I asked Ecotricity if they would write a guest blog for me about why and how, as a business, they got involved with helping to protect a magnificent bird of prey, the Hen Harrier. I got involved with raising awareness about Hen Harriers because I just had to help protect them from going extinct as a breeding bird in England. I have, from that point tried to raise lots of awareness though campaigning and volunteering. We need people to have the desire to want to protect the Hen Harrier and understand the suffering that this species has gone through.
So I want to say a huge thank you to Ecotricity for being another much needed voice for the Hen Harrier and for taking the extra step forward in protecting it as a species. I hope more businesses will follow this lead and step up to help our wildlife.
Guest blog by Simon Ashley, Ecotricity Online Manager
and Helen Taylor, Ecotricity Ambassador
It’s a daunting prospect being asked to write a guest post for Wilde About Birds – it’s full of inspiring content and I’m joining some exalted company. I work for Ecotricity a green energy company. We have a vision for a Green Britain –– a place where we all live more sustainable lives and we’ve made room for nature by creating and protecting wildlife habitats.
Energy, Transport, and Food are a big part of this story: together they account for a massive 80% of our personal carbon emissions – by making simple choices about how we get around, where we get our energy from, and what food we choose to eat, we can make a huge difference to the world around us.
I look after our online activity - our website and other bits and pieces. I’m also a bit of an amateur naturalist and I’m at my happiest outside looking for something. It can be anything Slow worms , Glow worms , Birds, Bats, Badgers or other more exotic things when I’m on holiday.
So I was cock-a-hoop when I learnt that we’d got involved with the Hen Harrier project via Finn.
My encounters with Hen Harriers have been pretty limited but all the more special for it. My most memorable was at RSPB’s Otmoor reserve on 1st March 2009. Otmoor is a wetland meadow with extensive reedbeds and it’s a great wintering ground for wildfowl – where there are huge numbers of birds there are predators and Hen Harriers are right at the top of the foodchain.
My bird list for the day says there was a red kite –and fantastic though they are that’s not what I came to see. It took an hour or so of watching before I finally got to see the hen harrier, a female, flying low just above the reeds. Quartering backwards and forwards. She got really quite close, within just a few meters. I watched her for about an hour, no sky dance or food-pass for me - just the beauty of a wild space and this graceful apex predator hunting on its territory.
I’m going to let my colleague Helen Taylor take over from here.
Hi, I’m Helen, the organiser of our first ever Ecotricity Young Green Briton Debating Competition which was held at WOMAD
Our competition winners, aged between 11 – 16 years old, took to the stage, supported by their mentors, to speak about their vision for a Green Britain, and what we can all do to help achieve this, across the subjects of Energy, Transport, Food and Nature. Finn was the youngest competition winner and debater, at 13 years old, representing Nature, of course. I can’t tell you how moving it was to hear all our young speakers - we were hugely proud of Finn and his powerful take on us all needing to take responsibility for the world around us. We’ve kept in touch ever since.
As a result, Ecotricity is supporting the Hen Harrier project - a RSPB- run initiative designed to track the movements and activity of hen harrier chicks. We’re funding a satellite tag to enable the tracking of a chick – to help identify how they can be protected longer-term. Finn tells us that the final count for breeding pairs in England this year was 6 pairs, but would have been so many more if the 5 males hadn't "disappeared" – this is still a long way off the 300 pairs that there should be.
The chicks will be born in April/May time – so we’ll keep everyone posted. If other companies are also interested in joining us to protect the Hen Harrier, that would be amazing.
We clearly should do all we can to support Finn’s hugely inspirational campaigning work to raise awareness of the plight of the Hen Harrier….
We also look forward to all witnessing a Skydance with Finn in 2016!