Birdfair, which runs from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 August in Rutland addresses some big issues of the day, including climate change and wildlife decline.
-Come along for three days of wildlife talks and events
-Shop for nature watching gear, tours and other wildlife themed treats
-Get top tips to kick start your conservation career
On Friday evening join Chris Packham, Carrie Symonds, Deborah Meaden, Hannah Stitfall, Isabella Tree, Philip Lymbery and Tony Juniper for a Question Time session looking at the current state of wildlife, chaired by Dominic Dyer. Simon King’s talk on living lighter will look at how we can change the world one step at a time.
On Saturday the UK’s biggest wildlife event also offers opportunities for visitors to discover how to take the first steps in various careers. Hear how a range of passionate conservationists got started and get expert advice to polish up your CV.
Birdfair visitors can also look forward to fun quiz sessions including Would I Fly To You and Bird Brain of Britain hosted by Stephen Moss, Iolo Williams’ talk on Life before Telly and Angie and Jonathan Scott’s Big Cat Tales. Other treats in store include Birdfair’s popular wildlife cruises on Rutland Water, Bird Photographer of the Year Awards with Chris Packham and a production of The Lion King for families. Birdfair will welcome 45 new exhibitors and caterers.
Birdfair founder and manager Tim Appleton said, "There’s really something for everyone this year. Whether you’re a Birdfair regular or a first time visitor, this is going to be a fantastic three days. And it’s worth remembering that everyone visiting is making a real difference by contributing towards wildlife conservation projects."
Each year Birdfair raises vital funds for conservation across the planet through entry ticket sales and a charity auction. This year’s event will fund raise for BirdLife International’s Conserving Cambodia's Big Five project. This project will benefit Western Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary, a forest in the Mekong basin that stretches across the border between Cambodia and Laos. The site is notable for its unusually high concentration of Critically Endangered species; five in total, including the towering Giant Ibis and White-shouldered Ibis and three declining vulture species: White-rumped, Slender-billed and Red-headed.
This globally important site is in dire need of protection to protect its habitat from threats such as unsustainable hunting and deforestation; this year’s project will help secure its future by scaling up existing work with local farmers to develop eco-friendly practices to improve fortunes of the site’s wildlife and those who live on its borders.
Birdfair is jointly promoted by Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and the RSPB. The event is held at Rutland Water Nature Reserve which is cared for by Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust in partnership with Anglian Water. A spectacular wetland, it provides one of the most important wildfowl sanctuaries in the UK, regularly holding in excess of 25,000 waterfowl. The Birdfair entry ticket covers all daytime events: separate tickets can be purchased for evening events and cruises. Parking is free. Tickets are available here: Birdfair
photo: Giant Ibis credit Jonathan Eames
photo: Chris Packham credit Terry Bagley .
Stories from the Frontline of Elephant Conservation
As a conservation driven organisation, African Bush Camps promote and influence African travel on a global scale while operating with an environmentally sustainable footprint. Employing an ethos that strives to empower local communities in the areas in which they operate, a strong focus on conservation is at the heart of their operation. How Many Elephants has a simple mission. Stop the poaching of African elephants. Simple but critical. Every day, 96 elephants are killed for their ivory. That is 35,000 of these magnificent, gentle, intelligent animals a year.
Headline Speaker: Holly Budge Adventurer | Conservationist | Designer
Holly will share her adventurous fundraising tales from her journey to Everest to immersing herself with the Black Mambas, an all-female front line anti-poaching team in South Africa. Holly founded 'How Many Elephants', a design-led campaign, to inspire and educate a global audience about the impact of the elephant ivory trade. To date, she has raised over £300k for charity.
Headline Speaker: Dr. Niall McCann National Geographic Explorer | Conservationist | Biologist
Niall is the Director of Conservation for National Park Rescue, a direct-action conservation organisation that focuses on preventing the slaughter of elephants, rhinos and lions in sub-Saharan Africa. Niall presented award-winning documentary Lost in the Amazon and two seasons of the multi award-winning Biggest and Baddest.
Bonus Speaker: Beks Ndlovu Professional Guide | Founder of African Bush Camps
Through African Bush Camps and their foundation, Beks became not only a tour operator but a social entrepreneur and is proving to be one of the most enterprising and inspiring players in the Tourism Industry, one who continues to promote and influence African travel on a global scale.
Proceeds from the evening go to the How Many Elephants Campaign which supports National Park
Rescue and Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust in Zimbabwe and the Black Mambas in South Africa.
“An impactful campaign which highlights the need to end the killing of Africa's elephants by reducing the demand for ivory.” Tusk
About How Many Elephants:
The 'How Many Elephants' Campaign uses design as a powerful visual communication tool to raise global awareness of the devastating impacts of the African elephant crisis. Few people know that 96 African elephants are poached daily for their ivory. At this astonishing rate they will be extinct in the wild within a decade.
The multi award-winning, design-led campaign is hard-hitting in the way it showcases 35,000 elephant silhouettes, the current annual poaching rate in Africa, in a striking exhibition. Every day for a year, a square of 96 elephants is posted depicting the daily poaching rate to show the sheer scale of the poaching crisis. Gruesome images of mutilated elephants have been purposely avoided. To actually see and connect with this data visually is highly impactful.
About African Bush Camps
African Bush Camps is a private, owner-run African-based safari company that speaks to the art of service and offers you an authentic safari experience in the untamed African wilderness. Focused on your experience as our guest, our professional guides and nature enthusiasts will be on hand to ensure your journey with African Bush Camps is the very best safari experience imaginable.
How Many Elephants
Europe's leading ferry operator DFDS and marine conservation charity ORCA enter their 13th year in partnership as the 2019 ORCA season begins. The partnership sees on board ORCA marine wildlife experts engage with passengers to educate them about the diverse marine life and conservation work undertaken in British waters. Conservation talks, marine wildlife spotting sessions and wildlife related games are offered to passengers of all ages, free of charge. Until 27 September, ORCA's team of Marine Wildlife Officers will be on board select DFDS Newcastle-Amsterdam crossings and from 5 June to 8 September on select Newhaven-Dieppe crossings.
Steve Jones, Head of Partnerships at ORCA said, “We are looking forward to enjoying a 13th season with DFDS. We hope to engage with even more passengers than during last year's record-breaking season, which saw over 35,100 passengers take part in the ORCA education programme on board. There is such a fantastic array of wildlife to be enjoyed on Britain's coastline and we can't wait to showcase it to passengers.”
Naomi Thornton from DFDS said, “We are thrilled to have ORCA's team of Marine Wildlife Officers back on board. We've enjoyed 12 years working with the ORCA team on our Newcastle-Amsterdam route and are delighted to be extending this marine wildlife watching service to passengers on board our Newhaven-Dieppe route for the second year running. We look forward to seeing the ORCA team's findings across both routes this summer.”
The 2018 season saw the opening of a brand new ORCA Wildlife Centre on board DFDS King Seaways ship, where 35,100 passengers engaged with the on board programme. These passengers were treated to more than 2,000 marine wildlife sightings, including 902 harbour porpoises, 30 bottlenose dolphins, 74 minke whales, 225 grey seals and 652 acrobatic white-beaked dolphins.
DFDS offers daily sailings between Newcastle-Amsterdam. On board, passengers can enjoy fine dining in the North Sea Bistro as well as an unlimited international selection serving over 60 dishes in Explorer's Kitchen. Also on board is a shop, casino, two cinema screens and kid's club. DFDS also offer multiple daily sailings between Newhaven-Dieppe where on board facilities include a self-service restaurant and the Beachy Head Bar, a split-level seaview lounge. There is a dedicated soft play area for young children whilst older kids can take advantage of video games available.
ORCA activities open to all passengers at no cost. See www.dfds.co.uk
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. My byline appears in national and regional newspapers and magazines. See website gillypickup.co.uk