BASC: Funding grassroots conservation
The BASC Wildlife Fund awards financial grants to fund conservation projects and provides loans for land purchase. Any initiative receiving support from the fund must demonstrate wider benefits for biodiversity and connecting people to their environment.
Officially launched on 11 July 2023 by BASC’s Patron, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, the BASC Wildlife Fund is built on the heritage of several charitable trusts. These trusts assisted with the purchase of land worth £3.7 million for BASC-affiliated groups, and £520,000 in grants for conservation projects.
Today, the fund’s ability to award financial grants for conservation projects continues to be thanks to the generosity of BASC members and the wider shooting community.
Benefitting species and places
The reach of the BASC Wildlife Fund extends to projects all over Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as foreign countries linked to UK migratory species, such as Denmark and Finland.
Conservation projects are often part of international collaborations and include Project Penelope, which tracks Eurasian wigeon through their annual migration cycle to support effective conservation efforts.
Running from spring 2021 – 2024, Project Penelope aims to better understand the winter movements, flyway paths and breeding sites of Eurasian wigeon. The Waterfowler’s Network – a collaboration of organisations which is spearheading the project - was awarded £50,170 by the BASC Wildlife Fund to support the ringing of 4,000 birds, 102 of which are fitted with GPS-GSM trackers.
Closer to home, in 2022 the Swinton Estate, which sits on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, utilised a BASC Wildlife Fund grant of £4,800 to pay for a nest camera to monitor nesting hen harriers on one of their moors. Providing valuable information to aid research into hen harrier ecology, the cameras transmitted a live feed to give the public access to previously unseen footage of these majestic birds.
In Northern Ireland, Lough Erne Wildfowling Council was awarded 25,000 (£5,000 per annum until 2024) for the 2020-2024 Boa Island Wader Recovery Project.
The project primarily aims increase the breeding success of threatened waders in Northern Ireland (curlew, lapwing and redshank, and amber-listed snipe) at key sites across Boa Island, Lower Lough Erne.
The grant has been put to excellent use, funding habitat improvement – including sward management and scrub clearance – predator control, and the education of farmers and the public on how they can help to protect the threatened species that call the site home. The grant has also paid for annual ornithological monitoring of the impact of the project on breeding wader populations.
Moving forward, the work of the BASC Wildlife Fund will continue to strengthen the interconnectivity between shooting and conservation.
Information on how to apply for support from the BASC Wildlife Fund, or to show your support by donating can be found here.