Photography News | Issue 35 | absolutephoto.com
The Birdfair at RutlandWater is the world’s biggest wildlife event and it takes place on 19-21 August. With talks and a huge number of exhibitors, from photographic and binocular companies to holiday providers and tourism boards, it attracts wildlife enthusiasts from all over the UK and beyond. Book your tickets now and join the fun Birdfair 2016
Taking place on the shores of Rutland Water the Birdfair attracts bird andwildlife enthusiasts in huge numbers – over 24,000 visitors attend every year. With hundreds of exhibitors, including many from the world of imaging, the show offers visitors the chance to catch up with all that’s new and exciting in the world of wildlife. In the case of the camera and optics companies there is the hands-on opportunity to try equipment on the local wildlife. There is also a long list of events and lectures for enthusiasts to enjoy too, hosted by Birdfair regulars Chris Packham, Simon King, Mike Dilger, Nick
Baker, among many others. With six event locations, all running full lecture programmes throughout the Birdfair’s duration, there is something for everyone to get excited about. The Birdfair encompasses the whole spectrum of the birdwatching industry whilst at the same time supporting global bird conservation. Over £4million has been raised by the Birdfair over the years and in 2016 the focus is on the Tsitongambarika forest on the island of Madagascar.
TimAppletonMBE is the co-organiser of the Birdfair and Photography News managed to catch up with him during the busy run-up to this year’s show TimAppletonMBE “28 years ago the world’s first-ever Birdfair was held at Rutland Water Nature Reserve situated in the heart of the English countryside.
Peru, Colombia, Guatemala, North America, India, Taiwan, Australia, China, Madagascar and South Africa to name but a few. Each country has created its own flavour, bringing local cultures and people together for the Birdfair. “Finding the right conservation organisation to manage the monies raised by Birdfair fell to BirdLife International. With more than 120 partners across the world, it is perfectly placed to select a range of projects for Birdfair to consider supporting and then once the selection process is complete put the project into action. “Birdfair has raised the profile of conservationincountriesasfarapart as Peru, Myanmar, Madagascar and Poland. Birdfair has funded several major BirdLife International three-year programmes including the Flyways and the Preventing Extinctions Programme. “Birdfair is a great challenge as we rely very heavily on good will and help from our huge team of volunteers. On average more than 6500 hours are worked by volunteers before, during and then clearingupafter the fair.We estimate they save us almost £80,000 in ‘free labour’ so we love our volunteers who undertake a range of tasks from parking cars to collecting rubbish and manning lecture theatres. “My dreams for the Birdfair all those years ago have more than exceeded my initial expectations, because together we can and will make a difference.”
“My initial aims of the Birdfair were threefold. Firstly to bring enthusiasts together to share their experiences, secondly to be the shop window for the growing birdwatching industry and thirdly to support a conservation project of global importance. “All those aims have been achieved. Close to 25,000 visitors attend the Birdfair each year, major wildlife products such as optical equipment, books, are launched to the public at the event and more than £4 million has been raised for conservation projects. “This year, exhibitors at Birdfair represent more than 75 countries, many of them promoting sustainable wildlife holidays, thus making Birdfair the most important world ecotourism venue. BirdLife Internationalhasusedmoniesraised at Birdfair to seed vital conservation projects and a conservative estimate suggests a further £35 million has resulted from our funds. “The Birdfair’s success has been followed across the globe as country after country has begun to set up their own Birdfairs. “Initially the first Birdfairs away from Rutland were held in Europe but as more and more visitors from further afield realised the potential of a fair in their own country so the growth began. Now Birdfairs have been held in Argentina, Brazil,
Tickets are available via the website for single day £13.50 or £31.50 for three days. Discounted tickets are available until 5pm on 17 August. After this time, tickets will be the same price as on the gate. Birdfair tickets on the gate cost £15 for a single day and £35 for three days. Entry for children under 16 is free and they must be accompanied by an adult ticket holder (two children per adult).
Birdfair's co-organiser TimAppleton MBE (left) with well-known birder and TV personality Bill Oddie.
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