Hen Harrier Day – some ‘thank you’s

Hen-Harrier-Day-300pxI was thanked a lot on Saturday, Sunday and subsequently for organising the Hen Harrier Day event in the Peak District. It really didn’t take much organising – it took a bit of nerve though!

Here is a run-through of the roles of organisations and individuals in making Hen Harrier Day happen.  Some people’s roles have been omitted at their own request, either because they are too modest to want any credit or because they don’t want their bosses to know how much they helped.

Most of this list is related to the Peak District event, because that’s where I was most closely involved, but it can’t be said enough that Birders Against Wildlife Crime (in the shape of Alan Tilmouth) organised the Northumbria event,  and BAWC attempted to arrange some other events in Yorkshire and Cumbria but these weren’t in the end possible (maybe next year?), the Northwest raptor Protection Group organised the event in the Forest of Bowland and some bloke on Twitter called @ashleywatts3 (I’m guessing he’s called Ashley Watts, myself) organised the event in Dorset.

Charlie Moores of BAWC has worked tirelessly (although I think he did get a bit tired actually) producing podcasts, writing blogs and other text, tweeting and generally has been a driving force for Hen Harrier Day. And he’s been incredibly supportive to me at times when I have needed the equivalent of a ‘hug’ over the phone.

Chris Packham and his team (including Ruth, Gerry, Jez, Adam, Nick) promoted the day, designed a T-shirt, attended and filmed proceedings, arranged and did media interviews, added over 100,000 Twitter followers to the thunderclap (@chrisgpackham) and Chris made a perfect speech on the day.  Also, only a few people will know, by definition, that Chris was almost the last person to leave the site – he stopped and talked to everyone who wanted a word with him, or an argument, or a photograph. Big thanks to him and his team.

Anthony Roberts of BAWC designed the exquisite logo for Hen Harrier Day (@zedanthony).

Aurellio33, also known as Chris, for writing the Hen Harrier Day song that accompanies the video of the day.

The RSPB set up the HHDay thunderclap (which reached 2.3m people), added their Twitter account to it, promoted Hen Harrier Day and sent four staff (officially) to the Peak District event.

The Wildlife Trusts also supported Hen Harrier Day, added their many individual trust Twitter accounts to the thunderclap, were noticeable on the day with many banners and placards from the Derbyshire WT and Sheffield WT but also the England Director of the Wildlife Trusts, Stephen Trotter, was there in person too.

The Hawk and Owl Trust attended the event with a banner, staff and their Chair, Philip Merricks.

The National Trust gave their moral support to the day but did not, disappointingly, add their Twitter account to the thunderclap – and that would have made a huge difference in social outreach.

The Peak District National Park were helpful in the planning of the event, and facilitated advice on choosing the best location for it.  They gave moral support to the event and their rangers on the ground, on the day, were part of the event. It’s a shame that the Chief Exec of the PDNP, Jim Dixon, was seen by many to disparage the event, an event against wildlife crime in his National Park (and our National Park), in a personal capacity, in an article in The Times the day before the event.

Severn Trent, who own the site where the event took place, needed a bit of nudging before they came to terms with the fact that it was going to happen but were very jolly about it all on the day. I guess torrential rain is a good day for a water company!

The Wilde family (Harley, Findlay, Heather and Nigel) brought the 6-foot tall ‘Harry the harrier’ on the day and it became a focal part of proceedings. Harry and the Wilde family will be appearing at the Bird Fair over the weekend!

A big thank you to Barry Gardiner (and Caroline) for attending the event as the only MP to come to a Hen Harrier Day event – as far as I know.  Please take the message back to Labour that tackling wildlife crime should be a manifesto issue and an election issue.

The Green Party of England and Wales supported Hen Harrier Day and added their Twitter account to the thunderclap – many thanks!

Two Twitter accounts, @irinagreenvoice and @themoceanvibe, each added over 150,000 Twitter followers to the thunderclap.

The League Against Cruel Sports supported the day and added their Twitter account to the thunderclap.

Lush promoted Hen Harrier Day in their shops, and much else about Hen Harriers besides, and added their Twitter account to the thunderclap.

Birdwatch magazine promoted the day and the issues in their August issue.  Dominic Mitchell has been a great support on this subject and I’m glad I write a monthly column for them.

Rare Bird Alert has also promoted the day incredibly well – thank you to them – and it was good to have a chat with Brian Egan on the day too.

Raptor Persecution Scotland attended the day and is the best, in my opinion, source of news and comment on raptor persecution issues on the internet.

I’ve sent out a lot of emails to thank people for their help and will be sending out more for days to come but in case I forget you – thank you!  And there may well be people or organisations who I should be thanking here – point them out if you spot ones I’ve missed (there are bound to be some).

Pictures and videos of the day can be found here.

And lastly, I’d like to mention moorland owners, managers and gamekeepers who made it all necessary.  There was at least one person convicted of a wildlife crime present at the event, and the Director of the Moorland Association seemed to be filming the whole thing too.  I hope they take the message back that we are serious – and we will win!

E-petition to ban driven grouse shooting has passed 14,000 signatures.


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9 Replies to “Hen Harrier Day – some ‘thank you’s”

  1. Yes a big well done to each and every one of them yourself included of course as you seem to be able to connect everything together and push things forward.
    Such a lot of work and organisation deserves any rewards that come from these meetings.Guess just a year ago no one could have envisaged such a happening.

  2. Thank you and well done to everyone a great achievement.Only sorry due to the failures of our vehicle we didn't make it to Lambley Viaduct in time, but we were there in spirit with you all.

  3. Don't forget to thank those who have come out to defend grouse shooting, using debunked arguments, and a level of denial that makes Monty Python's Black Knight worthy of a directorship at the moorland association.

    The more they say, the bigger the hole they dig for themselves.

    Let's keep them talking!

  4. Mark - thanks for your very kind words (and, hey, what are friends for). This was indeed a monumental team effort and every one of us should be very proud of what we've started with Hen Harrier Day and how we've raised awareness of wildlife crime. And I really do mean every one of us: those of us behind the scenes as well as those brave souls who gave two fingers to Bertha and made it to those rain-sodden events (though 'she' seemed to have swept through Radipole before anyone was awake judging by the photos).
    Tired? I'm sure we all are, but that'll pass and just watch us roar next time around!
    Thanks again everyone - we couldn't have achieved anything without you.

  5. It was (and continues to be) a brilliant effort by you and many others. After all the work I've done monitoring, protecting and promoting Hen Harriers over the years, I was very much looking forward to being there on the day and chatting to so many like-minded people. Unfortunately I was misinformed about what was happening so I didn't turn up until everyone had gone, but hopefully I'll be present at future events.

  6. Well done to everybody and let's hope that the momentum continues. I was in the Chester branch of Lush today, and the lovely ladies behind the tills were actively encouraging all their customers to sign the postcards to the Queen and were extremely enthusiastic and positive about the campaign. They told me they have had a couple of hundred postcards every day!

  7. Mark Avery - in my opinion, source of news and comment on raptor persecution issues on the internet is the best!! Your opinion not others. Lack of practical involvement on the land stands out all the time. No news from around the world and especially Europe where many of our birds migrate. It is called Scotland for a reason to concentrate on incidents in that country. Not the time to divide interested web sites when you need all the support you can get for your e petition.


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