Judges for the Wild Cities Photography Competition announced! - Earthwatch

Judges for the Wild Cities Photography Competition announced!

We are thrilled to present our prestigious panel of judges for the Wild Cities Photography Competition which was launched earlier this year in partnership with Canon Europe.

About Wild Cities

The Wild Cities Photography Competition celebrates the UK’s urban green spaces and their wild inhabitants. Launched in May 2023 in collaboration with Canon Europe, the competition has encouraged amateur photographers based in the UK to submit their best urban wildlife snapshots for a chance to win cutting-edge camera prizes and to be featured in a special one-night exhibition.

The competition was inspired by Earthwatch Europe’s Tiny Forest programme which brings mini, intensely-planted and fast-growing native forests to urban areas. For every submission, Canon give £5 to fund the creation of a new Tiny Forest.

Meet the competition judges

We are proud to have three fantastic judges with diverse backgrounds in politics, photography and environmentalism on our panel: Rt Hon. the Baroness Hayman GBE – Chair of cross-party parliamentary group Peers for the Planet, Ollie Olanipekun – Founder of the UK’s first birdwatching collective for people of colour Flock Together, and Fiona Shields – Head of Photography at The Guardian.

Baroness Hayman, Chair of Peers for the Planet 

Rt Hon. the Baroness Hayman GBE is a Crossbench peer and former Lord Speaker of the House of Lords. She was MP for Welwyn and Hatfield in 1974. After losing her seat in 1979, Helene founded a charity called Maternity Alliance. She was involved in the NHS and a range of national and international organisations working on global health and development and chaired the Whittington Health NHS Trust for five years, from 1990-1996. In 1996, she entered the House of Lords and, following the 1997 General Election, held Ministerial posts in the Transport, Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and Health Departments, and was made a Privy Counsellor. In 2006, she was elected by members of the House of Lords to be the first ever Lord Speaker, serving a full term until 2011. Helene previously served as a trustee of the Disasters Emergency Committee and is a former Chair of Malaria No More UK.

Ollie Olanipekun – Founder of the UK’s first birdwatching collective for people of colour Flock Together

Ollie Olanipekun, Founder of Flock Together 

Ollie Olanipekun is the founder of Flock Together, the UK’s first birdwatching collective for people of colour that quickly turned into a global phenomenon. Together with co-founder Nadeem Perera, he is the driving force behind developing the wider strategic and creative Flock Together offering, securing all funding and partnerships that sit outside of the community walks. He is also an award-winning Creative Director who has built social responsibility into every facet of his work, pioneering meaningful ways to enact change and rethink narratives. He is also an ambassador for both RSPB and WWT, where he plays an active role in raising awareness and progressing movements across wildlife and nature causes.

Fiona Shields – Head of Photography at The Guardian

Fiona Shields, Head of Photography at The Guardian

Fiona Shields has over twenty years of picture editing experience across a range of newspaper titles. She was Picture Editor of The Guardian for ten years before taking up the role of Head of Photography for The Guardian News and Media Group. Throughout her career, she has been involved in the coverage of some of the most historic news stories of our time, including the events surrounding 9/11, multiple conflicts and natural disasters, and the humanitarian crises resulting from the growing refugee numbers across the globe. In addition, she has delivered talks at photo festivals, mentored photojournalism students, and served as judge of numerous awards and competitions.

Image © Paolo Verzone

Earthwatch and Canon will host an awards ceremony on 1 December 2023 in London to showcase the winning work selected by our three judges.

Find out more about the Wild Cities Photography Competition.

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