With tourism being the main industry within the Lake District National Park, it is up to the inhabitants and businesses to become more environmentally aware and no more so than the highly popular Windermere. This can be in the form of recycling all glass, paper, cardboard and hard plastics for example. Networks such as the Cumbria Business Environment Network can help a tourism business become more environmentally aware through advice, audits and the ability to work towards bronze, silver and gold awards for improving their environmental performance.
Apart from recycling and energy conservation, hotels in Windermere and the Lake District can play a large part in conservation of wildlife and the beautiful landscape. The Tourism and Conservation Partnership is another organisation. They support tourism businesses who wish to invest in the landscape and environment. With a membership of over 200 tourism businesses in Cumbria, The Tourism and Conservation Partnership are working together to ensure a sustainable further for Cumbria – The Lake District.
A project supported by the Tourism and Conservation Partnership in Cumbria is the Red Squirrel Conservation project in conjunction with Save Our Squirrels. Since the 19th Century, the red squirrel has been slowly edged out by the larger and more outgoing grey squirrel. In the Lake District, the native red has seen the same decline as in many other parts of the United Kingdom, since the introduction of its grey cousin from overseas. There are however, exceptions, such as Whinlatter Forest, where the red squirrels are fairly strong in numbers.
As a region, Cumbria-The Lake District has been at the forefront of trying to counteract this trend and various organisations have been proactive in taking this forward. The Forestry Commission and Save Our Squirrels, for example, will help these Lake District squirrels, through the opening of a site near Keswick which will allow us to view them in their natural habitat and therefore understand them better.
In Windermere there are various projects, funded by local organisations which will help favour the red squirrel. This is increasingly important as there are only around 21,000 remaining in the whole of the UK. Grey squirrels were only introduced into the UK around one hundred years ago.
While the grey squirrel does not directly attack the red, they tend to be less affected by breeding pressures, can more easily digest acorns and pass on a virus which is more likely to kill the red squirrel; all attributes which have assisted their population growth to the detriment of the native Red. As the grey squirrels are in larger numbers, they tend to get to the food before the red squirrel so it is harder for the red to find the food. There are certain places in the Lake District where it is more likely that a red squirrel will be viewed but as with many rare birds and animals, when one goes to specifically see an animal, it is almost guaranteed they won’t make an appearance!
A variety of tourism businesses, including Lake District and <a href=”http://www.hillthwaite.com”target=”_blank”>Windermere hotels</a>, raised almost £20,000 last year alone through donation boxes and fund raising events in the area.