Pond Trail volunteers’ take on Italian nature

Volunteers and staff from North Blackpool Pond Trail and Groundwork have been contributing to an environmental project at a nature reserve in North East Italy.

Volunteers and staff from North Blackpool Pond Trail and Groundwork have been contributing to an environmental project at a nature reserve in North East Italy.

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FRIENDS of these volunteers will be green with envy when they see their holiday snaps.

Youngsters and staff from North Blackpool Pond Trail and Groundwork have travelled to Italy to contribute to an environmental project at a nature reserve.

Four young people, led by the trail workers, have been taking part in the international scheme.

The volunteers, who already give their time for free at the Bispham beauty spot, have been helping to regenerate the Nature Reserve of Lecceta di Torino di Sango.

Pauline Taylor, community development officer at North Blackpool Pond Trail, said: “It is a great opportunity for them and they are really involved and participating in a very unusual project.”

Ms Taylor and Sarah Morton, a community development officer from Groundwork, are leading Ashley Baines, 17, Charlotte Freeman, 18, Abigail Green, 20, and Janet Clement, 29.

Ms Taylor added: “The group were chosen to go to Italy because of the hard work and commitment they have put in at the pond trail.”

Together they are restoring a cycle path through the reserve and building raised vegetable beds alongside members of the local community.

Each group is also contributing to and writing a leaflet for visiting children to use their various senses to explore the nature reserve.

The environmental project is run by the European Youth in Action Programme, encouraging young people to take part in sustainable, social and economic development.

The volunteers are one of six groups from countries around Europe to be working in the Fossacesia region in North-East Italy.

Ms Taylor added: “I have really enjoyed seeing the young people integrate with people from other countries and seeing their confidence grow.

“They can bring back these new found skills to the pond trail.”

She added: “I have the opportunity to work with other conservationists and learn new ideas to bring back to the pond trail.

“I hope to leave a few English ideas with them too.”

The group set off to Italy last Friday, August 31, and will be returning in time to add to the pond trail before winter draws in.

Working alongside environmentalists from Italy, Germany, Bosnia, Romania and Bulgaria, the group has also learnt a lot about other countries.

At a multicultural dinner shared with other members of the programme, the pond trail representatives took shortbread, pork pies, pickles, crackers and Wensleydale cheese to share English cuisine.

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