Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust campaign nominated for prestigious award

PUBLISHED: 15:01 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:01 30 January 2018

Bewick's swans (c) WWT

Bewick's swans (c) WWT

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WWT is crossing its fingers as voting gets underway to select the winners of the BBC Countryfile Magazine awards 2018

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust’s Flight of the Swans has been nominated for ‘conservation success of the year’ by the popular publication which celebrates British countryside and its people.

Their readers were invited to send in their suggestions and an expert panel whittled down the nominees to just five in each category.

Voting to select a victor will run until Monday, March 5.

WWT’s very own human swan Sacha Dench said: “We’re delighted to make the shortlist! Although Flight of the Swans was ambitious in its scale, we never dreamed that we’d reach so many people across so many countries.

Sacha Dench (c) Angharad BarlowSacha Dench (c) Angharad Barlow

“From reindeer breeders and politicians, we met with countless people face-to-face, engaged with 54 schools, gathered 15,000 signatures for our petition and produced 1700 media articles along the flyway.

“A win in this category would be brilliant for WWT and all our partners. It would also add to the weight of our campaign and our ongoing efforts to unlock the secrets of the Bewick’s swan.”

Sacha, 42, flew 7000km on a paramotor - and an open cockpit microlight for extra speed - from the Bewick’s swans’ breeding ground in arctic Russia to WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire.

She braved ice cold temperatures, polar bears, injury, thunderstorms and snow to provide a birds eye view of the challenges facing the continent’s smallest and most threatened swan species.

Sacha Dench (c) Angharad BarlowSacha Dench (c) Angharad Barlow

The magazine’s expert panel comprises Countryfile presenter John Craven, BBC presenter and naturalist Miranda Krestovnikoff, author and adventurer Phoebe Smith, author and rural affairs journalist Mark Rowe, Sheena Harvey, BBC Wildlife Magazine editor and BBC Countryfile Magazine editor Fergus Collins.

Judge Phoebe Smith added: “The BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards are so important. There’s nothing else like them to highlight the incredible landmarks, nature reserves, national parks and conservation initiatives so often overlooked but that really make a difference to our lives.

“It’s great to give credit to the well-known places and organisations - as well as getting chance to champion the underdogs that we personally know and love so well. Every single finalist should know they had an ardent supporter among us and well deserve their spot in the shortlist.”

Voting is open now until Monday March 5. Click here to have your say.

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