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Meet fairandfunky friends (blog #18)

‘Meet fairandfunky friends’ is our blog series in which we get to know the people we work with, understand what makes them tick, and how together we take little steps to change the world. We like to shout out about people doing business differently, working to balance people and planet to ensure a sustainable future. Ahead of our ECO conference to celebrate World Environment Day on the 5th June, we welcome Michelle from River Holme Connections to the blog to answer our questions…..

Who are you, where are you from and what do you do? I’m Michelle and I am the Engagement Officer for River Holme Connections! We are a local environmental charity and carry out a variety of practical conservation tasks in the River Holme catchment area; from planting trees, river clean ups, invasive species control to wildflower meadow creation, and more! I deliver our River Explorer Sessions in local Primary Schools and to local organisations where children get to meet some river bugs, learn about their importance in our local rivers and take part in nature-based activities. I am out and about in the community as much as I can, raising awareness about our work and inspiring people to get out into nature.

I work on the Nature’s Holme Landscape Recovery Project, which is a nationally important DEFRA funded scheme. Nature’s Holme is an exciting project that aims to restore 2800ha (about a quarter) of the landscape here in the Holme Valley, Yorkshire.  A collection of organisations and over 20 landowners have come together to plan and design interventions to improve water quality and increase biodiversity throughout the River Holme catchment.  This landscape recovery project intends to boost wider access opportunities for everyone, improve biodiversity, create quality local jobs and help the Holme Valley and Kirklees become net zero. It aims to achieve this by exploring river restoration opportunities, woodland creation, peatland restoration, accessible path extensions, wildflower meadow creation and natural flood management works such as ponds and scrapes to store water.

What makes you a fairandfunky friend? fairandfunky play a valuable role in our community and River Holme Connections are proud to be a fairandfunky Friend! Their fantastic engagement work with young people on important green issues such as recycling and climate change, inspires our community to do their bit to make a difference and working together, we can make our planet a better place.   

What little steps do you take to change the world? I do my little bit to help local wildlife; I have numerous bird feeders and bird boxes in my garden, bug hotels, wildlife friendly flowers, and always ensure freshwater is available for the hedgehogs and other garden visitors!

Who influences or inspires you? And why? Our Volunteers inspire me! Their dedication and passion to help make our river catchment area and the environment, a better place for people and wildlife is amazing! Our Volunteers are crucial to help us carry out the work we do, and we simply couldn’t do what we do, without them and we truly appreciate them.

How do YOU inspire others to take little steps to change the world? I love to share my passion and enthusiasm about the natural world with the younger generation and our local community. Giving everyone the opportunity to learn more about nature and experience the outdoors, in a fun and engaging way, is so important.  Offering an experience to explore the natural beauty on their doorstep and inspiring individuals to respect and look after our environment.

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