cumbria. Morecambe Bay Partnership work alongside the University to deliver this project.

The Back On Our Map Project

Back on Our Map (BOOM) aims to re-engage communities in South Cumbria with their natural environment, by restoring the landscape and reintroducing and reinforcing locally threatened or extinct native species. National Lottery players support the £2m project, alongside a number of other public, private and charitable sector organisations. Led by the University of Cumbria, BOOM is working closely in partnership with Morecambe Bay Partnership, and lead partners including the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Natural England and Forestry England. The project:

- Will help to build healthy, resilient, empowered communities by providing an exciting range of reintroduction-based social activities and training events.

- Cover an area of 600km2, extending along the lowlands of Morecambe Bay from Barrow-in-Furness in the west to Arnside and Silverdale in the east and Grizedale Forest in the north.

- Restore habitat and reintroduce species across a network of protected areas including Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), National Nature Reserves (NNRs) and Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

- Is a multi-species, landscape scale project, maximising the opportunities for community engagement, restoring and connecting whole ecosystems to reverse the decline in biodiversity.


Duke of Burgundy female Gait Barrows 25 4 11 Rob Petley Jones1
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The Species

Aspen Tree

The BOOM project aims to increase the connectivity of aspen in south Cumbria. We will take hard-root cuttings from aspen across the project area, and work with community stakeholder organisations such as Green Heart Den and Artgene to propagate the cuttings, with the aim to generate a clone bank of local south Cumbrian aspen clones.

Hazel Dormouse

Woodland management in South Cumbria has improved in recent years and some areas are now ready to host dormice again. However, because dormice only move short distances, they are not able to recolonise areas by themselves. As part of the National Dormouse Reintroduction Programme, we are planning to release 90 animals into adjacent sites in the Arnside and Silverdale AONB. There is much public support and interest in this species, and we will provide people with opportunities to get involved in bringing them back. Local residents will help make the release cages and feed the dormice as they get used to their new surroundings. Our project will provide training and allow people to become licensed to handle and monitor the dormice.

Pine Martin

This project aims to conduct an objective feasibility study for a proposed reintroduction of pine martens into south Cumbria, following guidelines from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The study will gather the opinions of local communities regarding the proposal and establish if the forest habitats are suitable for a reintroduced population.

Corncrake

We will work with local communities to help them understand their natural, cultural and industrial heritage, how its different aspects are linked, how they have changed over time, and what impacts these changes have had. We will work with farmers and land managers to understand how positive changes could be made in the future, to benefit nature, and rural enterprise.

Green Winged Orchid

The aim to reinforce populations of this spectacular and rapidly declining species has attracted widespread support from the community as well as local stakeholder groups including the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Natural England and the National Trust. BOOM will be working closely with Kew Gardens, through Dr Sarasan Viswambharan who will be performing isolation work of symbiotic fungi before propagating seedlings which will be translocated through the BOOM project.

Sundew

In recent decades, extensive restoration work has improved the condition of many of our peatlands so that they may now be able once again to sustain their previous rich and unique floral assemblages. However, many of these species are poor colonisers and only exist in remote and fragmented pockets.

BOOM will look to survey, collect, propagate and translocate Drosera intermedia and anglica to restored peatlands in South Cumbria. BOOM will work with local community and conservation groups as well as students and other individuals to set up a sustainable propagation regime. This regime will be informed through engagement with the North West Rare Plants Initiative who have been successfully propagating Drosera for translocation to restored Lancashire peatlands in recent years.

Spiked Speedwell

This project aims to reinforce the populations of spiked speedwell at Humphrey Head and Heathwaite and reintroduce the plant into areas within its historic or geographic range to ensure the reintroduction is ecologically viable. Suggested locations are Jack Scout SSSI, Coldwell Parrock, Arnside and Silverdale AONB and an area north east of Hawes Water in Gait Barrows Natural Nature Reserve.

Small Blue butterfly
The aim of the small blue project is to expand the current population and extend the geographic range of the species, working with Butterfly Conservation, landowners and local communities. As a team we will improve the habitat at known small blue sites and also in connected areas where they are likely to thrive. Once we are certain that the population is stable and self-sufficient, we will initiate an exciting adult translocation program in the final year of the project.

Maidenhair Fern

BOOM will work closely with an existing community project which has spent the last few years collecting, propagating and translocating ferns in the Arnside and Silverdale AONB. BOOM will look to expand on this work by engaging with wider audiences through highlighting the wider causes and implications of single species declines within complex interconnected ecosystems.

Goldilocks Aster

This is a small-scale reintroduction project. Its aim is to reintroduce Goldilocks Aster to south Cumbria and north Lancashire, the formerly northernmost population in the UK. With the help of local volunteers, we will spread seed and plant plug plants in experimental plots at the chosen sites. The outcome will consist of two new populations, one at Humphrey Head where the plant was last extant in Cumbria, the other at Jack Scout, within the natural geographic range of the species and with a similar habitat and south-west facing aspect.



Our Events

We have a series of fantastic events happening over the next few months. From guided walks to watercolour lessons with local artists. We even have some great Family Nature Discovery Days that are full of activities for young people, such as nest box building and bug hunt.

Watch our sneak peak video below to get an idea of the sort of things we are going to be doing.

To book onto any of our events, please click the link at the bottom of this page.

Volunteers searching for footprints, Sth Walney