A new collectable wildlife badge has been launched to raise money for the Mendip Hills Fund. The new badge features the iconic barn owl that can be seen silently hunting across the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The barn owl is one of the most popular and recognisable birds but over the last 80 years the UK population has dropped by 70%. They can still be seen across the Mendip Hills hunting near the rough grassland that their prey lives in.
The barn owl badge joins the collection of adder, dormouse, Chalk Hill Blue Butterfly and Greater Horseshoe Bat that people can make a donation for. The badges are available through a number of pubs, shops and tourist outlets in the area. Over the last 4 years the badges alone have raised £2500 for the fund. The fund is supported by visitor-giving schemes and this year will be giving out £11,000 to projects that improve the Mendip Hills.
Judith Chubb-Whittle, joint chair of the fund said, ‘The barn owl will be a great addition to the collection. We’re amazed that the wildlife badges are so sought after. We end up sending them to collectors across the country who make a donation via our Just Giving page. Thanks to those brilliant local companies that are already helping by having a badge box or through the Visitor Giving scheme. They get listed on the Mendip Hills AONB website and regularly promoted, alongside feeling good that they’re helping to look after the special Mendip Hills.’
The Mendip Hills Fund this year has given grants to a forest school, supported a book on orchards in Blagdon, a school environment club and improved signage on a Somerset Wildlife Trust reserve. Over the last 4 years since it started the fund has given out £20,000 to local projects. The fund is a partnership between the Mendip Hills AONB Unit and the Somerset Community Foundation. To find out more click here.