RSPB press release – Art of Saving Species exhibition

Springwatch’s Gillian Burke has guest-curated a collection of pieces for the Art of Saving Species exhibition which launches online today.

There are few people who would claim Monday mornings are their favourite time of the week but with little to look forward to on weekends the gloomy winter dark mornings are even harder to bear. This inspirational gallery of artworks of UK species the Back from the Brink programme has been working to save from extinction is the perfect antidote to Monday morning blues.

Over the last three years the National Lottery-funded Back from the Brink project has made incredible progress protecting the UK’s most endangered species, such as Willow Tits, Ladybird Spiders and Lesser Butterfly Orchids. The State of Nature report revealed that 15% of UK species were at risk of extinction, and so a project like this is vital in trying to reverse that threat.

To celebrate the success of Back from the Brink, the Art of Saving Species gallery showcases beautiful wildlife artwork created by artists and communities local to our project sites. Ghostly blue and white cyanotypes of sand dune flora, fragile porcelain moulds of flowers, music inspired by the songs of Field Crickets; the exhibition encompasses a range of artistic techniques and species.

Gillian Burke, who has curated a selection of her favourite pieces produced by the project, says;

‘The Art of Saving Species exhibition showcases the synergy between the creative arts and natural history. Back from the Brink has encouraged this outpouring of artistic expression and this is a powerful way for anyone to cement and deepen their relationship with nature, as well as to interpret and respond to the threats it faces’

Back from the Brink had originally planned a traveling exhibition of artworks that would visit galleries, museums and cultural sites around the country, but in the light of the pandemic were determined to make sure the public could still enjoy the inspiring artwork and reimagined the display as an online experience curated by a series of notable figures. Gillian’s selection of artworks will be followed by a collection curated by Chair of Natural England, Tony Juniper.

Tony Juniper says ‘Growing support for the restoring of the natural world requires that we go beyond science and to embrace culture, including the links between the natural world and artistic expression. The Art of Saving Species online exhibition is a vivid demonstration of how we can do this.

Creating art is a powerful way for anyone to connect with Nature, as well as to understand and communicate the threats and pressures bearing down on species and ecosystems today.’

Back from the Brink, a collaboration of eight conservation organisations working together to save England’s most endangered species from extinction, has seen numerous successes over the last three years, including the reintroduction of the Chequered Skipper, extinct in England since 1976; capturing the first ever video footage of a Pine Marten in Northumberland; and successfully translocating threatened Field Crickets to new sites. Artwork inspired by all these projects and more will displayed on their online gallery.

Back from the Brink’s Jack Plumb says ‘During the pandemic it has been obvious that people’s wellbeing has been enhanced by engaging more closely with local wildlife and natural spaces, as well as rediscovering their love of arts and crafts. We hope the Art of Saving Species inspires more people to get creative as we weather the third lockdown’

A YouGov survey commissioned by the RSPB in January showed that since the onset of the pandemic, about half of the UK population (51%) said that they had become increasingly aware of the nature and wildlife that was around them and (42%) had shared their experience with family and friends.

The Art of Saving Species exhibition can be viewed at

If you have been inspired into creativity by nature, we would love to see the result. Tweet us at @naturebftb and we will share our favourites.