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London wildlife centre wins tourism gold medal

23/11/2010 07:00:47

WWT London Wetland Centre gets gold

November 2010: The value of wildlife as a tourism attraction has been further illustrated as the WWT London Wetland Centre, a wildlife haven on the banks of the Thames in Barnes, has been awarded Gold in the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS). This lush, green oasis close to the heart of the capital is a popular visitor attraction, wedding venue and conference centre.

Wetland Centre. Picture: Ron Gilbey

Staff and volunteers at the nature reserve were delighted to receive the accolade, awarded this month in recognition of its excellent efforts to not only increase the biodiversity of the wetland area but also to educate visitors on the much wider area of sustainability.

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) created London Wetland Centre from four redundant Thames Water reservoirs, recycling the concrete they were built from, planting 27,000 trees and 300,000 plants and building paths, hides and creature habitats such as lakes, gardens and meadows. The centre opened in 2000 and since then the wildlife has flourished; the species of birds, bats, plants, reptiles, amphibians and dragonflies on site have all increased.

‘If we had one of these in every major city we'd be much better off'

Chris Packham, BBC Springwatch presenter, said: ‘London Wetland Centre is one of the greatest triumphs of 20th century conservation. If we had one of these in every major city we'd be much better off.'

The centre was also praised for its creative exhibitions such as the RBC Rain Garden and Down the Plughole‚ which were described as a great way of getting across very important messages in a fun and interactive way.

Staff have worked hard over the years to improve the Centre‚s green credentials. Initiatives include recycling 98 per cent of waste, providing bike racks for staff and visitors, reducing energy usage where possible and monitoring the carbon footprint each year.


Man-made London habitat is a rare success June 2010: WWT London Wetland Centre has proved its ecological credentials yet again with the first record of a scarce dragonfly laying eggs at the centre and the hatching of Cetti's warbler chicks, a songbird which rarely nests in central London.

Bittern boom in London January 2010. WWT London Wetland Centre is having a bumper winter for bitterns this year. Normally home to just one of these elusive birds from the heron family, this winter is seeing a bittern bonanza with the centre offering shelter for up to five at a time.  

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