The first BBC Countryfile Live was held at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire recently and was deemed a great success by all who attended, including the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust. With reportedly over 125,000 visitors, sunny weather and plenty of attractions from the BBC programme meant it was a hit.
Located in the ‘Gamekeeping and conservation area’ of the site, the GWCT was delighted to be a part of the large National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO) stand with Sparsholt College, Newton Rigg College, Bright Seeds and the National Game Dealers Association. Being at the event under the same roof demonstrated how the organisations work together.
Ian Coghill, Chairman of Trustees at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust said; “This was a new event for everyone, and gave us the opportunity to meet a potentially different audience compared to the game and country fairs we have attended over the course of the summer. It was a chance for us to chat to visitors to the stand about who we are and the work we do. In addition, being with the NGO, the colleges and Bright Seeds meant we presented all facets of wildlife conservation and gamekeeping; from education to practical wildlife management, from advisory services to butchery demonstrations. We were delighted to recruited a number of new members.”
Tim Weston, The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation Development Officer and the organiser of the Gamekeeping and Conservation area said - "Many of those who attended the show had never met a gamekeeper and when the show organisers asked the NGO to put together the Gamekeeping and Conservation area we jumped at the chance to speak to a new audience. We had full time professional gamekeepers from Cumbria to Kent on our stand and all stops in between to explain the link between keepering and conservation. Not only did we have people to talk to there was game butchery, trapping and conservation crops on show. We feel that we left the show having done a lot of good to promote and protect gamekeeping."
In the last of the year’s large seasonal shows and game fairs, the GWCT once again invited visitors to have their say on the proposed reintroduction of the lynx, continuing a poll which has been running at all of the events it has attended this year. The issue has continued to polarise and the attendees at Countryfile Live were no different, with the majority of those who voted choosing the ‘yes, if managed’ option.
Ian Coghill continued; “With this year being the first time there were a number of English game fairs rather than one there was a certain amount of expectation surrounding each event we attended. However, the success of Countryfile Live has confirmed that it has indeed been a great summer for the GWCT and we look forward to next year.”
Notes to editors
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.
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