Springwatch Presenter To Open Dragonfly Centre at Wicken Fen On Sunday.

PUBLISHED: 10:29 24 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:58 04 May 2010

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A NEW national Dragonfly Centre, the only one of its kind in Britain, will be formally opened by Naturalist and BBC Springwatch presenter, Chris Packham at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve on Sunday. Wicken Fen is one of the best locations in the Unite

A NEW national Dragonfly Centre, the only one of its kind in Britain, will be formally opened by Naturalist and BBC Springwatch presenter, Chris Packham at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve on Sunday.

Wicken Fen is one of the best locations in the United Kingdom to spot Dragonflies with 21 species such as the Emperor Dragonfly, Hairy Dragonfly, Emerald Damselfly and Red Eyed Damselfly breeding on the fen. On a warm summers day thousands of these beautiful highly coloured insects can be seen performing their aerobatic flying displays along the waterways and ditches.

The Dragonfly Centre is a joint initiative between the National Trust, the British Dragonfly Society and the Dragonfly Project and is housed in a renovated former fen worker's cottage. Development of the centre has been assisted by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), a programme supported by the European Union and the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs. The centre received a grant of £37,000 the first awarded by the Fens Adventurers Local Action Group, the Governing body for the locally focussed RDPE programme in Cambridgeshire and West Norfolk Fens.

Fiona Bryant, head of sustainable and rural development for the East of England Development Agency said:

"The Dragonfly Centre is a good example of how the RDPE funding can be used to build on the environmental assets of the Fens and develop the area as a high quality visitor destination. This project will also meet RDPE objectives of improving access to the countryside and raising awareness of the importance of biodiversity."

Mike Carter, the Fens Adventurers programme manager said:

"The increased visitor numbers and resulting income will make a significant contribution to the long term sustainability and viability of Wicken Fen, which is one of the key environmental assets and land based tourism attractions in the Fens Adventurers area".

Additional grants for the creation of an easy access wildlife garden and ponds and interpretation boards have been received from the Environment Agency and Anglian Water.

INFO: The opening ceremony will be performed by Chris Packham at 2.30pm on Sunday, after which he will lead a guided walk and talk on dragonflies.

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