Community Conservation

Our Community Conservation project aims to use our nature reserves as a mechanism to engage people in wildlife surveying and habitat monitoring, providing an opportunity to gain knowledge and skills. The information gathered will be used to to showcase the region’s wildlife, generating a higher profile for nature conservation and thereby encourage more people to participate.

Surveying key species is essential to improving our understanding of the state of nature across the Durham Wildlife Trust area and in the nature reserves managed by the Trust. Our nature reserves support a wide range of species and habitats, including those of international and national significance. Survey information will show how wildlife numbers and distribution are changing due to habitat loss and fragmentation and climate change. There is already evidence of changes in distribution, with southern species, such as the gatekeeper butterfly, moving north. Therefore, it is important to deliver regular surveys to develop a clearer picture of the changing situation.

As across the UK, wildlife in the DWT area is under recorded, principally due to a lack of resources. In particular the Trust wants to draw attention to species that are often overlooked as they are difficult to survey, such as freshwater fish.

Our Community Conservation project will enable us to properly monitor our own sites for certain species and to deliver monitoring across the wider landscape to show the true state of nature throughout the region.

Project Supporters

Copy of The Michael Marks Charitable Trust

The Hobson Charity

Project Staff

Mark Dinning, Senior Reserves Officer

Mark coordinates our Community Conservation project, offering training and support to volunteers in species surveying. Mark is responsible for developing site management plans for our reserves, based on the findings from our survey work, to guide the practical work delivered by Reserves Officers and volunteers. To get in touch with Mark please email

Vivien Kent, Conservation & Mammal Web Officer

Vivien is a wildlife biologist who specialises in mammals. As well as running the Mammal Web project Vivien coordinates the Annual Spring Otter Survey and delivers training in otter and water vole ecology and the field skills required for surveying.