Funds are being sought to support the purchase of land next to a nature reserve in the heart of Lancaster.
The Fairfield Association, a local community-based environmental charity which recently created the popular 16-acre FAUNA nature reserve, has now signed a contract to buy 26 acres of fields nearby and is raising funds to complete the purchase in the next six months.
The association is calling the new area FLORA and hopes to add FLORA to FAUNA by the end of June.
When it signed the contract, the association had already raised £140,000 for the FLORA project, all of which has come from donations, pledges and fund raising by local people.
It now needs to raise another £100,000 to complete the purchase.
Fairfield Association chairman Andrew Brennand said: “£100,000 in six months may seem like a huge amount but we have already raised more than that and are determined to find the rest of the money we need to conserve in perpetuity a much-loved green space for people and local wildlife.
“This is our biggest project so far but we are a very determined bunch.”
In addition to creating FAUNA and raising £140,000 towards the FLORA project, the Fairfield Association has already bought two acres of the proposed FLORA land.
They are also applying for charitable funding but cannot rely on this being successful and are appealing for financial support from the public.
Prof Oliver Fulton, who coordinated the FAUNA project, said: “We are very proud of what we have achieved with FAUNA and we have already won the 2012 Lancashire Environmental Fund Best Practice Award (Natural Environment) for this work.
“Many Lancastrians, and indeed people from outside Lancaster, have already dug deep in their pockets in difficult times to help us conserve FLORA next to FAUNA. Their commitment is positively heartwarming.”
The new fund-raising campaign has already got off to a good start, and the association is already about a third of the way to the new £100,000 target. Prof Mick Short, the FLORA coordinator, said: “In the last month, we have raised more than £30,000 in extra pledges and donations, which means that we are already getting on for a third of the way to the £100,000 total we need by the end of July.
“We still have a long way to go and not much time to do it in but we hope that others will now come forward to contribute to the campaign.
“If we pull it off, the combined FLORA and FAUNA nature reserve will mean that about 45 acres of land near the city centre will be conserved as a nature reserve in perpetuity for the people of Lancaster and visitors to the city.
“That is why so many people are ‘up for it’. Many already gain great pleasure from walking the footpaths around FLORA and FAUNA and are keen to help protect the fields forever.”
Anyone who wants to donate to the cause, raise money through sponsorship or other activities or has ideas for raising money or gaining publicity to support the campaign, should contact Mick Short on 01524 63890 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Whitegates, Sunnyside Close, Lancaster.