WWT London Wetland Centre

Region

Europe

Country

UK

Flyway

East Atlantic flyway

Initiative

WLI Europe

About

The site is a 44 hectare (105 acre) mosaic of recreated UK wetland habitat including open water, reedbed, grazing marsh, ponds, wet woodland and flooded meadow. It is situated in Barnes in SW London and benefits from the city’s extensive transport links.

Organisation name: Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

Funding support: Operates as a visitor attraction with about 220,000 visitors a year. Income comes from admission fees, WWT membership subscriptions and secondary spend in the cafe and shop. It also runs a function business catering for meetings and events such as weddings. All profits go back into the centre or to WWT’s wider conservation work.

Number of staff: About 40 full time with seasonal fluctuations.

Overall aims of the centre

WWT’s purpose is to save wetlands and their wildlife and raise awareness of the issues that affect their survival. To enhance people’s lives through learning about and being close to nature and inspiring them to help WWT’s conservation work worldwide.

Description of the centre

The site is a 44 hectare (105 acre) mosaic of recreated UK wetland habitat including open water, reedbed, grazing marsh, ponds, wet woodland and flooded meadow. It is situated in Barnes in SW London and benefits from the city’s extensive transport links.

Around 180 species of wild birds visit the site and it has conservation protection for the significant numbers of over wintering shoveler and gadwall duck. Sand martins readily colonized the specially built nesting bank, opened in 2004 it now supports more than 70 breeding pairs.

Up to 8 species of bat, 19 species of damsel and dragonflies and over 600 moth and butterfly species use the reserve in the summer months. Water voles, grass snakes, slow worms and common lizards have colonised after controlled release programmes.

Nearly 230,000 people visited in 2008. Throughout the site there is innovative interpretation including the Bird Airport Observatory, Pond Zone and buildings highlighting global and UK cultural associations with wetlands. The site also boasts as adventure play area for children called Explore, with wildlife themed play exhibits. See the virtual visit site for more.

Work Areas

Main CEPA work areas

There is a comprehensive lifelong learning programme for all ages and abilities. Formal learning sessions reach over 20,000 visiting students per year and a suite of informal activities are made available to weekend and holiday visitors.

Wardens take an active role in supporting the learning department and a team of over 150 volunteers take it in turn to be on-hand to great and guide visitors.

Top three successes

1. Free school visits scheme, providing every state school pupil with the opportunity to visit free of charge subject to sponsorship.
2. There is a great formal schools programme which targets 75% state funded and community groups.
3. A regular programme of informal weekend and holiday activities which inspire learners, old and new.
4. One off events such as Pestival reaching new audiences.

Top three challenges

Marketing events and projects with a minimal budget; finding a cost effective PC package that can be used as booking and data manipulative system; encouraging diverse informal audiences.

Expertise

Interpretation techniques

Producing written materials; developing nature trails.

Visitor centres

Running a visitor centre; managing / creating habitat; building / maintaining structures.

Participation

Working with disabled people; engaging young people; working with volunteers; delivering adult education.

Education and communication

 

Early years education; working with primary schools; working with secondary schools; delivering adult education.

General

Running effective administration; PR and marketing; health and safety.

Contact

WWT London Wetland Centre,

Queen Elizabeth’s Walk,

London

SW13 9WT

T: 020 8409 4400

F: 020 409 4401

education.london@wwt.org.uk

www.wwt.org.uk/visit-us/london