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A new start for the Biosphere, thanks to UNESCO and Welsh Government

Updated: Jul 9

Did you know that the Dyfi Biosphere is part of a family of UNESCO sites in Wales? There are also four World Heritage Sites, of which the most recent to join is the Slate Landscapes of Northwest Wales, and two Geoparks. We are the only Biosphere in Wales, but we’re one of seven across the UK, and over 700 globally.


You can find out more about these on the map of UK UNESCO sites. In each case the aim is to celebrate the culture, heritage and nature of Wales, placing them in an international context. In the UK they sit alongside the likes of ‘Glasgow, City of Music’, the Antonine Wall and the Tower of London. Globally, they are in the same club as the Taj Mahal, Timbuktu and Yellowstone National Park.


Earlier this month, all the Wales UNESCO sites met at Fforest Fawr Geopark to discuss the way forward for Wales, and it was an exciting conversation. It came about because the UK National Commission for UNESCO has a project funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund to develop the UK network of sites. As part of that, they chose the Dyfi Biosphere as a focus for extra support.


In turn, we were able to take part because following the visit last year of Julie James, the former Minister for Climate Change, we received a generous grant from Welsh Government that has paid for staff time to involve more people in the Dyfi Biosphere.


So what are we doing with this great opportunity? We’ll be saying more about that soon, but a lot has been happening. For a start, we are supporting projects to welcome five new communities to the Biosphere. Llanbadarn Fawr for instance is involving the local community in designing an information panel that will share its rich history with visitors and promote the Biosphere. Other communities are using wildlife safaris, community gardens and community fridges as their focus – and they have all responded very positively to being part of the conversation.


Reaching out to Young Farmers has been important too, with some local Clubs making videos. And we’ve held two webinars for schools to explore the educational possibilities of the Biosphere. We’re working with the local businesses to develop the Blas Dyfi Taste food brand as a way of building markets for local food, which is also the focus of the Biosphere’s main project at the moment, Tyfu Dyfi.


Behind the scenes, guidance on our constitution and fundraising is crucial to what happens next. We are also revamping our website and social media so that we can share stories of the Biosphere more widely and engage both the local community and visitors to the area.

It’s an exciting new start. Watch this space!


Do you have ideas on how your organisation could work with the Dyfi Biosphere? Fill in our survey. 

 

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