A DISTINGUISHED biologist, nature writer and campaigner has been named the new voluntary and honorary president of the Friends of the Dales.

Dr Amy-Jane Beer will represent the environmental campaigning charity which was started in 1981 by Dales Way creator Colin Speakman.

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It has been actively campaigning for more than 40 years, with successful past campaigns including lobbying for sustainable support for Dales farmers, affordable housing and setting up the rural transport enterprise, Dalesbus.

North Yorkshire based Amy-Jane, has written more than 30 books about science and natural history and is also a Country Diarist for The Guardian, British Wildlife columnist and a contributor to BBC Wildlife and Countryfile magazines.

She said: “In Friends of the Dales I see an organisation that can make a genuine difference – they are vocal, energetic and creative, and willing to reach out and make connections in a common cause.

This is the best of grassroots activism, and I’m delighted to be adding my voice to theirs.

“The Yorkshire Dales are already feeling the impacts of the climate change and biodiversity crises.

"I feel on the positive side the landscape and its communities are also perfectly placed to lead the way in sustainable land management, nature recovery, responsible access and in revolutionising public understanding of farming and rural heritage and nature.

"I can’t wait to help celebrate the natural and human heritage of the Dales, whilst also inspiring locals, visitors and those who’ve yet to experience the magic for themselves to bring about positive change.”

Bruce McLeod, chair of Friends of the Dales said, “Having the distinguished environmental writer Dr Beer join our charity as president is an important step in helping us further spread the word about our work to help protect and improve the Dales for the generations to come.

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"Some of the issues we are currently campaigning about go right to the heart of the concerns facing the whole planet, such as plastic pollution, loss of biodiversity and habitats and the destruction of our natural carbon sinks, such as our peatlands.

"Amy-Jane’s passion for the natural world is well known and we believe that her voice will enable us to engage a new demographic of environmentalist to our causes.”

Friends of the Dales is currently campaigning for the eradication of plastic from all tree planting, to raise awareness through better cutting regimes of how the biodiversity of the region’s roadside verges can be maximised and for the protection and restoration of the peatlands.


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