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c2c and Essex Wildlife Trust turn Thorpe Bay Station into gateway for nature

Rail operator c2c and conservation charity Essex Wildlife Trust have joined forces to turn the waiting room at Thorpe Bay Station into a gateway to nature, inspiring the local community to visit one of the trust’s many sites along the line.

The project provides a valuable example of how train operators can work with local organisations to help make stations welcoming places for visitors, whilst also promoting taking the train for leisure journeys.

The new map has taken over the waiting room at Thorpe Bay Station to help the charity attract more visitors to its numerous conservation reserves, many of which are found on the c2c network. 

The map is surrounded by 3D-effect butterflies hand-painted by artist Dave ‘Gnasher’ Nash of Gnasher Murals, featuring some of the many butterfly species found in Essex, and includes a handy QR code to help visitors plan their days out on the website.

Zoe Ringwood, Head of Conservation Evidence at Essex Wildlife Trust, said: “The report that 80% of our butterflies in the UK are in decline is a concern to everyone that cares about wildlife. Loss of wildflower meadows, intensive farming and climate change are all contributing to make the UK landscape less suitable for butterflies to feed, breed and move around. Butterflies are important pollinators, essential food for birds and their chicks, and are indicators of the health of our countryside.

“The good news is actions to restore wild areas for butterflies can have positive impacts and aid their recovery. We hope the public will support us and record their sightings. The data from Butterfly Seekers will provide important information for their conservation.”

Stuart Browning, c2c’s Head of Safety and Environment, said: “It is fantastic to see this project come to life at Thorpe Bay Station. As well as inspiring customers to plan an environmentally friendly trip to one of the charity’s great sites on our route, this mural will help to highlight this important piece of local research. We’re proud to be supporting this great campaign and encourage all our customers to download the app and help Essex Wildlife Trust with this important project.” 

Kim Hall, Chair of the Thorpe Bay Residents Association, came down to see the mural installation in action. She said: “This project has brightened up the waiting room for the local community in a fun and unique way; the butterflies are fantastic – they look like they’re popping off the wall! I hope this will encourage local residents to jump on the train and explore the Trust’s reserves, using this beautiful map to plan their days out.” 

You can watch the full video of the mural installation here

*Read the Butterfly Conservation’s recent report.