By Gillian Kenny, communications and fundraising manager
GWCT staff enjoyed a very successful stint at the annual celebration of all things rural at this year’s BBC Countryfile Live last week (3rd – 6th August).
We shared our (often packed) tent with the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation and Bright Seeds which meant that a wide variety of people popped in to look at our displays and chat to our advisors about various game and conservation issues.
Due to the large audience BBC Countryfile Live appeals to, it was a very useful opportunity for GWCT to showcase our activities and explain our research to people who may not always be affected by countryside matters.
The theme of our shared tent this year was ‘predator control’ which GWCT staff were heartened to find the public were very interested in and receptive to. We conducted a poll about predator control in the context of curlew conservation and were pleased to see that many members of the public listened to us talk about our research findings and the need to act to protect curlew and responded ‘yes’ to the question ‘Should predator control form part of a curlew recovery plan?’
Staff were also delighted to join with members of the public in trying some of the very tasty venison, wild boar sausages, pheasant and pigeon, all of which was grilled by NGO members.
GWCT’s director in Scotland, Adam Smith, took part in a debate on whether trees should replace shooting and sheep in Britain’s uplands which was a particular highlight of our time there.
The debate was chaired by TV presenter Charlotte Smith and Adam was joined in the debate by Martin Harper, director of conservation at RSPB, Beccy Speight, chief executive officer from Woodland Trust, and John Davies, NFU Cymru deputy president. All parties engaged eloquently with the topic and discussed the various issues from their own particular viewpoints in a good-humoured way and then took questions from the crowd. The debate attracted a lot of interest in the National Trust Theatre.