Birdfair 2018 is supporting the creation of Argentina’s largest national park. Providing a refuge for an estimated million flamingos and shorebirds.
The project ‘Mar Chiquita: a haven for Argentina’s flamingos’, is marking the 30th anniversary of Birdfair. Starting in 1989, Birdfair has helped raise funds, through sponsorship, exhibitor fees and entrance fees, for conservation projects suggested and managed by BirdLife International.
This year I headed over to Rutland Water Nature Reserve and spent the weekend at Birdfair, listening to the ‘Plastic Debate’ with Lizzie Daly, Emma Priestland, Dr Nina O’Hanlon and Rebecca Lynam, I also listened to Nick Baker on ‘ReWilding’ and Anneka Svenska and George Monbiot who spoke on ‘Wolves Returning to the UK’. The ‘ReWilding’ talk helped me acknowledge you can connect with the world that surrounds us by using all our senses.
One of the highlights of the weekend was the talk on the ‘State of Nature’ in the evening. I had the opportunity to meet friends from social media as well as new celebrities; some of which feature above. However leading up to Birdfair I also transformed into Birdfair’s Bird of the Year…
Last year Makeup Mania and I decided to have some fun combining both of our passions, makeup and ornithology, by turning me into Birdfair’s headline bird, for that year’s project, the Rapa Fruit Dove (if you want to see the time-lapse video of this click here). The positive reactions we received were so impressive that we decided to do it again, and so this year I became the Puna Flamingo (a.k.a. James’s Flamingo).
Whilst Birdfair continued to have its normal arrangement of marquees and exhibitors, there was something new this year. The Wild Zone made its appearance for the first time thanks to a grant from the city Toyooka in Japan. This meant that there was now something for the youngest nature lovers to do, attend and engage with. The RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, A Focus on Nature (AFoN) and Pocket Pals gave exercises, for example, sweep netting, willow weaving and painting were accessible. Mini-talks were also on offer from TV stars like Mike Dilger and Jules Howard while authors Edward Giles and Vicky Woodgate read or performed a variety of shows.
A Focus on Nature (AFoN)
A Focus On Nature is the UK’s youth nature network. Aiming to connect, support and inspire young people, aged 16-30, with an interest in nature and conservation; working with other environmental organisations to establish the youth conservation movement.
Pocket Pals aims to engage young people with wildlife with a free-to-play app. It features charismatic virtual animals based on British wildlife. Users will find these animals using mobile GPS and then learn how to identify and classify them. It’s made by young people for young people, in an attempt to make wildlife cool and fun.