Somerset residents are being invited to the pub by a group of scientists who have come to the region from across the UK to study Steart Marshes.
The scientists’ quest is to unlock the mysteries of man-made coastal wetlands, and they want to hear from the people who live nearby and discuss what they’ve managed to find out so far. Sessions are being held in The Cornhill, Bridgwater tonight (7 March) at 7pm, and at WWT Steart Marshes between 11am and 3pm today (7 March), tomorrow and on 14, 15, 24 and 25 March.
It’s an initiative from the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) and scientists from Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Southampton, Plymouth University and Bangor University, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
Steart Marshes, which is managed by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), became one of the largest man-made wetlands when it was created in 2014. It was designed to replace coastal habitat that is being lost within the Severn Estuary with the added benefits of protecting local homes and businesses around the Severn from flooding.
Since then, the marshes have developed quickly, providing scientists with a rare chance to study how they do things such as store carbon and provide nurseries for fish fry.
Alys Laver, Site Manager at WWT Steart Marshes, added:
“Scientific research is an important step to understanding the value of our working wetlands to local people.
“So it’s equally important that we and the researchers understand how the wetlands are perceived by the community, and take the chance to share what we’re discovering.”
Dr Hannah Mossman, Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan, said:
“Studying sites like Steart can help us improve the design of future man-made wetlands so they can bring maximum benefits to their local communities. It should be able to support a diverse range of species, and also to adapt to rising sea levels and give long-term protection to our coast.
“It is cutting-edge science that will protect the area against the impact of climate change. So, we want residents to come along and discover more about the work that’s happening in their community and how it is nurturing a fantastic array of species to thrive on their doorstep.”
Science in the Pub at The Cornhill, Bridgwater TA6 3BU
7 March: 19:00 onwards
Open day events at WWT Steart Marshes, TA5 2PU
7 and 8 March: 11:00 – 15:00
14 and 15 March: 11:00 – 15:00
24 and 25 March: 11:00 – 15:00