Birdfair 2016 raises £350,000 for conservation projects

Simon King speaks at Birdfair 2016. EMN-160819-165326009

Simon King speaks at Birdfair 2016. EMN-160819-165326009

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The organisers of Rutland’s hugely popular Birdfair event are celebrating another record year which has seen around £350,000 raised for conservation projects.

The event, dubbed ‘Glastonbury for birdwatchers’, took place at Rutland Water between Friday and Sunday, and attracted wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world.

Around 23,000 people are thought to have attended this year to listen to fascinating talks, browse hundreds of stalls, learn more about wildlife and meet some of the biggest names in conservation – including TV stars Simon King, Chris Packham and Nigel Marven.

Prior to this year’s event, Birdfair had already raised nearly £4 million for global conservation projects.

Co-founder and organiser Tim Appleton said: “In the 28 years Birdfest has been running this was by far the best – everything ran so smoothly.

“The weather was very kind to us – there was a brief spell of rain on Friday, but that meant visitors flooded into the marquees and spent lots of money.”

Proceeds from this year’s event will be spent on conservation projects in Madagascar– home to rare birds, lemurs and frogs.

Tim added: “We will be supporting a forest there and also spending £100,000 training young Africans in forest management. In 10, 15 or 20 years time they’ll be the decision makers in the country and a background in conservation and forest management will be really beneficial.

“It’s amazing that an event in a small field in Rutland can achieve so much all over the world. Not only have we raised £4 million, but we believe that funding has helped trigger around £40 million of additional funding from big stakeholders.”