COMMUNITIES are being called on to nominate their "Wildlife Heroes" for an award this autumn which will celebrate the work of groups and individuals across Devon who have gone above and beyond to tackle the ecological emergency.

Wild About Devon is a Devon Local Nature Partnership initiative focusing on supporting local communities to restore and improve habitats for nature across our diverse landscapes.

Support is given through advice, signposting, networking platforms, and via the grant scheme.

There are so many communities, schools, groups, and individuals around Devon taking real action and making positive impacts on the health of our environment.

The Wild About Devon Awards provide an opportunity to celebrate their ambitions and achievements and inspire others to set up their own local wildlife projects.

There are four award categories:

• Wildlife Community of the Year

• Wildlife Parish and Town Council of the Year

• Wildlife School of the Year

• Outstanding Individual.

A panel of judges will select three winners in each category, based on the steps they have taken to improve the wildlife value of an area as well as the social benefit of their activity, for example an increase in skills, awareness in nature, social interaction, well-being, or health benefits.

Winners will receive certificates on the night as well as some great prizes that will aid their conservation efforts.

To help community groups, such as the ones celebrated in these awards, Wild About Devon has launched a grant scheme.

The aim of the grants is to provide an easy way for community groups to access small amounts of funding to start a wildlife group or carry out activities that promote wildlife.

The scheme is led by Devon Communities Together, find out more and apply here by December 22, 2023: .

Last year’s Wildlife Community of the Year winner Ogwild said the award was a moment they will not forget.

“Ogwild were thrilled to be chosen as The Wildlife Community of 2022. This recognition certainly raised our profile and increased our contact with other like-minded people. Networking and spreading the word are both crucial to the work we do so we would encourage others to participate in the 2023 awards,” said Paul Martin.

To nominate a group or individual for an award or apply yourself, fill out an online form by August 31, 2023.

Professor Michael Winter, Chair of the Devon LNP said: “This is our opportunity to acknowledge the excellent work of community groups and the benefit that this brings to our natural environment. The work these groups are doing in our county to restore and improve their local environment is truly inspirational and instils hope in us all for a greener future.”