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Peak project teaches better rural understanding

Posted 12 April 2012
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Peak project teaches better rural understanding
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A project to teach urban-dwelling members of black and minority ethnic (BME) groups a greater understanding of nature and the ecosystem on which people depend has seen a group from Sheffield visiting the Peak District.

Sheffield City College Black Access Students and the Schillo Church Congolese Refugee group were the first to take part in The Peak District scheme, which is organised by the Peak District National Park Sustainable Development Fund, as well as the Trent Rivers Trust, the Salmon and Trout Association and Wincle Fisheries, the Sheffield Telegraph reports.

The group was taken from the city to study the importance of wetlands, rivers, lakes and ponds and their visit this week included a trip to Ladybower Reservoir.

Project manager of Sheffield Black and Ethnic Minority Environment Network Maxwell Ayamba said: "BME communities and people from deprived white communities live in largely artificial man-made environments considered quite remote from eco-systems services, yet still rely daily on a wide range of these services as sources for food and water."

Such initiatives may also help more people from communities who tend not to venture out of urban areas much to put on their walking boots and explore the countryside more.

One attempt to do this has been the Mosaic Project, a three-year initiative sponsored by the Campaign for National Parks, which began in 2009.

It operates through community champions being drawn from BME groups around the country, who will work towards encouraging communities whose visits to national parks are rare to go there more often. Another part of its role is to help the national park authorities attract more people from such communities.

With the tally of UK national parks now standing at 15 (if one includes the Broads Authority, which is not strictly a national park), there is a huge variety of scenery and natural wonders to be enjoyed, from the high mountains of the Cairngorms to the rugged shores of the Pembroke Coast. Ensuring those who visit such places are more representative of Britain's ethnic diversity may be a key ongoing challenge in ensuring they are national in every sense.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801338376-ADNFCR