These are the Vision and Mission Statements of the Thanet Countryside Trust:
To be the centre of excellence for ecological conservation and education in East Kent
The main focus of our work is Monkton Nature Reserve, Thanet’s “unique inland nature reserve”, which we hold as a registered, not-for-profit charity trust indefinitely for the people of Thanet, and is very largely run by volunteers. Our Goals for the coming years are:
- We will enable and encourage more local people to make use of the Reserve and to support the Trust in its conservation work.
- We will work to secure the long term viability of the Reserve and the development of its attractions and facilities for the benefit of our members and visitors.
- We will grow our educational services to support four key community groups: youth groups, including uniform associations (e.g. Scouts and Guides); schools, from nursery to further education; adult social organisations (e.g. Women’s Institute, Rotary Clubs); and vulnerable adult groups.
- We will continue to work with the Monkton Stargazers and exploit the Reserve as a community resource.
- We will explore ways to reach out to the disadvantaged emphasising the value of ecology as a significant contribution to mental and physical well-being.
- We will develop our research and analysis work, including habitat management plans, and deliver educational courses for the local community.
- We seek to be fully inclusive, providing access to all, and incorporate this aim in all of our development plans.
Our principal intention is to preserve this wonderful amenity for use by future generations, while being of existing benefit to our local communities.
Our goals are founded on our recent successes in developing the Reserve, including:
- Refurbishing our main building, the Field Study Centre, funded by a grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust. We now have a new roof, double glazing and external cladding, to ensure our prized exhibits and books are protected for the future.
- Creating four adventure trails around the Reserve: Fairy, Dinosaur, Brass-Rubbing, and Hedgehog. These are designed to help our visitors, particularly children, improve their observation skills and appreciate their surroundings.
- Developing our outside environmental education centre, now called the “Willett Educational Garden”, renamed after its main benefactor. This offers a range of special features, some specifically tailored for adults with learning difficulties.
- Improving our facilities for our visitors with new picnic benches, a larger disabled car-park, and leisure seating strategically located around the Reserve.
- Refining our image with improved signage outside and around the Reserve, to improve our visitors’ experience.
Most significantly, we continue to develop Monkton Nature Reserve as a unique environment for British flora and fauna that thrive on chalk-based habitats. Our grassland contains many species of rare orchids and a variety of wildflowers; our woodland is over 40 years old and a haven for birds; our ponds teem with wildlife.