bto-awards-at-the-mall-galleries

As an example of life getting somewhat back to a new normal, the annual Society of Wildlife Artists’ exhibition opened at The Mall Galleries on Wednesday and closes on Sunday 24 October. It’s well worth a visit.

On Wednesday evening, a slightly nervous group of guests arrived at the exhibition for the annual BTO Awards do – with the Dilys Breeze Medal and five Marsh Awards for Ornithology being awarded. There were quite a lot of people for whom this was their first visit to London in over 18 months and for many of us it felt slightly daring to be with so many other people in a room and not wearing a mask.

The restrictions of the past year meant that it felt like an even bigger treat than usual to be in such company, surrounded by ornithologists, artists and nature conservationists, framed by wonderful artwork and seeing fine people being recognised for their contributions. It was a lovely evening and did feel like a privilege to be invited. Many thanks to the Mall Galleries, the SWLA, the Marsh Charitable trust and the BTO for such a fine event.

The actual event was very well handled. The speeches were short and crisp (which hasn’t always been the case in the past) but said everything that had to be said, and did so very nicely. Juliet Vickery was word-perfect in what she said, and how she said it, no surprises there.

Who were the winners?

Dilys Breeze Medal (for outstanding communication of BTO science to new audiences): Dominic Couzens.

Marsh Award for OrnithologyDr Alison Johnston

Marsh Award for Local OrnithologyVic Fairbrother and Ken Hutchinson

Marsh Award for Innovative OrnithologyWest Midlands Bird Ringing Group

Marsh Award for International OrnithologyProf Lukas Jenni

Marsh Award for Young Ornithologist Sian Mercer.

My congratulations to all those rewarded with awards. Dominic Couzens is a writer of considerable merit and scope – he is one of the good guys who deserves recognition (see a couple of reviews of his work here and here). It’s a slight shame, I feel, that the award is for communication of BTO science rather than communication of science as Dominic is worthy of a less tightly-worded award as well as, clearly, this one.

The West Midlands ringers are a bunch of stars with their promotion of catching birds at night, for ringing, through use of infra-red imaging – it’s clever stuff.

I was very pleased to meet Vic and Ken who wrote a wonderful book on Ring Ousels (reviewed here) and it was good to chat to them each about their work – nice guys.

And there were so many people to catch up with that I hardly looked at the artwork, and missed talking to several people with whom I would have liked a chat. That is back to normal…

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