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COVID-19 RESPONSE

Devon Environment Foundation Protecting and restoring nature in Devon

Most of us take more from nature than we give back, disrupting the delicately balanced natural ecosystems that provide us with everything we need. Fortunately, Nature-based Solutions are readily available, and Devon is the perfect place to scale them. The Devon Environment Foundation (DEF) was set up to identify the most effective local projects using Nature-based Solutions and provide the financial boost they need to accelerate and amplify their impact.

Devon enjoys diverse, valuable wildlife habitats including woodlands, wetlands, moorlands, meadows, hedgerows, rivers, estuaries, and many more beneath the surface of its coastal waters. Over recent decades, Devon’s natural assets have significantly diminished. To restore nature’s balance they require urgent, transformative action to protect what is left and regenerate what has been lost. The DEF channels vital funding and support to local projects to enable them to achieve their goals, expand, and share best practice to replicate the benefits in neighbouring areas.

The Badur Foundation supported DEF in the early stages of its formation, as well as taking a place on its Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is made up of founding and actively involved supporters; their role is to analyse and approve grants, whilst using their networks to broaden awareness of and support for the initiative. DEF is run by a Devon-based Executive Director who is assisted by local experts and the Steering Committee. While many environmental initiatives focus on single issues, DEF supports projects that fall into three broad themes: landscape regeneration, river restoration, and marine conservation.

The DEF’s vision is to see at least 30% of Devon ‘for nature’ by 2030. They intend to fulfill this by working with local partners to implement bold nature regeneration projects that can be replicated and scaled, enabling local nature recovery to leave a positive legacy for future generations. Here are some projects the DEF has recently funded:

· The Apricot Centre - A regenerative farm that has collected five years’ worth of data demonstrating how farming can be productive whilst sequestering carbon, supporting biodiversity, creating climate resilience, and providing local food security. Funding will enable themto share the learnings in innovative ways, so more farmers discover the benefits of regenerative practices and gain confidence to adopt them too.

· Moor Meadows - A community meadow restoration scheme that increases plant and insect biodiversity by encouraging landowners to create, conserve, and restore vital meadow habitat on Dartmoor. Funding will enable them to create a toolkit to share their expertise further afield and inspire more landowners to devote space for meadows in new areas of Devon.

· Biome Algae - An off-shore seaweed farming research trial, that aims to prove the economic, environmental, and social benefits of off-shore kelp farming, particularly for coastal communities. Funding will enable the trial to take place so they can share the findings, with the goal of scaling this pioneering practice to other locations off the Devon and Cornwall coasts.

· Till the Coast is Clear - A plastic pollution clean-up initiative employing a rib and recycled plastic kayaks to access hard-to-reach areas of rivers, coast, and estuary while educating and engaging the community and eco-tourists around plastic waste prevention. Funding will enable them to continue their vital work and amplify their impact; cleaning-up and raising awareness in new locations along the Devon coast.

Badur is excited to work in partnership with the Devon Environment Foundation towards the shared goal of supporting grassroots projects that regenerate nature, especially those that can be replicated and scaled.