Local photographers’ pictures to feature in charity calendar
A smiling frog captured by ten-year-old JacobDumigan, from Lisburn, has been chosen to grace the front cover of Ulster Wildlife’s 2022 calendar, which is on sale now to help raise vital funds to reverse the decline of nature in Northern Ireland.
His picture sits alongside eleven other stunning local photographs, including a hummingbird hawk-moth snapped by Alan Woods from Hillsborough, all showcasing the much-loved creatures that we can share our gardens with, if we ‘let nature in’, from beaming blue tits to beautiful butterflies.
Jacob and Alan entered their pictures as part of the charity’s ‘Let Nature In’ campaign which encourages everyone to make space for nature in their gardens and help struggling garden visitors such as hedgehogs, frogs, and house sparrows recover.
As well as scooping the prestigious front cover position via an online public vote, Jacob will see his image take centre place in February in the 2022 calendar, while Alan’s picture will feature in May.
Jacob developed an interest in wildlife photography during lockdown when his school, Pond Park Primary, held an eco-photography competition to capture nature in the local area.
Speaking about his winning picture ‘It’s a frog’s life’ Jacob said: “The day this photograph was taken there were lots of frogs laying their spawn in the pond, yet my mum walked on without seeing them while I stopped to get a closer look. I loved the way the frog was staring up at me smiling and how it shows the life cycle of the frog.
Jacob added, “Every tiny area we can encourage nature into is important as it can really improve your garden, and it gives wildlife somewhere safe to live and eat.”
Keen photographer Alan had seen hummingbird hawk-moths in hotter countries before, but sightings are much rarer in Northern Ireland.
He said: “When I spotted one in the garden, I ran in and grabbed the camera and was lucky enough to get a few pictures before it disappeared.
“I try to ensure any new plants are insect-friendly to add colour and activity to the garden. We need to try to create an attractive environment particularly for bees and butterflies whose numbers have dropped in recent years.”
Each year, calendar sales help raise funds for Ulster Wildlife’s work to safeguard the future of local wildlife and wild places across Northern Ireland.
Speaking for the charity, Vickie Chambers, business development manager, said: “Nature is in big trouble in Northern Ireland with one in ten species at risk of extinction. By purchasing a calendar from Ulster Wildlife this festive season, you can help play your part in nature’s recovery.
“Proceeds from every calendar go directly to supporting vital local conservation projects, thanks to sponsorship by Spirit Aerosystems. This means buyers will be supporting 19 wildlife havens across Northern Ireland, as well as initiatives that help restore precious peatlands and safeguard under-threat species, such as barn owls, sharks and red squirrels.”
She added: “In 2020, we were able to generate over £3,000 through our calendar sales, thanks to the generosity of local people, which is a welcome boost for nature in Northern Ireland.”
Ulster Wildlife’s 2022 Calendar costs just £7.99 and is available to purchase at www.ulsterwildlife.org/shop .
To find out more about the charity’s ‘Let Nature In’ campaign and to pledge your support to make space for nature visit www.ulsterwildlife.org/let-nature-in.