Vote to save nature
Will you help us save the hen harrier?
Despite it being one of our most threatened birds of prey, most people have never even heard of a hen harrier. We now have the chance to change that by helping these birds to gain national media attention.
However to do this, we need YOUR help.
All it takes is a few moments of your time to vote for Skydancer, a very special project that has reached the final in this year’s National Lottery Awards in the Best Education project category. If we win the award, the project will be given national exposure at a BBC-televised award ceremony in September.
The competition is fierce, so every vote counts. Please make sure to vote using your own personal email address, and encourage your family, friends, and colleagues to do the same. TIP: if you are a facebook user – like our facebook page (www.facebook.com/rspbgravesend) and add a comment against this posting that you have voted for the Skydancer project and spread the word amongst your non-RSPB friends and family!
Hen harrier conservation
A four-year RSPB project named after the male’s stunning aerobatic courtship display, Skydancer aims to raise awareness and promote the conservation of hen harriers across the North of England. There should be at least 300 pairs of hen harriers breeding in the English uplands but this year, there are only three confirmed nests in the whole country. We’re so concerned about them that all of these nests are under 24/7 surveillance and protection.
The problem is that many of the moorland areas where hen harriers like to nest are managed intensively for driven grouse shooting. As big birds of prey, hen harriers occasionally eat red grouse, leading some moorland shoot managers to illegally kill or disturb the harriers to protect their stock. Unless this stops, hen harriers will never recover. There are hen harriers elsewhere in the UK, and they are doing well in Wales and parts of Northern and Western Scotland where management is less intensive. However, in Southern and Eastern Scotland they face similar issues and are showing the same worrying decline. Hen harriers travel widely, so anything that affects them in one part of the UK is likely to affect them all.
As hen harriers tend to spend their time on remote moors, few people are aware of them or their plight. Consequently, a key part of Skydancer is to educate and inspire people about these magnificent birds. Since the project began in late 2011, the team have been working hard, delivering hen harrier talks to more than 2,000 people across Northern England and running assemblies, workshops, and field trips with more than 1,500 school pupils. They have even run workshops with over 100 game-keeping and countryside management students and held over 800 conversations at county shows and game fairs.
The project recently launched the Hen Harrier Hero Awards, designed to encourage children, families and schools across the UK to find out more about the birds and spread the word. Last year, Skydancer also put on its own show, The Hen Harrier Carnival Event, at The Alnwick Garden attended by over 3,500 people.
This is a worthwhile project, making a valuable contribution to saving nature. Public voting for the National Lottery Awards opens today and runs until 23 July. Please remember to use your own personal email address when you vote.
For more information about the Skydancer project, visit www.rspb.org.uk/skydancer.