The Octavia Hill Awards are organised by the National Trust, the Wild Network and BBC Countryfile Magazine and celebrate people who work to protect and enhance green spaces for wildlife and local communities. This year, we have been looking for heroes who have helped children and young adults connect with the outdoors and wildlife – passing on their own experience, enthusiasm and love of nature. As many studies have shown, such connections with nature (even, or especially, in towns and cities) are essential for our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
Sometimes, to reconnect with nature, we need help or inspiration from mentors, teachers and others. That’s why we want to celebrate the people who have made a real difference to the youngsters around them – helping to inspire a life-long love of the outdoors and wildlife.
Back in May we asked for your nominations in three categories: volunteer wild hero, professional wild hero and wild organisation.
We received a record of nearly 300 nominations and, after a tough and extended judging session, our expert panel of David Bond (Project Wild Thing), Matthew Oates (National Trust), Jess French (zoologist) and Fergus Collins (BBC Countryfile Magazine) whittled the nominations down to a shortlist of five in each category. All the judges agreed that the standard of entries and the sheer number of people doing excellent work across the country was outstanding – and very heartening.
VOTING IS NOW CLOSED.
The winners will be presented with a special award and have their work featured in BBC Countryfile Magazine and the Wild Network.
Voting began at midday on Wednesday 13 August and closed midday Sunday 31 August.
Click here to see the VOLUNTEER WILD HERO category shortlist
Click here to see the PROFESSIONAL WILD HERO category shortlist
Click here to see the WILD ORGANISATION category shortlist