The polar has claimed the top spot as the threatened species most in need of our help in a recent national vote by school children.
Schools across the UK took part in the RSPB’s Vote for Nature, casting more than 2000 votes over the week 3-7 May 2010.
The wildlife charity invited schools to introduce their pupils to a fun, informal voting system with its Vote for Nature project which proved hugely popular with all who took part.
The RSPB selected five iconic species - the albatross, bumblebee, polar bear, sand eel and Sumatran tiger – all at the heart of the RSPB's conservation work – and asked schools to spend an hour learning about why these species are important, the threats they face, what can be done to help and then take part in a simple voting activity to determine which ones children thought needed the greatest help.
The Sumatran tiger came second, closely followed by the bumblebee in third place. Fourth was the albatross and finally the sand eel was placed fifth.
Teacher Nicola Yexley of Whitehill Junior School in Hitchin said: “We thought it would be a great activity for the children to get involved in. It has a great link with our habitats topic which we’re currently doing with year 3 and 4. We’ve been looking at the conservation of species and their impact on the environment so it was a great opportunity for the children to research five key species.”
Andy Simpson, RSPB Head of youth and education, said “It’s encouraging to see that although on first look many children were rooting for the magnificent Sumatran tiger and polar bear, by the end of the project their opinions had begun to change. Although still the most popular species, there were very few votes between first, second and third place. This suggests the children understood that more humble species like the bumblebee – which they can see in their own back gardens – play an equally important role in maintaining a healthy environment and need our support to ensure their survival.
Inspiring children through nature is a key part of our Letter to the Future campaign. We want governments to make a greater commitment to ensure every child has regular, quality, firsthand experiences of the natural environment. To date more than 215 000 people have signed the letter demonstrating their support for the campaign. Please add your name if you haven't already.
Photograph copyright David McHugh
If you were anywhere near the Houses of Parliament yesterday, you may have found yourself questioning your sanity – you were sure an albatross, bumblebee and tiger had just strolled past you...
...Worry not, it wasn’t the onset of sun stroke, merely the RSPB taking its biggest ever campaign to the door of Number 10 Downing Street.
Over 213,000 people have now signed Letter to the Future and I had the pleasure of accompanying my furry friends to Westminster to help prove just how many people are calling in better investment in nature ahead of the emergency budget scheduled for next month.
The three species, representative of the broad spectrum of work the RSPB undertakes, were taking time out to be photographed with two young children, Cherry, 11 and Rosie, 13, collectively calling for better investment in nature.
The animals and children were then accompanied by Martin Harper, Head of Sustainable Development, and Karen Rothwell, Director of Marketing, to deliver a letter outlining the ongoing Letter to the Future campaign messages to Downing Street.
Martin said: “The severity of the economic crisis is clear and an emergency budget is less than a month away. Yet this must be the parliament which takes decisive action to tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
“We are calling for an Emergency Budget that invests in nature today, to create a bright future for wildlife, a more stable economy and a richer quality of life for us all.”
The RSPB isn’t arguing against the need to cut the economic deficit, we simply believe that the Government should be doing all it can to address the ecological debt.
We need more signatures to demonstrate the growing support for investment in nature, more people to recruit as members and more people to campaign with us.
It would be fantastic to be able to say, this autumn, that a quarter of a million people have signed the RSPB’s Letter to the Future. And, who knows 300 000 by the spring 2011 budget and devolved elections? Dare we dream for more?
Please, if you haven’t already, take the time to add your signature here
Photograph copyright David McHugh
Cast members of the smash hit West End musical Oliver! have added their support to the RSPB’s Letter to the Future campaign. Bill Sykes, Nancy, Fagin, Dodger and Oliver joined together to demonstrate their desire for a future rich in wildlife. In signing the letter, the cast join over 210 000 supporters calling on politicians to consider the health of the planet when making tough decisions about where to invest and where to make public spending cuts.
Cast list:Fagin – Tim LaurentiNancy – Kerry EllisSykes – Steven HartleyOliver – Edward CookeDodger – Callum Henderson
Help us save nature and learn more about the campaign by signing the RSPB's Letter to the Future.