The Cameron Bespolka Trust partnered with the Homeless Children’s Foundation and sponsored 11 homeless children in “ Florida” to attend a Nature Camp during March Spring Break.
These children live in homeless shelters, cars, motels and bounce from house to house. The most recent data that was released in 2016 reported 265 homeless children in Indian River County.
This camp was held in the first National Wildlife Reserve in the USA, namely Pelican Island. Children hiked and learned about the history of the national wildlife reserve. The Reserve is home to over 140 species of birds and they were fortunate enough to see and identify 39 species during their week. They also saw 42 alligators, 2 sharks, several dolphins, made camp fires and kayaked in the lagoon.
“Spring Break is a difficult week for parents because they cannot afford a camp or babysitter. This camp offers these children an opportunity to be outside and enjoy many activities. We are so grateful for this incredible opportunity” says Hannah Trodglen, Executive Director of the Homeless Children’s Foundation.
Together with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, we are delighted to have set up a group of young people, aged 13 - 17, who share a love of nature, called the Young Naturalists.
Under the excellent supervision of Tracy Standish, this group meets every last Sunday of the month at their Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve in Ringwood, on the edge of the New Forest. Sessions include practical conservation and habitat management, species surveys and monitoring, learning from local wildlife expert(s) and more. Our hope is that over the next 4 years, this group will grow and offer exciting new opportunities which amongst other things, will include a summer school, traineeships and accredited learning programmes.
We were delighted to have recently received an award of Highly Recommended in the Young People category by the CPRE (The Campaign to Protect Rural England). This award recognises schemes which celebrate a beautiful, diverse and living countryside that everyone can value and enjoy.
You can read about what The Young Naturalists have been doing every month by going to Blashford Lakes blog
Dawn Chorus Follow this link for details of the dawn chorus session
For more information contact Tracy Standish on 01425 472760 or email Tracy.Standish@hiwwt.org.uk
“I enjoy wildlife and nature and want to look after it. When I first heard about the Young Naturalists, I thought it looked like a fun way to be involved.”
Click on the links below to find out more about the exciting activities the Young Naturalist group got up to during their residential weekend in Beaulieu.
After the success of Bird Camp 2016 (Max's Young Birder's Blog) , the Cameron Bespolka Trust are delighted to be partnering with the BTO once again to deliver the BTO Bird Camp 2017 from 26th - 28th May.
We are extremely excited to be hosting this year’s weekend at the end of May and have 24 extremely keen and knowledgeable young birders joining us. We are also delighted that Amy, Ben and Max (who attended last year will rejoining us as volunteers. Their insight and help will be invaluable and a wonderful way for the new younger teenagers to listen and learn from their peers.
This three-day weekend at the BTO’s beautiful headquarters in Thetford, Norfolk aims to provide keen young birdwatchers and naturalists with the opportunity to develop their skills, see new places, meet new like-minded people and gather ideas about future careers. It's a residential event which includes talks, walks, workshops and informal chats and hands-on sessions on ringing and nest recording, bird surveys, bird ID and much more.
"Thank you very much. It was an amazing experience and it's so great to have met so many young birders - it has quite literally changed my life!"
Cameron Bespolka Award 2017
An important element of the Bird Photographer of the Year competition ethos is the encouragement and recognition of the younger generation of birders and photographers. The Cameron Bespolka Trust Young Bird Photographer of the Year Award is designed to meet this aim, an award specifically for those under 18.
There are also second and third place prizes of £200 and £100 respectively. Prizes will be awarded by Chris Packham at the Rutland Birdfair in August 2017.
And it’s not just about the prizes but recognition for your work too. The winners will be featured in the Bird Photographer of the Year book published by Harper Collins and marketed around the world. The images will also be displayed in an exhibition at Kew Gardens to run from September 2017 to January 2018.
The 2017 competition is now closed but start taking some photos to enter for the 2018 competition. Entries for this will be open after the awards ceremony during Bird Fair next summer 18th - 20th August.
For more information and to see the final short list that has just been selected for this year, please visit: http://youngbpoty16.picturk.com
Winners will be announced during Bird Fair 18th - 20th August.
Sponsorship to Attend Cornell University Ornithology Event
6th - 9th July 2017
Every summer Cornell Lab of Ornithology hosts a four day Young Birders Event. This highly over-subscribed opportunity is from 6th - 9th July, 2017 and brings Young Birders together who have a passion for birds and who are interested in pursuing a career with birds. The participants will meet people who have successful careers that involve birds in a variety of ways from ornithological researchers, tour leaders, computer scientists to audio specialists as well as have an opportunity to discuss bird trends.
This programme is held at Cornell University in Ithaca, near New York.
Every year we will sponsor one birder from the UK to attend this event. This year we received some truly amazing applications from a dedicated, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and passionate group of young birders. It was extremely hard to choose only one person for the scholarship. But after much deliberation, we are thrilled to announce that our final choice was Max Hellicar from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, whose extreme knowledge and dedication shone through. We were so impressed by how many hours he has volunteered and his willingness to report and share his information with others. Fantastic job Max and so well deserved. Thank you to everyone who submitted an application.
Last year's recipient, Amy Hall, wrote an in-depth report of her event. It is clear to see what an impression this trip has made on her. Click here to read her report
"Being chosen for this trip meant a lot to me - I was massively supported by the Cameron Bespolka Trust and the BTO before I left.”
Amy Hall, Winner of the Cornell Scholarship
Please check out Amy's blog for her monthly updates on all sorts of interesting nature related topics.
Florida's Birding and Photo Fest
St. Augustine, Florida
Florida's Birding and Photo Fest in St. Augustine, Florida, takes place in April every year. The Cooper, Dahlstrom and Schnyder families have so kindly sponsored a Young Birders Photography category in Cameron’s memory.
This year’s event was another excellent display of birding and outdoor photography. Some amazing photos again and some truly beautiful and striking birding moments captured by some very talented young birders. Congratulations to all the 2017 Young Bird Photography entrants.
Below are the photos that were shortlisted:
The two photos below were selected as our winners for their outstanding composition, light and originality.
In first place, was Colin Shephard with the Great Egret.
In second place was Ralphi Oakley with the Brown Pelican.
Congratulations to both of them for outstanding bird photography skills.
“I am honoured to have my photo selected as the winner of this year’s contest! Being able to connect to nature through photography is an amazing experience. I hope this photo and the others submitted will inspire others to pursue photography, while appreciating all the beauty that nature provides”
“The Cameron Bespolka Photography Award for Young Birders gave me the confidence to pursue my passionate dream of becoming a photographer. It gave me the beginning of a journey that has lead to many life changing opportunities both photographically and personally. I hope my journey will never end and it all started by winning this special award”.
Well done Colin and Ralphi. Thank you to everyone who submitted entries and we look forward to many more next year.
Save the date for next year’s event 18th - 22nd April, 2018.
We are working on creating a residential place to offer children and teenagers a safe place to pursue educational activities.