Run a Hen Harrier Day

Could you run a Hen Harrier Day event? It’s great fun, a good cause and we can support you if needed by talking through your plans or helping to promote your event. If you think it’s something you’d like to do, then contact us for an exploratory chat.

Meanwhile, here are a few pointers to help you.

What are Hen Harrier Days about?

The hen harrier is not only a wonderful bird threatened by illegal persecution, but their plight is reflective of wider unsustainable management of the uplands in some parts of the UK. Hen Harrier Days are certainly about hen harriers, and you may choose to focus on this, but they are also about illegal persecution of other birds of prey, the killing of many other animals, the burning of peatlands and the consequent increased pollution, carbon release and risk of increased flooding downstream. In brief, they seek an end to the unsustainable management of our uplands whether for shooting birds for ‘sport’, or intensive, poor agricultural practices. You may also wish to touch on discussing some of these wider issues at an event.

Hen Harrier Day events are days of both celebration and protest. Celebration of the brilliant wildlife of our uplands and protest that so much of it is destroyed, especially on driven grouse moors. They bring us together and we can support each other in our campaign. They also seek to engage a wider community; our campaign is all about raising public awareness and engagement so that change comes faster because it is backed by a concerned public.

There is no 'one size fits all'

You should run the Hen Harrier Day you want to run. There have been events indoors and out, in the countryside and in towns; the largest had perhaps 1,500 people attending, the smallest, five. We want to encourage a greater diversity of events: town centre stalls, music-based events and art exhibitions, guided walks as well as more ‘traditional’ rallies with speakers. The greater the variety the better.

We’d love to see a few walks or hikes, in the country or in town. We hope events will be family-friendly with lots for children to do and we hope they will be inclusive and appealing to diverse communities.

So, where to start?

Decide what kind of event you want to run and the scale of it. Think if you need any help, and if anyone you know might want to work with you to organise the event. Remember, we really want to encourage new approaches, with broad appeal. So, your most important early decision is deciding on a format and a date. Most events are held in the first fortnight of August ahead of the ‘Inglorious 12th’ when the shooting season begins, but not all are, and venue availability may be one of several considerations. Or you might want to run a stall or an activity at a local event such as a fete or a Christmas fair.

After that, things follow naturally. Decide who your speakers and/or other performers should be, decide what side-events you can organise and so forth. You may need a budget. For many Hen Harrier Days in the past that has been zero! Venues are often free, because the venue wants to support you (a nature reserve, say) or gains trade (a pub, say). But you need to think about everything that may be needed, such as sound equipment, for example.

Hen Harrier Action can help you in many ways.

Many of the volunteers at Hen Harrier Action have previously organised or attended Hen Harrier Days, so we have lots of experience and advice to offer, including resources such as banners, flags, leaflets and posters. If you plan to include talks, we can put you in touch with speakers and other performers too. We’ll also ‘put you on the map’ on our website so that people looking for their nearest Hen Harrier Day will know you are there and about the kind of event you are offering. (You should carefully plan your own local and other marketing too, of course.)

Running a Hen Harrier Day is a fun and rewarding project. If you think it might be something you can do, just contact us and we’ll do all we can to support you and help make your event a success. And if you need financial support, tell us about your plans, and we may be able to help with funding.

Join or support an event

If you’re not thinking of running a Hen Harrier Day yourself, there are many other ways to join in.

You might be:

  • A local artist keen to show your work, or a maker of objects;
  • A singer or a band, or an entertainer in another field;
  • A local ramblers’ or birding group;
  • Someone who could act as a steward, information provider or other helper during the event, or with setting up;
  • A local business or organisation that could help by providing catering, a venue, sponsorship or other support and assistance.

Whatever skills or resources you could contribute to a local Hen Harrier Day event would be very welcome. Please contact us and we’ll put you in touch with the right people.