WWT is crossing its fingers as voting gets underway to select the winners of the BBC Countryfile Magazine awards 2018.
The charity’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.
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.
“From reindeer breeders and politicians, we met with countless people face-to-face, engaged with 54 schools, gathered 1 5,000 signatures for our petition and produced 1700 media articles along the route.
“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.
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.”
The Short List
Holiday Destination of the Year 2018
Forest of Bowland
Isle of Wight
Pub of the Year 2018
The Old Forge, Knoydart, Lochaber
The Fox House, Longshaw, South Yorkshire
The Rugglestone Inn, Widecombe in the Moor, Devon
The Lock Keeper, Keynsham, Somerset
Square and Compass, Worth Matravers, Dorset
Beach of the Year 2018
Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris
Downhill Beach, County Derry
Nature Reserve of the Year 2018
RSPB Ham Wall, Somerset
Rodley NNR, Leeds
RSPB Arne, Dorset
Clara Vale, Tyne and Wear
Loch Druidibeg, South Uist
Landmark of the Year 2018
The Dark Hedges, County Antrim
High Force, County Durham
Minack Theatre, Cornwall
Callanish Stones, Isle of Lewis
Castell Dinas Bran, Denbighshire
Conservation Success of the Year 2018
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR)
Isles of Scilly Seabird Recovery Project
Great British Beach Clean
The Highway England Mitigation Project
The Flight of the Swans (WWT)
Garden of the Year 2018
Bodnant Garden, Conwy
Coleton Fishacre, Devon
Rousham Gardens, Oxfordshire
Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall
Mount Stewart, County Down
Country Book of the Year 2018
The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris
Islander by Patrick Barkham
The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young
Beyond Spring by Matthew Oates
The Wainwrights in Colour by Andy Beck
National Park of the Year 2018
Reader Photo of the Year 2018
Green and Granite by Robert Derrington
Model Subject by Andrew Fletcher
Cloud Cover by Chris Garner
Lively Light by Chris Mole
Tidal Mirror by Ashley Hemsley
Golden Feed by Helen Brassington
Stone Trove by Dave Mason
Time for Tea by Ray Hutchinson
Milling Around by Christopher Hill
Beyond the Bridge by John Dear
Stormy Spire by Chris Mole
Voracious Vole by Iain Fazackerley