18th October 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Fund to encourage young bird fans to visit Fair Isle

A fund established in memory of the late doctor Calum Mackenzie will help Shetland youngsters keen on birds to visit Fair Isle Bird Observatory.

Dr Mackenzie, who died in 2012, was a keen birdwatcher and in his will left his extensive library of bird books to Shetland Bird Club.

After weighing up the options of how to use the bequest, the club decided to sell the library and use the proceeds to encourage the next generation of wildlife enthusiasts.

Club chairman Gary Bell said: “Fair Isle is a magical place for young people interested in birds, and this fund will hopefully sow the seeds of a lifetime’s interest for some of the successful applicants.”

The fund, which is administered by the Shetland Bird Club, is open to anyone resident in Shetland between the ages of 11 and 21. For successful applicants, the fund will pay the costs of a stay of up to two weeks at the observatory between mid June and mid September.

Fair Isle Bird Observatory chairman Roger Riddington said: “I can’t think of anywhere in Britain that is better-placed to enthuse youngsters about birds.

“I have seen so many young folk, ringing their first puffin, great skua or storm-petrel [tammy-norie, bonxie or alamootie] completely spellbound.”

Applicants under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. However, Calum’s Fund will cover the accommodation costs of the applicant, plus 50 per cent of the costs of one parent or guardian.

Shetland Bird Club secretary Helen Moncrieff added: “Fostering an interest in birds and the environment at a young age is one of the most important things the bird club can do. I just wish the fund had been on the go when I was a bairn.”

For more details of the fund and an application form, e-mail calumsfund@shetlandbirdclub.co.uk.

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