Newtownabbey residents’ photos feature in Ulster Wildlife calendar

A peppered moth and feeding blackbirds captured by keen wildlife photographers Dakota Reid and Dawn Magee, from Newtownabbey, have been chosen to feature in Ulster Wildlife’s 2022 calendar, which is on sale now to help raise funds to reverse the decline of nature in Northern Ireland.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 4:28 pm

Dakota and Dawn 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.

Their pictures sit alongside ten other stunning local photographs, 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.

Dakota will see her image take centre place in July in the 2022 calendar, while Dawn’s picture will feature in August.

Keen photographer Dawn said she chose her picture ‘Blackbird breakfast’ as it’s a window into the personal life of birds that can be seen in any small garden.

Dakota, an MSc student, started moth trapping in her garden during the first lockdown and has recorded over 152 species to date.

She said: “Getting a few of these beautiful peppered moths at the trap has been a real highlight!

“Using a light trap is safe for the moths and has allowed me to learn so much about these beautiful insects as well as providing a positive and helpful distraction while I finished my studies virtually.

“Every new species I find in the garden is so exciting and it is amazing to see the garden improve for nature year on year as our recently-planted native hedging grows or new creatures establish themselves in our pond. The nature crisis is very worrying, but embracing a wilder type of gardening helps me feel a little less powerless.”

Dakota, an MSc student, started moth trapping in her garden during the first lockdown and has recorded over 152 species to date.

Keen photographer Dawn said she chose her picture ‘Blackbird breakfast’ as it’s a window into the personal life of birds that can be seen in any small garden.

She explained: “It’s so important to let nature into our gardens.

“Any size of garden can attract so many species. Feed the birds or plant some wildflower seeds - everything helps. I always feel better when I’m experiencing nature.”

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, stated: “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.

“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

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