On 16th September we celebrated WWT’s 75th year and the completion of our Slimbridge 2020 project with a special event.
75 years ago WWT was just an idea in the mind of founder, Sir Peter Scott. Slimbridge was the first WWT wetland centre to open in 1946 covering 1000 acres of exhibits and internationally important wetlands. Over 250,000 visitors a year visit Slimbridge to connect with nature and it's the heart of WWT’s pioneering conservation breeding work.
In 2016 WWT received £4.5m National Lottery Heritage Funding towards a £6m project to continue this work in memory of Sir Peter Scott. WWT have now completed 8 new exhibits at Slimbridge including the Living Wetland Theatre & Waterscapes Aviary - the largest exhibit, dedicated to engaging visitors in wetland conservation.
Guests came along to the official opening ceremony in the Living Wetland Theatre and watched a bird demonstration with ‘Sprout’ the pink-backed pelican which showcases how birds are adapted to the wetlands they live in. The talk and free flight demonstration was followed by speeches from Slimbridge’s General Manager, Gary Haseley-Nejrup, Chair of WWT, Barnaby Briggs, WWT Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Peberdy and London & South Director at National Lottery Heritage Fund, Stuart McLeod. Guests then enjoyed nibbles, drinks and cake and were invited to immerse themselves within the new Waterscapes Aviary.
Photo credit: Paul Nicholls Photography
General Manager, Gary Haseley-Nejrup said
The official completion of our Slimbridge 2020 project and celebration of WWT’s 75th anniversary was a huge success! It was so exciting to be able to share our unique new Living Wetland Theatre and Waterscapes Aviary with the people that made it possible – our stakeholders and supporters. It was also a fantastic opportunity for guests to have private viewings of our other Slimbridge 2020 exhibits including Mission Possible, Scott House Museum and the fully accessible Estuary Tower. These ground-breaking exhibits allow you to explore the incredible life and work of our founder Sir Peter Scott and allows everyone to get closer to nature. A huge thank you to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, grants, trusts, supporters - and of course our hard working staff, for transforming Slimbridge. What better way to mark our 75th year!