Our new British ancient woodland exhibit has been shortlisted for a national conservation award.
Bear Wood, which opened in July 2019, covers around 7.5 acres and has been nominated for a Green Heart Hero Award.
The awards are run by the Climate Coalition, a charity dedicated to action against climate change. Bear Wood has been shortlisted in the Outdoor Innovation category section of the awards.
The woodland exhibit is home to European brown bears, wolverines, lynxes and wolves, as well as hundreds of native animal and plant species. Bear Wood tells the story of British woodland from 8,000 BC to the present day.
Visitors enter through a time chamber, stepping back in time to when these species were native to Bristol and the UK. They follow a raised wooden walkway through the wood and see these remarkable animals living amongst the trees as they would have done thousands of years ago.
Dr Justin Morris, Chief Executive of Bristol Zoological Society which owns and runs Wild Place Project, said: “We are delighted that Bear Wood, our newest and biggest exhibit at Wild Place Project, has been nominated for a Green Heart Hero Award.
“It has both transformed and safeguarded a woodland giving visitors the chance to step back in time and see bears, wolverines, lynxes and wolves living there as they would have done thousands of years ago.
“It also allows people to learn how woods have changed and inspires them to value and protect woodland habitats and wildlife for future generations.”
The winners will be announced in a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament attended by MPs and hosted by Sky News presenter Kay Burley on March 9.
Woodlands, similar to those at Wild Place Project, covered Britain thousands of years ago but have been steadily cut down for building, housing, fuel, growing crops and making paper.
Dr Christoph Schwitzer, Chief Zoological Officer at Bristol Zoological Society, said: “British ancient woodland is the richest habitat for wildlife in the UK, providing a home for hundreds of species of animals and plants.
“In order to conserve what remains, we need to futureproof its existence, inspiring the next generation with the importance of this unique habitat.”
Bear Wood is sponsored by Natracare and lies at the heart of Wild Place Project a fun, family attraction that provides outdoor adventure, play and learning with an emphasis on protecting threatened habitats on our doorsteps and around the globe.
Located just off junction 17 of the M5, Wild Place Project invites visitors to take a glimpse into ecosystems from around the world, including Madagascar, Cameroon, the Congo, and British woodlands.