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Game Conservancy Trust hosts the launch of 2002 United Kingdom conservation stamp

by John Wells

The 2002 annual Game Fair, hosted as usual by the Countryside Landowners Association (CLA) took place last July in the beautiful surroundings of Broadlands, Romsey in Hampshire, the historic and stately home of Lord and Lady Romsey, formerly the home of Lord Romsey’s grandfather, Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

The Broadlands estate embraces farming, forestry, fishing and parkland, while the imposing mansion, which stands on the bank of the River Test, was remodeled under the directions of the 2nd Viscount Palmerston who enlisted the services of Lancelot “Capability” Brown to rebuild the house and redesign the grounds; this work was undertaken between 1767 and 1779.

As usual the occasion incorporated the Champagne Reception in the presence of Teresa Dent, Chief Executive of the Game Conservancy Trust, to launch the 2002 United Kingdom conservation stamp, the twelfth to be issued by the Wildlife Habitat Trust. The Trust was established in 1986 by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, but operates independently and is dedicated to the acquisition, creation and management of all types of wildlife habitat. The launch of this year’s stamp however, also supports the Game Conservancy Trust and its work in protecting the declining grey partridge, the subject of this year’s stamp.

The stamp which features a pair of grey partridge in their natural habitat of rough grass with added protection from flowering wild brambles, was painted by the well known British wildlife artist Terance James Bond. The stamp is also available in a minisheet pane of six with a very colorful surrounding border of farmland birds such as the yellowhammer, corn bunting and tree sparrow. These birds have all been identified on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, a conservation plan currently in operation in Britain.

As with so many species of wildlife, the grey partridge has been in decline for a number of years, mainly due to modern farming methods where the use of various pesticides to protect crops has meant that very little insect food for the young is available. However, since partridges also nest near hedges, bushes, grass banks and ditches, moorland and heaths, perhaps these have a greater chance of survival. An unusual feature of the partridge is that they roost together in groups facing outward in order to watch for predators.

About the artist: Terance James Bond attributes his passion for natural history to his childhood upbringing on his parents’ farm in Suffolk, but as can be seen from his many works of art, he was obviously born with a natural talent. Thankfully, Terance gave up a position in engineering design to pursue a full time career as an ornithological artist. As a result, some thirty years on, he has given great pleasure to many art lovers with over twenty exhibitions (all complete sell-outs) in the U.S. and Great Britain. Terance’s future plans, together with wife Jill, is to create a ten acre wildlife habitat around his home.

The 2003 event will take place from August 1-3, in the grounds of the Harewood House, Harewood, Yorkshire, owned by David and Diane Lacelles. The Harewood Estate manages approximately 4000 acres of the beautiful West Yorkshire countryside on which many activities take place, such as farming, forestry, game and wildlife conservation. A significant feature is the Bird Garden where 120 different species of exotic birds can be seen.

As with this year’s occasion, a special International Visitors Reception will welcome overseas visitors from every corner of the globe, so make a note of the date and make the trip to Harewood which is about 200 miles north of central London but can easily be reached by road, train or air.

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