Skydancer Day 2024 will broadcast live on Saturday 4th May from RSPB Insh Marshes

RSPB Insh Marshes, in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, home to some exciting rewilding and environmental projects, will be the location for Hen Harrier Action’s Skydancer Day live YouTube broadcast on Saturday 4th May at 11.00am. Save the date!

 You’ll get the chance to hear the latest about the family of Eurasian Beavers released onto the River Spey in the nature reserve, the third beaver release site in the Cairngorms National Park. And find out more about the ambitious landscape-scale rewilding going on at Trees for Life’s Dundreggan Rewilding Centre.

Enjoy hearing about these exciting wildlife projects and many others in a packed live broadcast with your hosts George Hassall (Green Fingered George), marine biologist and TV presenter Christina Sinclair, and wildlife artist and Natural History Museum researcher Lauren Cook.

Meet Your Hosts

Lauren Cook is a freelance wildlife artist and animator specialising in science communication, and a PhD Researcher based at the Natural History Museum. She produces stop-motion animations to raise awareness for conservation issues.

She presented on Hen Harrier Action’s Autumn Live! series, sharing her tips for sketching wildlife in Windsor Great Park.

Marine biologist Christina Sinclair, also a presenter on 8 Out of 10 Bats, has a background as an assistant producer, presenter and editor on numerous wildlife and environmental programmes including Our Frozen Planet, Back from the Brink and How to Become a Nature Detective.

Originally from Manchester, George is now studying Environmental Science at the University of Stirling. Aged 8, George won RHS Young School Gardener of the Year, and later he became the first RHS Young Ambassador, sharing his love of gardening and the natural world. Wildlife obsessed, George appeared on the ‘8 Out of 10 Bats’ online nature series.

Discover the story of Bowland Beth told through music, dance and poetry

Watch the tragic story of Bowland Beth, a young Hen Harrier fledged on the moors of Bowland and illegally shot in the Yorkshire Dales, beautifully told through the medium of dance.

A collaboration between choreographer Catherine Seymour, filmmaker David Lefeber, and Royal Ballet School trained dancer Zoe Arshamian, with original music by Rob Godman and inspired by the poem ‘Bowland Beth’ from renowned poet David Harsent, the film is shot entirely in the Forest of Bowland AONB.

The film represents Beth, as portrayed in Harsent’s poem from his collection, ‘Fire Songs’ (2014) and Godman’s score. ‘Bowland Beth’ follows a woman walking alone up into the hills. As she walks, she moves deeper into Beth’s elemental world of high moorland, wind and sky. She revels in the freedom of the landscape, in the pleasure of her body moving, in all that she can see and hear.

Encountering Beth’s spirit in the unique landscape, the sense of threat grows and becomes inescapable as Arshamian dances the bird’s untimely end as described in Harsent’s poem. Godman’s haunting soundscore is built from readings of the poem and the natural sounds from Bowland.

Learn more about the Eurasian Beaver release programme at Insh Marshes

Juvenile Eurasian Beaver being released at Insh Marshes

Join live guest Thijs Claes, the Warden at RSPB Insh Marshes, to hear the latest news on the Eurasian Beaver release programme at the reserve, how these iconic creatures are settling in and the benefits they will bring to the landscape and the rare and protected species found at Insh.

This initiative is part of a programme to return beavers to the Cairngorms National Park for the first time in around 400 years. By changing and re-naturalising the landscape around them, beavers can help combat climate change and boost biodiversity.

Karen Birkby, RSPB Scotland’s Site Manager for Insh Marshes, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support the efforts to return beavers to the Cairngorms National Park by being one of the first release sites.

Seeing beavers return is a major moment for the nature reserve and will help us achieve the long-term vision of restoring the river Spey and floodplain for nature and people.”

See landscape-scale rewilding in action at Dundreggan Rewilding Centre

Trees for Life is a rewilding charity based in Scotland, committed to creating large-scale environmental change in the Scottish Highlands. Focused on restoring the once-extensive Caledonian forest, the charity’s vision includes the rejuvenation of entire ecosystems. Their efforts aim to foster biodiversity and encourage the natural processes that sustain life in our ancient woodlands.

The charity plans to engage a larger, more diverse audience with the natural and cultural heritage of the Highlands through the new Dundreggan Rewilding Centre, a world-class, environmentally sensitive facility that will serve as a gateway to the wider landscape.

CEO Steve Micklewright tells us more about the charity’s extraordinary vision for rewilding the Scottish Highlands through their ambitious projects at Dundreggan and Glen Affric.


Trees for Life's Dundreggan Rewilding Centre

Stunning new footage of Hen Harriers in Scotland from Richard Birchett

Richard Birchett is a published and award-winning wildlife photographer from Cornwall, now based in Ontario, Canada for the next four years. He has worked with BBC Wildlife Magazine, Springwatch, Countryfile and The Wildlife Trusts, and is the UK and Canada Ambassador for Nature First, an alliance promoting ethical wildlife photography.

A finalist in many prominent photography competitions, he won the League Against Cruel Sports Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2021. He has a popular YouTube channel where he showcases ethical wildlife and nature photography and film, fieldcraft techniques and exploring new places.

His favourite subjects to photograph and film are raptors, including owls, eagles and harriers – species he has been fascinated by since childhood.

Wildlife photographer Richard Birchett

Recently, ahead of moving to Canada, he spent time in the Cairngorms National Park and on the Isle of Mull where he captured some of the most thrilling and captivating film of Hen Harriers that we have ever seen.

We are privileged to be able to share Richard’s new film with you here on Skydancer Day.

You can check out some of his other films on his YouTube channel here:

Richard Birchett on YouTube

And you can see more examples of his stunning photography here:

Richard Birchett Photography

Richard Birchett's Film of Hen Harriers in Scotland

Award-winning author Gill Lewis launches the 2024 Young Wild Writers Competition

Children's Author Gill Lewis with some of her books

Each year, Hen Harrier Action hosts a popular competition to find the UK’s best Young Wild Writers. This year’s competition will be launched live on Skydancer Day by author Gill Lewis, when you can find out about the theme for your creative writing and the prizes on offer.

There are three categories:
– Young 6-8 Years
– Junior 9-12 Years
– Senior 13-16 Years

As Gill puts it, “Words have the power to change hearts and minds; they inform, engage, enrage and empower people. Young voices calling for change need to be heard. The future ecologists, town planners, politicians, and scientists must have the natural world at the core of all their decision making”.

You can find details of all last year’s winners here and admire the exceptional creative writing of their winning entries on our website here.

Other Events

People out on a moorland walk
August 12th 2023
Megan McCubbin and Indy Kiemel Greene hosting Skydancer Day
May 7th 2023
August 1st 2021