The Caterpillar Project – one year on

In 2010 we received a generous grant from the CAT Foundation. This partnership has contributed towards upgrading and enhancing wildlife habitat, visitor facilities and infrastructure at the reserve delivering benefits for both wildlife and people.

 Over the past year the partnership has engaged 500 Caterpillar employees and other local people as volunteers working alongside reserve staff implementing practical projects to improve habitat and upgrade visitor facilities. These projects have included: creating and improving access walkways to the newly created shallow water wildlife lagoons; building bird watching hides to allow public viewing and monitoring of wildlife (Snipe, Tern and Shelduck); constructing floating rafts on the new lagoons for predatory proof bird breeding and roosting; installing gravel islands to improve the overall nesting capacity of the lagoons and undertaking general habitat management and restoration at Rutland Water Nature Reserve, for example through coppicing and scrub clearance.

 We have received fantastic feedback from Caterpillar employees, below are two of hundreds of similar comments all complementing the staff, volunteers and the nature reserve itself.

 It was a thoroughly enjoyable day. What a lovely place and what a great team. Thanks to everyone who helped to organise the event and to everyone (Becky and the team) at Rutland Water”

 “An excellent programme that will benefit both CAT and the reserve. If it brings a better appreciation of conservation and nature as well as the added bonus of working with groups of people outside of daily comfort zones for a common cause then it can only be a positive for all involved.”

 The project has had a big impact on the local population in increasing awareness, pride and stewardship of the local environment. Team building days have included a walk on the reserve, giving employees a real insight into nature conservation. The family day held in June encouraged CAT employees to revisit their work and bring their partners and children to share their experiences. Around 120 people attended and had a thoroughly enjoyable day.

 The project has been a huge success and we hope to be able continue to invite CAT employees to undertake projects on the reserve next year.