“Our Water Matters” environmental education programme
We use an innovative mixture of virtual learning (through a Minecraft Biosphere) and outdoor greenspace activities to engage KS2 primary school children on how our hidden local water cycle really works.
Twenty school classes in Brighton & Hove have participated through two phases of the programme in 2016 and 2017, with funding from the University of Brighton and Brighton & Hove City Council’s Public Health programme, with a further five schools in Newhaven and Peacehaven getting involved in summer 2017.
Brighton & Hove Green Spaces network development
We helped to facilitate the creation of a new shared platform for local voluntary groups that focus on the management of Brighton & Hove’s green spaces, to come together as a productive partnership, facilitating links between groups and enabling them to develop shared approaches and a collective voice.
The project was originally funded by CUPP (the the University of Brighton’s Community University Partnership Programme) up to March 2017, as a partnership initiative that has also involved the City Council, City In Bloom, Community Works and the Trust for Developing Communities. An independent network has since been established as a result of this development project.
The first pilot rain garden schemes were established in two parks in Portslade, in March 2016, to help address local flood risk and improve groundwater quality, as well as creating new wildlife habitat and amenity interest.
Funding was provided by the Environment Agency and Brighton & Hove City Council for these schemes, which form part of the activities under the ‘CHAMP' groundwater partnership programme.
‘Bee Bed’ demonstration plot
A new bed with pollinator-friendly plants was created at The Level park in Brighton in 2015, working with the University of Sussex LASI (LINK http://www.sussex.ac.uk/lasi/ ) research unit and Brighton & Hove City Council’s City Parks department. Its purpose is to educate and inspire the public about different plants that they can grow in their own gardens to attract pollinating insects.
We created the South Downs in miniature in the heart of Brighton in Brighthelm Gardens in 2015, by planting a chalk landscape feature with a diversity of local wild flower downland species working with City Parks, the Brightonhel Centre and volunteers from the Sussex Wildlife Trust.
This continues the programme of habitat creation projects carried out by Brighton & Hove City Council’s City Parks in 2013-15 under the ‘South Downs Way Ahead’ Nature Improvement Area initiative.
'SPADES' project - urban ecosystem services
Brighton & Hove participated in this national partnership project in 2015-16, as one of four urban case study areas, to help develop a planning tool that can be used by developers and local authorities to take account of ‘ecosystem services’ such as local air quality and climate in mitigating the potential impacts of urban developments.
Bio-Cultural Heritage Tourism (in development)
A European funding bid is being developed between four English and French UNESCO Biosphere Regions to the Interreg Channel region programme to develop environmental and experiential tourism activities as a new eco-business opportunity.
Biosphere Research & Monitoring Strategy
The Biosphere Research working group launched its Research & Monitoring Strategy in March 2017, for a 2-year period until 2019.
‘CHAMP’ groundwater partnership project
We are part of the 'Brighton ChaMP for Water' project, working to improve groundwater quality in the Brighton Chalk Block in both rural and urban environments to benefit our drinking water supply. We are a member also of the Adur & Ouse Catchment Partnership that seeks to improve all the water environments (including rivers and sea) in our area.
Stanmer Estate restoration project
The overall aim is to restore and protect its historic buildings and 18th century landscape, enhance its natural features, improve the environment, improve access, provide opportunities for involvement and education, ensure the estate is managed in a sustainable way that reflects the needs of park users and the wider community and make the whole park and estate accessible for all.
Marine Conservation Zone - 'Beachy Head West'
We are working with Sussex IFCA and other organisations on raising public awareness and sustainable use and enjoyment of the chalk intertidal and subtidal zones between Brighton Marina and Newhaven in particular.
England Coastal Path
Drinking Water promotion