November 9, 2015
The results are now in for this year’s David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme (DBCAS) which aims to celebrate, support and encourage camping, caravanning and holiday home parks to improve their environmental performance and become havens for wildlife.
Over 560 parks took part in the award scheme, which is run in conjunction with the BH&HPA. Participants came from all regions of Britain – from the southwest up to the highlands of Scotland.
During the summer participating parks were visited by DBCAS assessors. They looked at how the parks were doing against a range of key criteria that cover everything from recycling and rainwater harvesting to hedges and hay meadows. Their assessments formed the basis for the DBCAS’ judges’ deliberations and parks were given either a Gold, Silver or Bronze award based on their performance.
Among the many innovative schemes that parks came up with in 2015, was a project on a park in Cornwall that turned a muddy area of a field (in which farm machinery was getting stuck) into a new wildlife pond that has attracted a wide range of dragonflies and damselflies. Other schemes included a project that saw an old tack room recycled into a new café and community hub that specializes in gluten-free food and a wonderful project on a park in Scotland that saw old delivery pallets, wind-blown trees and other waste building materials such as bricks and slate tuned into a ‘bee hotel’ in the shape of a caravan.
The ingenuity shown by participating parks covered the spectrum from the high- to the low-tech. For example, a park by the sea in the southwest has worked with its Wildlife Ranger to create a mobile phone-based “Dune Detectives’ App” that guides visitors around the beautiful coastal habitat that borders the park. While in Ayreshire, in Scotland, a park has built a wonderful greenhouse out of recycled 2-litre plastic bottles. This has been used to grow wildlife-friendly native plants that have subsequently been used to boost the park’s biodiversity.
The scheme itself saw one major innovation being put in place this year: Parks were asked to make a pledge to do their bit to help Britain’s honey bees, particularly by planting the food crops they need to survive. The new initiative, which is a link-up with the British Beekeepers Association, proved be very popular, with over 140 parks signing up.
The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme is one of the longest running green tourism awards in the UK. The scheme proper started with a pilot programme in 1996 and the first awards were made in 1997. For more information visit: www.bellamyparks.co.uk. You can also follow the scheme on Twitter (@BellamyParks)