British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards

British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards

Interpretation and Activities

Interpretation and Activities

Many guests and residents choose parks in the David Bellamy scheme because they love wildlife and the great outdoors. It is therefore important to let people know what animals and plants they can see on park (and in the surrounding countryside), help them to enjoy the wildlife that they do see and provide opportunities for them to learn more and do their bit for wildlife conservation.

A conservation notice board, close to reception, can form the heart of your interpretation and information work. It should let people know what you are doing and highlight the types of plants and animals they might see. A map of your park, showing key habitats is a great idea. Use photos and illustrations to bring it alive. Put up a copy of your environmental mission statement and let guests and residents know you are part of this award scheme. This information can be backed-up by a wildlife leaflet in your welcome pack. If you are on-line, this information can also go on your website.

Well-designed and well-sited interpretation boards are another great idea as they can help people to get the most out of the natural environment on your park. They should not be garish, should be modest in size and should be made out of appropriate material (e.g. recycled wood). Place boards close to your park’s key habitats. They should let people know what animals and plants they can see and what measures you are taking to enhance and conserve this wildlife. They can also explain why all the flora and fauna is important and how they interact – putting the things that people see into ecological context. If necessary, get help from your local wildlife trust to decide on what to say and how best to say it.

One key issue to think about is that many habitats are fragile and many animals easily spooked by people. Ensure park staff are aware of the sensitivity surrounding certain species and that fragile areas such as badger setts are well protected (if necessary, keep them ‘secret’).

The next step is to provide activities and education for your guests and residents. One simple idea is to have a signed walk or ‘treasure hunt’ around your park. This can be linked to your interpretation boards, or just based on a simple leaflet/map. It’s a great idea for kids who love to play ‘I-spy’. Guided walks are another obvious extension of this and something all your guests will enjoy. If you are unsure how to proceed then work with local wildlife experts or groups – they will most likely relish the chance to lead a nature ramble, bat watch group, or something similar around your park.

Guests can also be involved in your conservation work directly – simply putting out food for the birds helps a lot, but there is also an increasing demand for conservation activities and holidays, where guests can learn about wildlife, hedge laying and other country pursuits. Remember, if your guests have planted a tree on your park, they are likely to return to see how it is growing.

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Information and Interpretation:

  • Make details of the David Bellamy Conservation Award prominent alongside the park’s environmental statement or pledge.
  • Provide a wildlife spotting book/ nature notes / diary in reception.
  • Where appropriate ‘wild areas’ such as bramble patches, rough grassland and nettle banks should be signed to explain why they are not kept strimmed.
  • Provide a wildlife map, leaflet or sheet at reception or in ‘welcome packs’.
  • Set up a well-signed wildlife trail(s) with accompanying guidebook/notes.
  • Provide training to your staff so that they are well-informed staff keen to pass on their knowledge to guests.

Activities:

  • Provide opportunities for wildlife watching (e.g. nature rambles, bird watching, bat spotting, plant identification) for adults and children.
  • Tap into your local countryside department’s guided walk scheme.
  • Set up a bird hide or other wildlife watching enclosure; or use a CCTV camera to record wildlife on site (e.g. badgers feeding), for playback in reception.
  • Provide opportunities for visitors to take part in conservation work (e.g. hedge laying, acorn and seed collection sessions, adopt-a-tree planting sessions etc).
  • Team up with local wildlife experts to run practical activity holidays or wildlife-watching breaks.
  • Run a programme of wildlife activities for kids.
  • Run wildlife-themed competitions (e.g. photography or art competitions).
  • Provide advice on what customers and residents should and shouldn’t plant near to their holiday and park homes.
  • Encourage guests and visitors to put up bird boxes, feeders etc.

More information:

  • Click here for an indepth article on Interpretation, complete with examples of what parks are doing.
  • Click here for an indepth article on hpw a Ranger can help a park with wildlife activities.
  • Click here for an updated article on Interpretation, complete with examples of what parks are doing.
  • Click here for an indepth article on Visitor Involvement.