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Local students capture wildlife wonders for 2021 calendar

Aspiring wildlife photographers and filmmakers have pooled their talents to create a 2021 calendar. 

University of Cumbria’s Wildlife Society has selected 13 stunning images of nature for its calendar. Showing a diversity of animal, bird, insect and plant life, the collection features coastal birds such as the Sandpiper, forest and woodland’s Tawny Owls, the nocturnal badger and, shining a light on the importance of invertebrates, the role of bees and moths in pollination.

An autumnal shot for the month of October provides a glimpse of a rare Hoopoe, a migratory bird spotted on a cricket pitch in Leeds earlier this year. Causing a stir among birdwatchers, it was reportedly the first sighting of the protected species in the Yorkshire city for 40 years.

First year student Kerri Owen was in Moray, northern Scotland, to capture her image of a seal that kicks off the year in January.

Rachel Owen, secretary and treasurer of the university’s Wildlife Society and third-year wildlife media student, said: “This is our third calendar, and it’s one of our most important fundraising and enjoyable events of the year. It is always difficult choosing just 13 images from the competition entries submitted by students, graduates and wildlife enthusiasts.

“This year it has been amazing to see how many fantastic pictures were produced during lockdown. The funds raised from the calendar will go towards our efforts to rewild the Brampton Road campus and helping the student population in Carlisle to engage with the natural world.”

Laura Baxter, BA (Hons) Wildlife Media course leader at University of Cumbria, said: ”The number of submissions received was the highest ever and the quality of the images has been the best we have seen. It really reflects how an interest in wildlife and nature has helped many of us in a year challenged with coronavirus. So many people have found hope and joy in their daily walks, bringing us closer to nature and our environment.

“We are so lucky to live and work in this biodiverse region, making it a fantastic place to study our wildlife media degree.”

Academics collaborate with organisations such as Cumbria Wildlife Trust to provide students with regular outdoor learning and project work, work experience and volunteering opportunities, running frequent visits to reserves on Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Lecturers are active film and documentary makers, contributing to productions aired by the BBC, ITV, RSPB, Channel 4, Channel 5 and National Geographic.

Priced at £5 each, copies of the Wildlife Society 2021 calendar are available from the Tourist Information Centre in the Old Town Hall, Carlisle. Alternatively, with £2 added to cover postage costs, you can also purchase copies via the University of Cumbria Students’ Union website. Funds raised from sales will further the work and conservation efforts of the society.

University of Cumbria hosts ‘An Introduction to Wildlife Documentary Filmmaking’, a masterclass with documentary maker Bettina Talbot, on Friday 18 December at 11am. Attendance can offer participants up to 16 UCAS points for a related course at the university. For full details, visit here or the events section at


Wildlife Society 2021 Calendar (Credit: University of Cumbria Wildlife Society)

Wildlife Society 2021 Calendar
‘Seal at Portgordon’, January image for University of Cumbria Wildlife Society 2021 calendar, taken by first-year wildlife media student Kerri Owen. (Credit: Kerri Owen).

Wildlife Society January – Seal at Portgordon. Kerri Owen

Duet of Ducklings’, March image for University of Cumbria Wildlife Society 2021 calendar, taken by student Claire Henderson. (Credit: Claire Henderson)

Wildlife Society March – Duet of Ducklings. Claire Henderson

University of Cumbria third-year wildlife media student Rachel Owen, who is also Wildlife Society secretary and treasurer.

Wildlife Society Rachel Owen

Laura Baxter, course leader, BA (Hons) Wildlife Media, Institute of the Arts, University of Cumbria

Wildlife Society – Laura Baxter staff



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