Last modified: 31 October 2013
Image: Andy Hay
Do you enjoy the great outdoors? Wildlife? The landscape of the South Downs? The RSPB are calling on all nature enthusiasts, residents and visitors to take part in a photography competition celebrating the beauty and diversity of the South Downs.
In order to help protect the landscape and wildlife of the South Downs and to encourage people to enjoy it in a responsible way, the RSPB has designated the area as an RSPB Futurescape.
Due to pressures from development, climate change, population growth and a push towards agricultural intensification our countryside is at risk of becoming fragmented and our wildlife lost to us.
Futurescapes are the RSPB’s response and a way of promoting increased conservation action on a landscape scale through local communities and partnerships.
To celebrate the South Downs, the RSPB is calling on local people and visitors to take part in a photography competition capturing the landscape, its wildlife and the ways in which people enjoy the area.
The South Downs National Park stretches 100 miles from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in East Sussex. From rolling chalk downs and neat farmland to internationally rare heathland, ancient woodland and exceptional wetlands, there is beauty in every corner of the South Downs National Park.
Rachel Whitfield, South Downs Futurescape Community Engagement Officer, said: “Each of these special spaces plays host to a vast array of plants and animals, uniquely adapted to their habitats, which change from spring to summer, autumn to winter. There is always something to see and enjoy!
“People might think that winter is a barren time for wildlife in the South Downs, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth! Look out for winter flocks of redwings, fieldfares, finches and buntings or keep your eyes peeled for short-eared owls, wintering geese and elusive woodpeckers. On ground level you might pick up the tracks of badgers and foxes.
“If you’re looking for a fun family day out this winter, why not take your camera and go crunching through the frost to see what you can discover together.”
The competition is looking for submissions in four categories (located in and around the South Downs): Landscapes, Wildlife, ‘Urban’ Wildlife and Families Enjoying the South Downs.
The judges will include local and international wildlife photographer David Plummer and local landscape photographer John Dominick.
Not only will you get a chance to showcase your talents but you will also be helping to raise vital funds to Give Nature a Home in the South Downs.
The competition is free to enter, but you’ll be given the option to donate to our practical conservation work through the JustGiving page. By doing this you’ll be helping us to continue working with others to protect this special landscape and its wildlife.
Rachel added: “We need you to help us make the South Downs a success story for our habitats and wildlife. So that in the future stone curlews will flock to raise their chicks on healthy farmland, water voles will be safe to make their homes in our rivers and brooks, butterflies will abound on gloriously preserved chalk grassland and in well-managed woodland, and nightjars will fill the night skies over heathland with their churring calls.”
The competition runs from 28 October to 28 February. To find out more and submit your photos, please visit: www.rspb.org.uk/futurescapes/southdowns.
All submissions will also be posted and available for viewing on the RSPB South Downs Futurescape Flickr photo gallery at www.flickr.com/photos/rspbsouthdowns/.