Today sees the official launch of a Doric Poetry Competition to celebrate meadows, their wildlife and what they mean to people through verse.
The competition is being run by RSPB Scotland as part of the Save our Magnificent Meadows project, supported thanks to National Lottery players.
Roddy Hamilton is RSPB Scotland's Meadows Outreach Officer. He said: "The Meadows Doric Poetry Competition is one of the many exciting events happening this year to celebrate the final year of our participation in Save our Magnificent Meadows. I would like to encourage Doric speakers of all ages to set pen to paper and help us celebrate meadows and their amazing wildlife."
There will be three age-group categories in the competition - 11 and under, 12 to 18, and 19 and over - and each entrant can submit a maximum of three previously unpublished poems between 24 April and midnight on 30 May.
The entries will be judged anonymously and first, second and third-place prizes awarded for each age-group category. The winners and first two runners up in each category will also be invited to perform their poems at the Meadows Celebration at Loch of Strathbeg on 2 July. The event, which is on National Meadows Day, will be full of family activities, music, poetry and storytelling all aimed at celebrating meadows and the links with north east culture.
The esteemed judging panel for the competition is made up of Jean McKinnon, Les Wheeler and Robbie Shepherd. Jean is a founder member of the Buchan Heritage Society and former editor of Heirskip magazine; Les Wheeler is a research associate with Aberdeen University's Elphinstone Institute and joint editor of the Elphinstone Kist. And Robbie Shepherd is a Scottish broadcaster and author, known for presenting shows on BBC Radio Scotland and for writing a column in Doric for the Press and Journal.
Robbie said: "I'm afa pleased to be associated with RSPB Scotland's Meadows Doric Poetry competition and the Save Our Magnificent Meadows project. It's appropriate to celebrate Doric in a way that links directly to our cultural history and unique landscape. I am lookin forrit to seein a large number of high quality poems."
RSPB Scotland is encouraging anyone looking for inspiration to take a wander along the trails at the Loch of Strathbeg nature reserve or join one of their meadows guided walks this spring.
The wildflower meadows that this competition celebrates have suffered catastrophic declines, with more than 97% being lost across the UK since World War Two. This has had knock on effects for the bees, butterflies and other wildlife that rely on them too.
Save Our Magnificent Meadows is the UK's largest partnership project transforming the fortunes of vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife. Led by Plantlife, the partnership is made up of 11 organisations, including RSPB Scotland and is primarily funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. At Loch of Strathbeg, RSPB Scotland are using specialist cutting equipment and grazing by konik ponies to restore 22 ha of fen meadow along with running lots of fun family activities throughout the spring and summer to celebrate meadows.
For more information about the competition and events visit rspb.org.uk/lochofstrathbeg or facebook.com/RSPBNorthEastScotland,email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01346 532017.
1. Nearly 7.5 million acres of wildflower meadow have been lost and they are still being destroyed.
Save our Magnificent Meadows is:
· Targeting 74,000 acres of wildflower meadows and grasslands in nine strategic landscapes across the UK, including at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg.
· Giving people all over the UK the chance to visit, enjoy and learn about our wildflower meadows and grasslands.
· Raising awareness of the desperate plight of our wildflower meadows and grasslands and equipping communities with the knowledge and skills to reverse this devastating trend.
The Save Our Magnificent Meadows project partnership consists of 11 Organisations:
Cotswolds Conservation Board
Medway Valley Countryside Partnership
Northumberland Wildlife Trust
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Scotland and Wiltshire
Scottish Wildlife Trust
Somerset Wildlife Trust
Ulster Wildlife Trust
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
2. RSPB Scotland is part of the RSPB, the UK's largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.
3. Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery