A group of 11 volunteers from Wales’ leading renewable energy company, have braved dense, thorny undergrowth to help transform a section of wetland for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) in Llanelli.
As part of the RWE npower renewables (RWE NRL) corporate volunteer programme, staff from the company’s Welsh Headquarters in Baglan joined forces with the WWT to prune overgrown willows at the Swans Nest Maze, just one of the many attractions at the visitor centre. Autumn is a good time for pruning back this season’s growth Whilst encouranging new stonger growth next spring.
Stretching across more than 97 hectares on the Burry Inlet, WWT National Wetland Centre is Wales’ premier site for wildfowl and wading birds and is very popular with children and adults alike. The grounds contain a number of all-weather hides and 600 of some of the world’s most spectacular ducks, geese, swans and flamingos, many so tame they feed from the hand.
Pete Ryell, a wind farm developer at RWE NRL in Baglan, used skills he acquired while working as a landscape gardener and took charge on the day to coordinate the teams’ efforts.
He said: “It was a really positive experience for all involved. Despite the vastness of area the team managed to work together to prune back the site, and remove the excess willow which was then used to enhance several natural habitat environments. The transformation was amazing. Volunteering was great fun and the support from the staff at the centre was excellent.”
The WWT National Wetland centre has an equally important educational role, working particularly with children so they can learn about and be close to nature, inspiring them to take action for wetland conservation.
The WWT are just one of several charities supported by RWE NRL. In 2011 RWE NRL made a national contribution of £6,000 to fund up to 1,000 free visits for children from the most deprived areas of the UK.
Nigel Williams, centre manager said, “Our volunteers are vital to the day to day running of our centre and management of our reserve and make a huge difference to the success of the centre. Without them, it would be impossible to look after our reserve which offers a safe and well-managed haven for wetland wildlife and enjoyment for the thousands of visitors annually who are inspired by them. We are indebted to the team from RWE npower renewable for giving up their time to help us with vital conservation work.”
Ruth O’Donoghue, PR Officer
RWE npower renewables