Last week saw the Leica X Curlew Action event at the Leica Gallery London, an event to celebrate the partnership and inform people of Curlew Action’s important work.

The event was held on a chilly night in Mayfair, with Christmas lights twinkling over Duke Street the guests streamed in; from the president of the RSPB, to Mercury nominated folk singer Sam Lee and street artist ATM, all to hear about Curlew Action’s work and the latest on the new Natural History GCSE.

The Eurasian Curlew is Britain’s largest wading bird, with a long curved bill and evocative call they are a striking species. However the Eurasian Curlew has declined by 50% over the last 20 years, with land use changes and climate change being two of the main reasons for their decline.

Founded in 2019 by conservationist, author and producer Mary Colwell, Curlew Action aims to raise funds to support anyone interested in curlews from across the conservation spectrum, from the general public to farmers and landowners. Funds raised have gone towards protecting nesting sites, promoting careful monitoring and research, and raising awareness about the plight of the curlews.

‘Curlew Action is a small charity with a big vision. By working together with partners and policy makers, we can make a real difference to conservation and to re-engaging the next generation with the natural world around them,’ explained Mary Colwell at the event last week.

As part of her work with Curlew Action, Mary has also worked tirelessly to introduce a GCSE in Natural History to the British curriculum, and after many years of campaigning, the GCSE will now be available to students from 2025.

The gallery was abuzz with chatter as guests enjoyed drinks and canapés, before Leica Sport Optics ambassador, Luke Massey, opened the evening by introducing Roger Morgan Grenville, Chair of Curlew Action’s Trustees. Roger, who recently walked the length of the UK to raise funds for the charity, spoke of the charity’s work, and the importance of funding to ensure their valuable work continued.

Next up Mary Colwell took to the floor, bringing everyone up to speed with the Curlew’s plight, their distribution, migration journeys, threats and what can be done to help them. Before introducing the fantastic news surrounding the upcoming GCSE in Natural History; that the qualification will be available from September 2025.

Mary then handed over to Curlew Action’s passionate patron, Grammy-nominated musician David Gray, freshly returned from his world tour. David’s passion for the natural world and Curlews was evident, as he spoke of how he came to be a part of Curlew Action (which all began when he read Mary’s book, Curlew Moon). He then treated the audience to a song he had written for the Curlew. After more chatting amongst the guests, David ended the evening with an intimate mini concert of some more of his new material.

A great evening was had by all, with inspiring speakers, wonderful music and the perfect location to talk with likeminded individuals about conserving the natural world.

Mary Colwell said of the night, ‘The Leica gallery was a perfect setting for our event, surrounded by photographs and the best optical equipment in the world. Conservation depends on us getting the message out there, it depends on us seeing and recording nature, then telling its story. It is a great setting with an important message’.

To find out more about Curlew Action visit their website:
The Curlew Action strategy overview can be found here:
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Copyright © Photos: Richard Bunce

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