Outdoor Recreation NI, in association with Sport Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Environment Agency, are providing a free seminar for Outdoor Challenge Event Organisers.
As the number of challenge, charity and fundraising events continue to increase within Northern Ireland’s natural environment, so too has the concern over the impacts on the very areas that they are using. These areas are not built for purpose and comprise a diverse collection of plants and animals set within sensitive landscapes, which are often privately owned and, in some cases, protected by statutory designations.
The aim of the seminar is to provide information, help and advice on staging responsible and sustainable outdoor challenge events in Northern Ireland’s natural environment.
There will be presentations by representatives from Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), Mourne Heritage Trust and National Trust who will be drawing on their own expertise and experiences:
- Matthew Bushby – As a land manager, Matthew will discuss his experience of engagement with event organisers and how it can help towards positive experiences for organisers and participants, whilst protecting the landscapes in which they are held. He will also provide an insight into research conducted on the impact of events held in the Mournes. Matthew is Countryside Services Manager at Mourne Heritage Trust who oversees the countryside services operation including rangering, countryside team, volunteer programme and mountain bike ranger within the Mournes.
- Patrick Lynch – Patrick works closely with Matthew Bushby and will discuss his experience of events held within the areas he manages in the Mournes. Patrick is the National Trust Area Ranger for Murlough and Mourne. His day to day work encompasses managing the conservation and access for areas including Murlough National Nature Reserve as well as parts of Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh.
- Toby Edwards – Using his wealth of experience gained from over fifteen years of working across the Trust in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Toby will discuss the complexities of balancing the needs of all stakeholders when managing events. Toby is currently the National Trust Area Ranger for Mount Stewart covering the recent acquisition of the wider estate with the primary aim of opening & enabling access to the outdoors. Day to day he leads the Ranger team in delivering the long-term vision for Mount Stewart to be a healthy, beautiful, productive and enjoyed landscape through a variety of restoration and conservation projects.
- Keith Finegan – Keith will provide an introduction to legislation governing the protection of designated, natural sites and why it is important to manage the impact of events in these areas. Keith is a Senior Scientific Officer in the NIEA’s Natural Environment Division (NED). NED has the role of the Statutory Nature Conservation Body, and Keith’s role is to provide advice on the protection of the natural environment with specific emphasis on Northern Ireland’s suite of nationally and internationally designated sites.
The event is FREE to attend and open to anyone involved in outdoor challenge events in Northern Ireland, including:
- Charitable bodies using the environment for their events
- Activity providers who can provide expertise on delivering such events
- Local authority countryside access officers and biodiversity officers
- Land owners, managers and statutory authorities
- National Governing Body Officers and club representatives
Please see event programme for further details. If you wish to attend, please register in advance via e-mail (including any dietary and access requirements) to Philip Weston – [email protected] by Thursday 21st March 2019.
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