‘Eyes in the Field’ Wildlife Crime Conference, Buxton, Derbyshire

Saturday 21st March 2015


On the 21st March 2015 we hosted our first ‘Eyes in the Field’ Wildlife Crime conference.

Sold out within weeks of announcing the date, the conference attracted over 100 delegates from the New Forest to Scotland and Norfolk to Northern Ireland who listened to a wide selection of speakers explaining what we can all do to help tackle wildlife crime.

We are currently writing a full report on the conference, but in advance of that we wanted to give you a flavour of #BAWC15, in the words of the people who attended.

If you have something you would like to contribute, please e-mail Phil Walton at



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Delegates, speakers, and a 6′ Hen Harrier promoting Hen Harrier Day 2015

The conference was a success for many reasons, but undoubtedly our line-up of speakers (some are pictured above) helped! In alphabetical order our line-up was as follows:

(For more details and speaker biographies please go to Speakers ‘Eyes in the Field’ 2015).

A link for your photos :


Links to some very good blogs on the conference by the four young activists who won free tickets to ‘Eyes in the Field’ – on the condition they wrote about it afterwards (and they did – brilliantly!):

Georgia Locock:The wildlife you see whilst out and about is without a doubt our real national treasure. These species were here a long time before us or any of our man-made national treasure and this is an important reason why we need to preserve them and stop them suffering due to wildlife crime.”

Findlay Wilde:Last Saturday I had an early start for the Eyes in the Field Wildlife Conference, which I was granted special invitation tickets to attend. The conference was the BAWC’s (Birders Against Wildlife Crime) first ever wildlife crime conference, and certainly my first conference where a number of individuals and NGOs have united to talk specifically about wildlife crime in terms of what is happening and what can be done.”

Zach Haynes:Hi all today’s Day 139 and before I start today’s post I just wanted to say I’m sorry that I didn’t do a post last night. The reason for this was, I was at a Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC for short) conference. This was an amazing conference so much so that I have decided to write a post on it.”

Sophie Bagshaw:Saturday 21 March was the first BAWC conference in Buxton, as most of you are aware.  120 tickets sold out and this many people in the hotel gave the atmosphere a real buzz.  It lasted from 9 till 6 with breaks and a veggie lunch between.  I was one of the four sponsored youngsters who managed to get a ticket, along with Zach, Georgia and Findley. I was really thrilled to be chosen and I bet the others were too.” 



  • Jon Thurnell-Read – ‘Afterthoughts’:

    The #BAWC15 “Eyes In The Field” conference was a fantastic success. 

    Chris and MalcomThe positives and forward thinking outweighed the real horrors of persecution from today and the past. For so many likeminded, dedicated, passionate people, to travel across the country, to be in the same room with the sole focus to protect our wildlife, it really was a special occasion.

    This firm foundation, to cascade the key messages from the conference in Buxton to the wider public, is now in place. This includes Mark Avery’s battle cry to “get over it” and use social media to connect with the 98%; Chris Packham’s call to empower people; the plans for this year’s Hen Harrier Day (early plug Sunday 9th August).

    During our 240 mile drive home to the New Forest from the stunning Peak District, we counted almost 50 birds of prey. This got me thinking; what is our most powerful resource? Is it the reach of social media.  Is it David Lindo’s national bird vote, with Hen Harriers getting coverage across BBC radio?  Is it household names such as Chris Packham’s well publicised commitment to wildlife crime both here and in Malta?

    The answer is no, it’s none of these.  It’s the birds themselves; the Osprey nest cams of Loch Garten, Rutland and Dyfi; the success of Peregrines in towns and cities across the country; the Red Kite observation stations.  We are lucky enough to have these flagship species that can, and do, get people excited.  They can inspire members of the public to view wildlife crime and persecution as the real problem that it is.  

    So with further and continued cooperation between organisations, #BAWC15’s message can get to a larger audience that are becoming more engaged with species such as birds of prey and badgers.  

    It will mean there are more ‘eyes in the field’.



In their own words:

For the full ‘vox pops’ podcast these excerpts were taken from please click below:


Sponsorship was very important to us, and we’d like to thank all our sponsors.

Thanks to a donation from the RSPB we were able to lower delegate ticket prices. A donation from the League Against Cruel Sports will be used to produce and disseminate information from the conference ‘post event’. We’re also very grateful to both and Steve Mills and Hilary Koll of and the team at Rare Bird Alert for their support which has enabled us to provide additional refreshments to all delegates – some of the excellent coffee we enjoyed coming via another sponsor Cafeology!

    • The League Against Cruel Sports is the only animal welfare organisation dedicated to exposing and ending cruelty to animals in the name of sport. Established in 1924, its campaigns cover hunting, shooting, snaring, dog fighting – and more. It is a registered charity and 100% reliant on the support of the public to campaign for real change for animals.
    • The RSPB is the country’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 also play a leading role in a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.
    • BirdWING (Birdwatching in Northern Greece) was set up by Steve Mills and Hilary Koll to raise awareness of birds in Greece and to raise money for the conservation and restoration of bird habitat in the region. Birdwing has supporters from all over the world.
    • Established in 1991 Rare Bird Alert is the longest running instant birdnews service in the UK. Our team of experienced and dedicated birders check and send reports as soon as they break, sixteen hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
    • Cafeology is an exclusively ethical company specialising in the supply of the very finest ethical beverages. They will be providing their Bird Friendly Coffee direct from Guatemala at the conference.



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