Four young ornithologists aged between 16 – 22-years-old have received the support of SWAROVSKI OPTIK, a world-leading manufacturer of long-range optics, after being recognised by Rare Bird Alert’s (RBA) Young Ornithologists Fellowship initiative.

Having created the Fellowship Awards to promote a love of birds, wildlife and conservation in young people, the RBA Young Ornithologists Fellowship Awards provides them with the skills, equipment, and opportunities to share their love for the natural world with their peers.

In sponsorship of the Awards, SWAROVSKI OPTIK gifted a pair of its stylish 8×30 CL Companion binoculars to the four winners of the RBA Fellowship. Fitting perfectly in the hand, the CL Companion’s 8x magnification will ensure wildlife viewing is smooth and jitter-free for the young birders. And for stylish yet practical protection whilst the awardees are exploring nature, the elegantly designed binoculars also come with a bespoke accessory package which consists of a field bag and carrying strap.

Each of the four winners of the RBA Young Ornithologists Fellowship and receivers of SWAROVSKI OPTIK binoculars will get to spend a week using their binoculars whilst staying at one of Britain’s renowned bird observatories. During this time, the winners will be helped to develop their skills, knowledge and practical experience in censuses and monitoring of breeding birds, recording of migratory birds, bird identification, and participation in trapping and ringing birds.

The winners include Henry Wyn-Jones and Finley Hutchinson, who are planning to visit Spurn Bird Observatory in October which is known as Britain’s most exciting east coast birding location and is the perfect time for spotting migrating birds crossing over the North Sea. Their fellow winner Hannah Coburn has decided to visit Bardsey Bird & Field Observatory, where 310 species of birds have been recorded, as well as Grey Seals, whilst awardee Rebecca Taylor hopes to take a birding trip to Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory, famous for its unique array of butterflies, dragonflies and moths, as well as birds.

Speaking about winning the fellowship, Henry Wyn-Jones explained: “Since I was six-years-old I have enjoyed birdwatching and having optics to bring the birds closer has enabled me to hone my skills and identification far better than I ever could without. My first set of binoculars were owned by my grandfather who used them through the early years of his life. Weighing as much as a couple of bags of sugar and being extremely cumbersome to carry around, they weren’t the best tool for the job. The prize of the SWAROVSKI OPTIK binoculars included in the RBA Young Ornithologist Fellowship however has immeasurably changed the way that I can experience and enjoy the natural world.”

Henry’s fellow awardee Finley Hutchinson said: “I feel so humbled to be chosen as one of the final four from so many excellent applications. The binoculars gifted to me by SWAROVSKI OPTIK are easily the clearest and lightest optics I’ve ever used so I’m looking forward to testing them out properly soon.”

Another winner Hannah Coburn added: “I am extremely grateful to RBA for awarding me with this fellowship and to SWAROVSKI OPTIK for gifting me incredible binoculars. The fellowship is such an exciting opportunity that will boost my ornithological career and give me access to resources and experiences I would not have otherwise had.”

Speaking about sponsoring the (RBA) Young Ornithologists Fellowship initiative, Peter Antoniou, Country Manager UK & Ireland for SWAROVSKI OPTIK, said: “It was an incredible honour to award the winners of the RBA Young Ornithologists Fellowship with their very own pair of SWAROVSKI OPTIK binoculars. It’s fantastic to see young birders follow their love of nature and conservation and we are delighted to be supporting the future of birdwatching in the UK. I look forward to hopefully hearing how the winners use their new binoculars in their coming explorations.”

Dick Filby, Founder of Rare Bird Alert said “The RBA Young Ornithologists Fellowship Awards are all about encouraging young birders to better enjoy, understand and share our great natural heritage, and we are indebted to the sponsorship by SWAROVSKI OPTIK, which is an integral to the success of the scheme. Each winner now has their own pair of SWAROVSKI OPTIK binoculars with which they will be able to see nature far better than before.”

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Photo captions:
Image 1: Finley Hutchinson, one of the winners of the RBA Young Ornithologists Fellowship.
Image 2: SWAROVSKI OPTIK’s CL Companion binoculars.
Image 3: Winner Hannah Coburn using her SWAROVSKI OPTIK CL Companion binoculars.

ABOUT SWAROVSKI OPTIK
SWAROVSKI OPTIK, headquartered in Absam, Tyrol, is part of the Swarovski group of companies. Founded in 1949, the Austrian company specialises in the development and manufacturing of long-range optical instruments of the highest precision in the premium segment of the market. The binoculars, spotting scopes, rifle scopes, and optronic instruments are products of choice for demanding users. The company’s success is based on its innovative strength, the quality and intrinsic value of its products, and their functional and esthetic design. The appreciation of nature is an essential part of its company philosophy and is reflected commendably in its environment-friendly production and its long-term commitment to selected nature conservation projects. The turnover in 2019 was 158.7 million euros (2018: 156.3 million euros), with an export ratio of 91%. The company has around 980 employees.

ABOUT RARE BIRD ALERT
Established in 1991 and based in Norwich, Norfolk, Rare Bird Alert is the UK’s longest running instant bird news service. They provide live, minute-by-minute sightings of rare and scarce birds turning up across Britain and Ireland.  Transmitting over 110,000 reports each year, birders in the field receive the news via an app, on a website or on Rare Bird Alert’s unique SwiftAlert service, which utilises modern day paging technology to provide the ultimate tool for birders who want to see it all. The news output is run by experienced birders and operates 365 days a year and their commitment to high levels of customer service has meant their continued success throughout the ever-changing scene in British Birding. They support a wide range of birding and conservation projects including at some of Britain’s renowned bird observatories such as Spurn and Bardsey. Through the creation of the Young Ornithologists Fellowship RBA aim to provide young birders with unique career development opportunities and to help nurture the next generation of birders and conservationists.

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