Environmental Awareness Day Wild About the Wensum returns to Pensthorpe Wildlife & Gardens between 10am and 5pm on Saturday 18th May 2013 to inspire visitors to look after the special Wensum River Valley, which runs through Norfolk.

The annual event will give children and adults an inspirational insight into the rich wildlife in the Wensum River Valley. Visitors can meet the people and organisations involved in managing the fauna and flora of the Valley and take part in many activities such as a free wildlife puppet making workshop in conjunction with the Norwich Puppet Theatre.

Due to its incredible wildlife richness the River Wensum has one of Europe’s highest conservation designations as a ‘Special Area of Conservation’; making it the only river between the Thames and the Humber to have this accreditation. It is hoped that spreading awareness of this special area will enable us to look after it for generations to come.

Kirsty Willingham, Events Co-ordinator at Pensthorpe comments: “There’s a growing interest in understanding and protecting our countryside so that special areas of natural beauty and conservation, like the Wensum Valley, are preserved. There’s a serious message but we aim to make this fun through interactive activities for children and families so that they can see and experience first-hand what makes the Valley’s ecosystems so valuable.”

Proceeds from this year’s event will go to Operation Turtle Dove, a joint project between the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust, leading sustainable farming specialists Conservation Grade, the RSPB and Natural England to halt the potential extinction in the UK of one of our best-loved farmland birds.  Operation Turtle Dove is working with farmers in the Wensum Valley and in other locations across East Anglia to raise their awareness of Turtle Dove habitat requirements, trial potential alternative Turtle Dove forage crops and to monitor their numbers.

Tim Nevard of Conservation Grade and a Trustee of the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust said: “The Wensum Valley is one of the last strongholds of Turtle Doves in England and it is critical that we work with farmers and the wider community to make sure that they keep coming back to this great part of Norfolk each spring.

“The annual Wild about the Wensum event is a great day out and visitors can learn about how Pensthorpe and neighbouring farmers work with Conservation Grade farming and the RSPB to ensure that there will always be ‘two Turtle Doves in the Christmas pear tree’ for future generations.”

Activities on the day include participation in the free wildlife puppet making workshop, fairground rides, treasure hunts, creative crafts, face painting and a variety of have-a-go games.

Admission to Pensthorpe and the event is free on the day, with a nominal £4 parking charge per vehicle to help make it financially sustainable and to encourage car sharing. Participation in the wildlife puppet making workshop is free of charge.

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