“We’re back in the days of the mass trespass on Kinder Scout,” says Chris Packham at OWPG Golden Eagle Award presentation.

“We’re back in the days of the mass trespass on Kinder Scout,” says Chris Packham at OWPG Golden Eagle Award presentation.

Chris Packham has declared himself determined to step up his campaigning after receiving the OWPG Golden Eagle Award for distinguished services to the outdoors. The naturalist, author, wildlife photographer and presenter was given the award during a presentation made by guild chair Peter Gillman and his wife Leni, guild meetings secretary.

In a brief presentation speech, Peter said that the guild members had selected Chris for the award as someone who has been in the vanguard of boosting public awareness of vital environmental issues. He has become an outspoken champion of causes such as opposing badger culling, fox-hunting, driven grouse shooting, the slaughter of migrating birds on Malta and the illegal persecution of raptors. He has done so in the face of powerful opposition and has been courageous in using his own high public profile to take a stand on a range of vital issues.

Peter commented: “We admire Chris for his strength and determination, and for his willingness to put his head above the parapet on causes we hold dear.”

Chris used the presentation to reinforce his commitment to environmental campaigning. “We’re back to the days of the mass trespass on Kinder Scout,” he said. “We’ve got to make people listen. Everyone out there needs to empower themselves. We’ve got to get up and make a difference.”

Chris is working with Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton, with the aim of creating strategic alliances across the environmental sector. The pair hope to bring NGOs together so that they act in a more unified way.

He comments: “I’m trying to be the umbrella, get them into a room together and show them that there is a commonality”.

The Golden Eagle Award presentation took place at Kensington Town Hall, where Chris was fronting an evening devoted to wildlife travel and photography in tandem with Paul Goldstein of Exodus Travel. The award consisted of an original watercolour painting by guild member David Bellamy.

Chris said he was “flattered and honoured” to receive the award, and that the guild had been “very kind” to him. He also admired the David Bellamy watercolour – an evocative painting of Clougha Pike in the Forest of Bowland, with a hen-harrier gliding just below the summit to highlight Chris’s work combatting the illegal harrying of these birds.

“I’m very impressed and very grateful – it’ll look great on the wall,” he added.