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Loose foreign change hidden in homes across Bristol could help safeguard a popular beauty spot.
Bristol Zoological Society has launched a month-long appeal encouraging people to donate surplus foreign currency left over from holidays or business trips to help the Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project continue its invaluable work.
The project was set up 20 years ago to protect the outstanding wildlife on the Bristol side of the Gorge and Downs and to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of the site for people and wildlife.
More than 118,000 people of all ages and backgrounds have discovered, learnt about and enjoyed the wildlife and landscape of the area through the project’s specialised education programme.
However, despite receiving funding from a number of different organisations and individuals across the city, and annual fundraising efforts by Bristol Zoological Society, a £4k shortfall of funds for 2019 means that the education programme risks not being able to continue running.
Over the years, Bristol Zoological Society, which is a charity, has saved all foreign currency donated by guests and now has a way of getting it exchanged by a third party.
This, along with any additional loose foreign change people are able to donate this month, will go directly towards funding the Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project’s education programme.
Mandy Leivers, Avon Gorge & Downs Biodiversity Education Manager, said: “The Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project relies solely on donations and funding. We would be extremely grateful for any loose foreign currency that people can donate.
“With your support we can ensure that one of Bristol’s greatest natural resources continues to be protected and shared with everyone.”
All forms of foreign currency can be accepted by Bristol Zoological Society and can be donated in person at the main entrances of either Bristol Zoo Gardens (Clifton) or Wild Place Project (Easter Compton).
The closing date for foreign currency donations is Sunday 31 March.
The Avon Gorge, Clifton Down and Durdham Down are just two miles from Bristol City Centre and are home to a wealth of wildlife – making them one of the most exciting places to see wildlife in Bristol.
Over 30 different kinds of nationally rare plant grow in the Avon Gorge, meaning it is one of the top botanical sites in the UK. It's particularly well-known for its whitebeam trees, some of which grow naturally and nowhere else in the world. Among these are the Bristol, Wilmott's, Houston's, Observatory and Leigh Woods whitebeams. The Gorge is also home to Bristol rock-cress and Bristol onion (the only place that they grow wild in the UK).
The Gorge is also home to a large number of nationally rare invertebrates including the silky wave moth (Idaea dilutaria). This is the only English site for this Red Data Book species whose caterpillars feed on limestone grassland plants.
The Avon Gorge is such an important place for wildlife that it has been internationally recognised as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and nationally designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).The Downs, which are a Site of Nature Conservation Interest, supports large areas of limestone grassland meadows, brimming with grasses and wildflowers.
The Project is a partnership of Bristol City Council, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Natural England, Society of Merchant Venturers, University of Bristol, the Downs Committee and Bristol Zoological Society. Representatives from these organisations sit on a steering group that guides the work of the Project.
Find out more about on the Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project here.
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