News from the Geopark
English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark Welcomes Wild Plant Trust as New Geopark Core Partner15 Jan 2024
The English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark is delighted to announce the addition of Wild Plant Trust as a Geopark Core Partner, further enriching the diverse range of organisations dedicated to conserving and promoting the unique environment, heritage and culture underpinned by the internationally significant geological heritage of the English Riviera. Core Partners play a pivotal role in the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark helping to fulfil the requirements to retain the UNESCO designation. All Core Partners have an influential seat on the Geopark Management Group which is the decision making body for the Geopark with a focus to promote, support and facilitate, encourage and enable local projects, initiatives and events that help protect and raise awareness of the Geopark as one of Earth’s extraordinary places.
Wild Planet Trust is a renowned international organisation that works locally and internationally to achieve the mission of helping halt species decline. The Trust runs two zoos in the South West, along with three nature reserves and multiple field projects where they are working to preserve, and advocate for, some of the world’s most endangered species.
Paignton Zoo – which just celebrated its centenary year – along with the Primley Park and Clennon Gorge nature reserves, are not only situated firmly within the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark, but the Wild Planet Trust has undertaken a range of projects to support Torbay’s marine environment and seagrass meadows.
With a wealth of expertise and years of experience, Wild Plant Trust has made significant contributions toward regional and international conservation with an ethos that promotes the belief that we can all make a difference to live more sustainably with nature.
The collaboration between English Riviera UNESCO Global Geoparks and Wild Plant Trust represents a powerful alliance, uniting their shared commitment to nature conservation, raising awareness of the climate agenda and education. By joining forces, the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark and Wild Plant Trust will work collaboratively to enhance the understanding and appreciation of the critical relationship between geology, plant life, species habitats and how we protect and understand them.
Geoparks are regions of exceptional geological significance that are recognised by UNESCO's Global Geoparks Network, aiming to promote sustainable development through education, conservation, and responsible tourism practices. The English Riviera UNESCO Global Geoparks embodies this mission by focusing on the geological, environmental, and cultural heritage of its iconic location on the stunning South Devon coast.
The partnership with Wild Plant Trust further strengthens the Geopark's mission by emphasising the geological significance of the English Riviera and its crucial role in supporting unique and diverse plant and animal life within its boundaries. Wild Plant Trust's involvement will include ongoing research, educational activities, and conservation initiatives aimed at preserving the natural heritage of the region. The Wild Planet Trust played a key role in lobbying for the creation of the Torbay Marine Conservation Zone, one of 91 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) in the country, which provides protection for rare and threatened species. The organisation also manages The ‘Save our Seagrass’ project using a team of volunteer divers to survey key seagrass sites in Tor Bay. Over the course of multiple dives at six beds located in our geopark waters – around 52 hectares – of seagrass have been identified, while dozens of species have been recorded within these meadows.
Wild Plant Trust's commitment to safeguarding the environment aligns perfectly with the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geoparks' mission of conserving and protecting the natural environment. Together, they intend to foster a culture of environmental stewardship and raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity conservation.
"I am delighted the Wild Plant Trust has joined the Geopark Management Group as a Core Partner," said Nick Powe, Chair of English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark. "Their extensive expertise and dedication to conservation will be a tremendous asset for the Geopark. We look forward to collaborating with the Trust in our efforts to develop and promote sustainable ways to discover, celebrate and care for Torbay’s rich geological heritage and exceptional biodiversity".
Dennis Flynn OBE, Wild Planet Trust CEO, said: “We are delighted to announce this new partnership with the English Riviera Geopark, which recognises a commitment to the conservation of our local environment that stretches back over 100 years. Through Paignton Zoo, our nature reserves and our community-based projects, we are incredibly well-placed to help amplify the work of the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark to protect this special location and all the species that call it home.”