Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Hen Harrier Day 2015

above the Dale of Goyt

Hen Harrier Day 2015
9th August

In an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of, and protest against, the illegal killing of Hen Harriers largely on Grouse Moors in England, HHD, in just 2 years, has become a rallying and renewing day. A day to set people fuming again but also to inspire and empower them

Watch the video: HHD2015

More of a weekend than a day (pitched in August to clash with the (in)Glorious 12th when certain people (I’m being very restrained, aren't I) take guns and go and blast the life out of lots of Red Grouse who never did them any harm
There's one thing more needing mention
The ghosts in the grey skies above
The heather-brown harriers floating
The loss of these birds that we love 
(a Calling-on Song for Hen Harriers)

banners in Pavilion Gardens
(I ended up running around too much to take many photos so will start with these few and hope to add more....anyone got some to recommend?)

I have been involved in both of the Peak District HHDs. This year my wonderful friend Susan Cross and I recited poems as part of an evening entertainment on Saturday night - c300 folk in the Palace Hotel! Exciting speakers: Mark Avery, Mark Cocker, Chris Packham, Jeremy Deller - and us! Thanks to the RSPB for an inspiring presentation and the Wilde family for strong young voices and magnificent constructions. There was almost too much going on to capture the moments: an evening of richness on all sorts of levels and unexpected generosities - Jeremy Deller being stampeded when he offered to print and sign pieces of work there and then. I don't think anyone anticipated a bigger queue for Jeremy's work than for the bar!

our Harriers were evocative if not exactly accurate

Susan and I offered a poetic introduction to the Peak District with the Calling-on Song for Hen Harriers quoted here and extracts from Gawain and the Green Knight as a poem that evokes our rocky landscapes and the value of the noble quest - in the original Middle English. My tongue is still relishing   
rughe knokled knarrez with knorned stonez

On Sunday, while some 500 people were gathering the Goyt Valley, Sarah Males and I were down in Buxton's Pavilion Gardens as part of the "what is all this?" team - making finger puppet hen harriers, talking to people, raising awareness…..There was also a "thunderclap tweet" on Sunday morning: 5.7 million tweets

This isn't a campaigning blog and the unfolding of these issues could spin on over days….

Harrier country
Find out more:

Act: sign the e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting if nothing else

Act again: if you are feeling motivated, aggravated and possibly angry, why not write 
  • to your local MP - what is being done to protect such precious animals and their associated habitats
  • to your Local and County Councillors - are they supporting or endorsing Grouse Moors and alleged continued illegal management practices?
  • to local landowners - you do hope, most sincerely, that they are not supporting such practices and that there are more ecologically sensible ways of working with the land
  • If local landowners are titled, and have seats in the House of Lords, write to them there, copy in your MP. 
Act even more: stir things up and keep the cauldron simmering

Act even more than that: talk to people

Hen Harrier country is also good for bumblebees
And then: just get out there and look, listen, touch and sniff: enjoy the landscapes around us - our active appreciation is important - remind yourself that we live in a world worth celebrating - and fighting for

Explore and support: there are T-shirts to buy (and wear), mugs to drink out of, badges to emblazon your lapels with - visit some of the links on this post, or spread your fine long wings and go gliding across the web-worldThere are too many people to thank for the heroic work that put these events together but thanks to all of them anyway! 

And take a look at Birders Against Wildlife Crime!

Coming soon:
a set of posts with our various Hen Harrier activities: finger puppets, origami, flags, kites, standards, and skydancer mobiles

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