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Wildlife Experience Officer joins Bempton Cliffs team

Last modified: 08 October 2014

Joanne Allen and rescued puffling

Joanne Allen holds a rescued puffling at Bempton Cliffs

Image: RSPB - Maria Prchlik

A brand new role has been created at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, to engage people with the natural and cultural heritage of the site, thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery fund. 

Joanne Allen, from Hull, has been appointed as Wildlife Experience Officer at the nature reserve near Bridlington, and has already started developing an exciting programme of events, ready to kick off when the new seabird heritage centre opens its doors in spring 2015.  

Jo has always had a keen interest in wildlife conservation and studied for a BSc (Hons) in Animal Behaviour before going on to gain a MSc in Conservation Biology earlier this year.  She has been active in a variety of voluntary roles within the conservation sector over the past few years and is also secretary of the East Yorkshire Bat Group. 

Jo said: "I’m really excited to be a part of this amazing project. The new centre, alongside a broader events programme, will enable people to gain a better understanding of how the RSPB gives nature a home at the UK’s largest mainland seabird colony.  In future there’s going to be even more happening up on the cliffs, so watch this space.”

The full-time role, which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has been created to connect people with the natural and cultural heritage of Bempton Cliffs. Through a variety of engaging events, from exhibitions to wildlife-based activities, the plan is to inform and engage visitors and locals alike, ultimately inspiring them to take action to safeguard the coast and the cliffs around Bempton.  

Jo will also lead the Learning Team. The reserve already has over 1300 student visits from schools across the country during the spring and summer terms. It is hoped more local schools will be encouraged to visit when the redevelopment work is complete.

Site manager, Keith Clarkson, is delighted with the new appointment. He said: “Expanding the team obviously gives us a great opportunity to encourage more visitors to the reserve.   This is as good for the local economy as it is for our own plans to make people passionate about the wildlife on their doorstep.”

The redevelopment of the Bempton Cliffs visitor experience, which started at the beginning of September, is taking place thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).  Bempton Cliffs was awarded £639,700 to revamp and improve its visitor offer to provide people with the opportunity of experiencing the UK’s largest and most accessible, mainland seabird colony.

The reserve and main car parks will be closed until 1 March 2015, but public footpaths will remain accessible to keep updated on progress visit www.rspb.org.uk/bemptoncliffs

 

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