I joined BASC at the beginning of a very busy summer period and was able to get stuck in straight away. Within weeks I had delivered training for wildlife crime officers, collaborated with British Shooting, met with young farmers groups, visited educational establishments and assisted with the Let’s Learn Moor project which was a huge success.
The legacy funded project, Let’s Learn Moor, involved 1,400 children who were introduced to and educated by more than 30 partner organisations including regional moorland groups and their gamekeepers, conservation groups, National Park and AONB authorities, water utility companies, the emergency services and farmers. Ambitious plans are afoot to expand this project even further for 2020 with a £37,000 boost provided recently.
One of my personal highlights from my first 100 days was being involved with Countryfile Live. In addition to their main event at Blenheim Palace, this year, a second show in the ‘north’ was held at Castle Howard. While I enjoy interacting with likeminded visitors at the traditional country fairs, Countryfile Live gave me the opportunity to engage with a completely different demographic, which is essentially what my role is based around.
I think there is a misconception that people who are not directly pro-shooting are antis and automatically labelled as such. From my experience of interacting with thousands of people at Countryfile Live, this is simply not the case. I found that people were cautious but intrigued by our educational stands and willingly participated with activities such as pigeon plucking, game cookery, screen printing and shooting on our simulator.
As we gather speed through the shooting season, I will be working with our regional teams to deliver pathway events such as novice and introduction days. These types of events are a great way of introducing newcomers to a variety of sporting disciplines while being in a supportive and safe environment. Tying in with the academic year, I have lots of scheduled visits to schools, colleges and universities to chat with a variety of students about land and wildlife management, game cookery and to introduce them to shooting sports.