Thank you to all our friends and supporters who visited the World Land Trust (WLT) stand at last weekend’s Birdfair. Despite the rain (and ensuing mud) on Friday, the UK’s annual ‘Birdwatching Glastonbury’ was a great success. We were delighted to be joined on our stand by Ecuadorian partners, Fundación Jocotoco, which WLT has been supporting since 2003 through projects ranging from land purchase and tree planting to Carbon Balanced and Keepers of the Wild.
WLT also welcomed Gloria Waswa from our partner, Nature Kenya. Turning the spotlight on Dakatcha, the threatened coastal woodland in northern Kenya that was the focus of our recent Buy an Acre appeal, Gloria gave several fascinating talks during the weekend. Adela Espinosa and Antonio Paez from Jocotoco gave an inspiring insight into 21 Years of Conservation Success in Ecuador, while Christopher Hodgson teamed up with WLT to present his superb talk Around the World in 80 Birds. We also welcomed Sona Kalantaryan and Siranush Tumanyan from our Armenian partner, Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC). A big thank you to all our partners for bringing their enthusiasm and expertise to the Birdfair.
Visitors to our stand cannot fail to have noticed (or smelled) the coffee, courtesy of long-term WLT supporters Puro who raised over £1,000 from donations during the weekend. We were pleased to be recognised as one of the top three conservation stands at the show – due in no small part to our friends from Puro and Jocotoco, but also to our intriguing ‘smell the rainforest’ exhibit where we encouraged passers-by to sample scents captured by Givaudan from aromatic plants in Brazil’s endangered Atlantic forest. Thank you to WildSounds, celebrating their 30th anniversary, for also supporting us at this year’s Birdfair.
WLT Patron Chris Packham joined us on Friday afternoon to sign copies of his acclaimed memoir, Fingers in the Sparkle Jar. We were also pleased to see WLT supporter, David Cohen who recently helped our Keepers of the Wild programme by asking Viking Optics to auction his unwanted telescope and convert the proceeds into seven pairs of binoculars urgently needed by forest rangers in WLT-funded reserves.“Acquiring reserves is just the first step,” said Mr Cohen. “They need to be managed andprotected on the ground and Keepers of the Wild do a superb job in very difficult circumstances. Ensuring they are properly equipped and funded is essential, so I am delighted that, with the help of Viking, my surplus telescope has been converted into seven pairs of binoculars which will be used by WLT partners throughout the world.”
Bird Photographer of the Year are also supporting WLT and we were thrilled to be presented with a cheque for £500 from Paul Sterry as an initial donation to our new project protecting Sarus Cranes in the wetlands of Uttar Pradesh in northern India.
WLT hosted the Birdfair’s main event on Saturday evening, celebrating our 30th anniversary with a packed programme headlined by the film premier Three Decades of Conservation in Sir David Attenborough’s own words.
Nick Baker and Bill Oddie championed the natural treasures of Paraguay and Armenia, while Simon Barnes sang the praises of Africa. Gloria Waswa was presented with a cheque from Paul Buckley of the African Bird Club – generous supporters of our Dakatcha Buy an Acre appeal – before the evening was rounded off with traditional African music from African Activities. Thank you to Simon Watt of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society for compering the evening – and to Peregrina EnChantica for setting the scene with their conservation-themed songs.