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April 2004
Putting wildlife in the picture

Top wildlife snapper, Chris Packham, is backing a new photographic competition organised by The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds , encouraging everyone to appreciate Cumbria's wonderful farmland wildlife.


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In the UK, the numbers of farmland birds such as skylarks, lapwings, corn buntings and yellow-hammers have declined during the past three decades.

The RSPB hopes that new government funding for wildlife-friendly farming will provide land managers with an opportunity to enhance the countryside for wildlife and improve the fortunes of birds.


The RSPB's 'Countryside Alive' competition is free and open to all.

The deadline for entries is 1 November 2004. Details of the competition, including full rules and entry form, are available on the RSPB's website or 'phone 01767 680551.

Every photograph must be accompanied by an entry form, and sent to 'Countryside Alive', The RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL.

The RSPB reminds participants to follow the Countryside Code at all times, obey wildlife law and never disturb birds at the nest. Click here to find out about the Countryside Code

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The theme of the RSPB's 'Countryside Alive' photographic competition is farmland wildlife and The RSPB is inviting snappers from north-west England to submit images that celebrate the huge variety of farmed landscapes to be found in the region.

Many birds make their homes in our fields and hedgerows - bullfinches, tree sparrows, whitethroats and many more. A host of other wildlife, including endangered butterflies, moths, small mammals and rare plants also rely on farmland for their survival.

Chris Packham
Chris Packham and a friend

Launching the competition, Chris Packham, who will also help judge the entries, said: "It is vital that we focus attention on farmland birds and take positive steps to help them. The RSPB's 'Countryside Alive' photographic competition is a great opportunity for photographers to capture the beauty of birds and reflect on current issues in the countryside."

Dr Sue Armstrong-Brown, the RSPB's Head of Agriculture Policy, added: "The countryside is full of inspiring images of birds, wildlife, and the people who protect and care for them. 'Countryside Alive' is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our relationship with nature, what it means to us and how our future is intertwined with the future of our farmed countryside."

Competition entries are invited in one of three categories for a chance of winning £200 worth of photography/optical equipment:

Bird portraits - wild birds of the fields and hedgerows
The countryside alive - wildlife in the farming landscape
The modern face of farming - farming challenges for the next generation

In addition, professional photographers and under-18s are welcome to enter photographs under any of these themes, and will be judged separately.

The winning professional entrant will receive £200 in photography/optical equipment; and the winning entrant under 18 years will receive a Nikon 2200 digital camera.

UK prize winners could have their work exhibited in Brussels as part of a Europe-wide effort to raise awareness about sustainable farming.

quote The RSPB's 'Countryside Alive' photographic competition is a great opportunity for photographers to capture the beauty of birdsquote
Chris Packham

The RSPB's partner organisations in the BirdLife International network will run simultaneous photographic competitions across Europe. The top photos from participating countries will be shown in Brussels in June 2005 at events for European politicians and opinion-makers.

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