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Without volunteers, much of the work so far accomplished at Harrington Nature Reserve would not have been possible. Volunteers have spent anything from half an hour to complete days over a period of weeks and months helping with various projects, including publicising the reserve, conservation work, improving accessibility and educating visitors.

members of 'The Friends of Harrington Nature Reserve'
Members of
'The Friends of Harrington Nature Reserve' including Chairperson Maureen Dolan (4th left)

The Friends of Harrington Nature Reserve

The 'Friends' consist of members of the local community. They are a fully constituted group and have for the last four years raised funds and generated considerable interest in the nature reserve. Successful projects have included designing colourful leaflets and interpretation boards, becoming activity involved in conservation tasks, leading guided walks, organizing nature reserve 'open day' celebrations, holding coffee mornings and various other community events.

The 'Friends' are the champions for this brilliant nature reserve and act with the best interests of the wildlife and community in mind. It is thanks to their hard work that this website exists at all!

the interpretation board at the Brierydale entrance
Young people from Millennium Volunteers around the interpretation board at the Brierydale entrance

Millennium Volunteers

During the summer of 2005, nine young people from Workington's Millennium Volunteers undertook a range of conservation based tasks including step clearance, coppicing, scrub clearance and hay cutting. In addition to volunteering at Harrington Nature Reserve, Millennium Volunteers set themselves wider volunteering targets and aim to cover a broad range of activities and themes.

Arguably the highlight of their work at 'The Rezzer' was the design of the interpretation board now situated at the Brierydale entrance. Here, the young people collaborated and designed their own art work and ideas.

Schools/Education Establishments

John Muir

Who was John Muir?

John Muir himself was a wilderness and nature loving Scotsman who emigrated to the United States at an early age. His hobbies included ecology, botany and geology, as well as outdoor pursuits among others. Such was his passion and knowledge for the great outdoors and wildlife, he became a popular and influential figure across the US. His status and passion ultimately influenced the then president Roosevelt, who declared 'Yellowstone' in the state of Wyoming, the United States first ever national Park. It's more than likely that National Parks and wider nature reserves across the world, including those in England were declared and land therefore protected as a result of John Muir's pioneering work.

In addition to educational visits, school children have also helped in a more practical manner at the reserve. Under supervision from the Nature Reserve Officer, eight young people from Wyndam School in Egremont spent a whole week on site as part of their Year 11 'work experience'. They cleared willows from around the reservoir, cut back overgrown path, cleaned up the entrance area, litter picked and removed tones of willow brashing. Throughout the week everyone was encouraged to research and undertake specific challenges (discovering, exploring, conserving and sharing) thus enabling them to obtain a John Muir Award, a nationally recognised qualitifcation. The latter challenge involved the young people setting up a display board and making a presentation to their own school.

Young people with learning disabilities have also spent time on the reserve, helping with path clearance and hay meadow cutting.

Many of these young people had never previously volunteered or worked in an outside environment and so the experience was both new and for most, very rewarding.

Local Nature Reserves, like the one at Harrington, will have a much more substainable future if local children are educated and enthused about the conservation and amenity value of such sites.

Wyndam School pupils at work
Wyndam School pupils at work

Local people

Local Nature Reserves, by their very nature, are often situated close to where people live. This local theme is perfectly reflected at Harrington where large numbers of people live on the reserve's doorstep. Many members of the public, who enjoy the reserve for studying or relaxing offer much of their spare time to help. Of special mention is Frank Bramley, a local man who has contributed a great deal to the reserve.

Helping out with environmental projects 'locally' helps to reduce impacts 'globally', including issues associated with pollution, waste, transport and declines in biodiversity. This sustainable approach to helping the local community and environment is one way by which we as individuals can start to help the environment, become empowered and made aware of our local environment and what it is that makes us who we really are.

Help wanted

Help us!

To date, over 150 volunteers have contributed towards various conservation and educational projects at this nature reserve. Can you help? The reserve is always in need of supporters and helpers who will fight to keep the site clean, safe, accessible, well-maintained and rich in wildlife. If you feel you could help - even a little - then please contact the resounding voice of the reserve... The Friends of Harrington Nature Reserve.

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With grateful thanks to the following organisations for their hard work, support & funding over the years

The Friends of Harrington Nature Reserve logo Allerdale Borough Council logo Cumbria Community Foundation logo English Nature logo Millennium Volunteers logo
Alcan logo Regeneration Workington logo Cumbria County Council logo The Big Lottery Fund logo BTCV logo
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