RSPB celebrates 130 Years (1889 - 2019)

The RSPB was formed in 1889 to counter the trade of bird feathers for women's hats in the late Victorian era - 130 years on, the organisation is still working tirelessly through research, partnerships, landscape conservation and policy work to help species recovery.

Read more about RSPB’s history here

Read more about RSPB’s mission here

Formed in 1953, the RSPB Film Unit is the oldest professional wildlife filmmaking organisation in the UK. Since this time the unit has collaborated with many legendary camera operators Hugh Miles, Mike Richards, Ian McCarthy and John Aitchison to name just a few.

Mark got his first wildlife camera break with the Film Unit based at RSPB HQ in Sandy, Bedfordshire - he shares more details below:

Question: What is your connection to the RSPB Film Unit?

I worked for the RSPB on a couple of placements pre-2000 during my university holidays. The Film Unit were extremely welcoming and I was lucky enough to assist the in-house cameraman at the time on some projects on the Isle of Coll and the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides where we were filming white-tailed sea eagles.

RSPB are still tracking white-tailed sea eagles in Scotland - click here to read more

Question: How did RSPB’s emphasis on conservation help shape your attitude towards the environment and wildlife?

Whilst at university, Blue Planet (2001) was broadcast and it formed the backbone case study to my dissertation: Why do environmental issues tend to be avoided in BBC blue chip wildlife documentaries? I’m so pleased that 16 years later the Blue Planet II team focused on conservation of the oceans leading to the well documented Blue Planet effect. At last a positive response born out of the bravery to expose issues such as plastic pollution head on. The call to action has got peoples attention and I feel like we are more engaged than ever before - hopefully it is not too little too late, and there is still time to turn things around for our beautiful blue planet.

Question: Which RSPB reserves do you feel especially passionate about and why?

I now live in Selsey, West Sussex - a little fishing village right on the coast sandwiched between RSPB Pagham Harbour and RSPB Medmerry. Up until 2011 Medmerry was low-lying farmland and hundreds of nearby houses (mine included) were under constant threat of flooding. The Environment Agency’s solution was to create the largest flood risk management scheme of its kind ever undertaken in Britain - what they have achieved alongside RSPB is incredible

Read more about RSPB Medmerry here

Read more about RSPB Pagham Harbour here

 Mark filming with wildlife presenter and RSPB President Miranda Krestovnikoff

Mark filming with wildlife presenter and RSPB President Miranda Krestovnikoff