R utland water is now 41 years old having been constructed in the mid seventies primarily to provide good clean drinking water to homes in the east of England. T im Appleton was appointed manger to oversea the design and construction of the nature reserve in 1975 and has been manager ever since! The reserve is now recognised as the most important inland site for water birds in Britain with up to 25000 birds at peak winter times. The reserve is situated in the heart of England making it very accessible to wildlife enthusiasts from all over .
Up to 80000 visitors are recorded annually . In 1989 T im conceived an idea to create an event especially for the growing numbers of Birdwatchers in the U.K., this event was to become the now world famous Birdfair . The idea of the Birdfair was three fold, firstly to bring enthusiasts together, secondly to be a shop window for the commercial side of birdwatching and thirdly to support a conservation project through Birdlife International.
All these aims have been achieved way beyond our initial expectations. 22000 visitors come during the three days of the fair, all new m a j o r p r o d u c t s s u c h a s b i n o c u l a r s, b o o k s, t e l e s c o p e s a r e launched at the fair and more that 4 million pounds has been donated to global conservation projects. Perhaps one of the most exciting spinof fs from the Birdfair has been the rise in other Birdfair’s and related festivals from across the world.
Fairs have been held in Ar gentina, Peru, Colombia, North America, Europe, Africa, China, T aiwan, Australia and more. Each fair has its own theme and cultural story to tell but most importantly each Fair brings like minded people together and to introduce new comers to this popular pastime. Birdfair has become the most important fair for the eco tourism industry and in 2016, 80 dif ferent countries exhibited promoting the wildlife of their respective countries. Each year many of the W ildlife celebrities from Film and TV support the event giving lectures and taking part in events to entertain the visitors. Four lecture theatres run simultaneously of fering up to 180 dif ferent subjects and in 2016, more than 15800 people listened to a 20 minute long talk.
So Birdfair has sent a strong message across the globe to support our depleting wildlife, the only way we can stop the destruction of habitats, wildlife is by working together and Birdfair and its partners around our world clearly demonstrates we are doing just that !