People are being given a great chance todoante and leave their names on a £5 million scheme to bring bears back to woods at Wild Place Project on the outskirts of Bristol.
They are being offered the opportunity to support a Sponsor-a-Plank appeal, donations will be recognised through displaying your name on a special stainless steel plaques which will be mounted on an elevated walkway through a new exhibit called Bear Wood.
The plaques, measuring 10 cm x 3cm (I inch x 3 inches), will be positioned on the side of the planks on the 750-metre-long walkway from which people will be able to see European brown bears, lynx, wolverine and wolves.
Kate Smith, development manager at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “We are certain this sponsorship will be really popular and will make great birthday, anniversary and Christmas gifts.
“It is also a great opportunity to mark new arrivals as the exhibit can be enjoyed and visited for many years to come. We’ve even had enquiries regarding proposals.
“Each plaque will be unique and treasured and, importantly, they will raise money to help towards building Bear Wood.”
Work on the ambitious scheme, which will cover seven and a half acres and include a classroom and cafe, will start in the coming weeks as Wild Place Project marks its fifth birthday.
Bear Wood is being created in an area of ancient woodland in the heart of Wild Place Project and is due to open next summer.
Kate said: “Everyone who sponsors a plank will be invited to the opening and they will be among the first people to set foot on the walkway through Bear Wood.”
Each plank costs £75 and the plaque has space for 24 characters on each of three lines spelt out in striking black script. There will be just one on each plank but there will be more than 3,000 planks available.
Nigel Simpson, head of operations at Wild Place Project, said: “This is a unique opportunity for people who love animals to have a permanent connection with Wild Place Project and help us to create this amazing new exhibit.
“It’s hundreds of years since bears have walked through these woods but in a year’s time they will walk there once more.”
Bristol Zoological Society has already received donations from generous benefactors and sponsors towards the cost of the scheme but still needs to raise more than £1.5 million.
An appeal has been launched to raise that money and every penny from the Sponsor-a-Plank Appeal will go towards that fund.
Woods, similar to those at Wild Place Project, covered as much as 75% of Britain about 6500 BC but have since been steadily cut down for building, housing, fuel, growing crops and making paper. Today such woods cover only two per cent of the country.
This beautiful habitat is home to a number of native species, such as greater-spotted woodpeckers, tawny owls and hedgehogs and the forest floor is dense with bluebells, snowdrops, orchids, wild garlic and foxgloves.