Students have the chance to win a £250 bursary to carry out sand dune research in Cumbria.
Sand dunes are home to many special plants and animals, from natterjack toads and dragonflies to orchids.
However, they are becoming increasingly scarce, putting the wildlife that lives there at risk.
Dynamic Dunescapes, a nationwide project, is working to restore some of the most important sand dunes systems, including in Cumbria.
The project has announced that it is offering students aged between 16 and 25 an opportunity to get involved with their work.
Eve Mulholland, Dynamic Dunescapes engagement officer with Cumbria Wildlife Trust, explains: “We’ve created a variety of exciting research project opportunities for students to explore, that will directly help our dunes in Cumbria.
“They range from investigating invertebrate and key plant species, which may include solitary mining bees and pioneer species such as the delicate sticky stork’s-bill, to studying the rare and nationally scarce dune helleborine orchid.
“There are also opportunities for students to study and map the distribution of yellow meadow ants and to search for a small endangered plant called yellow bird’s-nest.
“Over recent years, climate change, changes in land use, loss of rabbit populations and the increase in nitrogen deposition, have all accelerated the growth of vegetation on sand dunes.
“This puts pressure on specialist plants and animals that rely on the open sandy habitat to thrive.
“Working closely with Dynamic Dunescapes partners and environmental bodies, the students’ research projects will help us build on our understanding of these important species and how these precious habitats should be managed in the future.”
The students who are selected will work at some of Cumbria’s nature reserves: at Sandscale Haws National Nature Reserve (NNR) managed by the National Trust, North Walney NNR managed by Natural England and South Walney Nature Reserve managed by Cumbria Wildlife Trust.
The students’ projects can be carried out as part of undergraduate, masters or PHD study, to develop research and/or practical skills or to gain field-based experience.
The deadline for applications is March 29
For more information, visit https://dynamicdunescapes.co.uk/get-involved/conservationists or contact Eve Mulholland at [email protected]