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Wildscreen is the world’s leading international festival celebrating and advancing storytelling about the natural world.

For over 30 years our prestigious biennial Festival has been convening and celebrating the world’s best natural world storytellers.

Through collaboration with our ever-growing community of filmmakers, photographers, broadcasters, technologists and conservation organisations we aim to transform the craft of natural world storytelling across platforms and across audiences, ensuring as many people as possible experience the natural world, feel part of it and want to help protect it.


During last year’s UK National Whale and Dolphin Watch, a record-breaking 1,529 hours of dedicated watches took place. Some 300 hours more than any previous occasion, this represents 2,500 volunteers all around the British Isles getting involved to report on the UK’s whale and dolphin species.

2017 was the sixteenth year that this huge citizen science scheme had taken place and clearly the event is building on popularity year on year. “It’s so important for people to join in helping us to track whales, dolphins and porpoises in UK waters. The Sea Watch Foundation database holds hundreds of thousands of records which are used by scientists and governments to inform research and policy on these wonderful animals” says Kathy James, Sightings Officer for Sea Watch. “By taking part, people are directly contributing to their conservation”.

Aside from the expansive effort put in by volunteers in 2017, there were also a huge number of whale, dolphin and porpoise sightings reported as part of the event. 1,410 records of cetaceans, the collective term for whales, dolphins and porpoises, were reported from land and at sea.

“The wonderful thing about watching for whales and dolphins in the UK is that you don’t necessarily have to get on a boat to see them” adds Kathy.

More than half of the reports received came from land-based volunteers stationed at one of 108 survey sites or those who were lucky enough to spot a cetacean as they went about their other business. Forty-eight vessels were also involved with the event, from pleasure craft and fishing vessels to ferries and cruise ships.

The reports received during the 2017 National Whale and Dolphin Watch amounted to around 6,500 individual animals “captured” by the survey, a powerful testament to citizen science.

This most recent effort also showed that on average around the UK, a cetacean could be spotted once an hour! North and East Scotland, South Devon, Cornwall and North-east England all had a greater sightings rate than the national average. These excellent cetacean-spotting areas clocked up between 1 and 5 animals per hour on average per site.

Eleven different cetacean species were seen in UK waters during the National Whale and Dolphin Watch. All in all, 29 species of cetacean have been recorded in UK waters although only fourteen are recorded regularly. Seeing a good proportion of these in just nine days goes to show what people can achieve when they work together.

Sea Watch Foundation are seeking volunteers to come forward to take part in the National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2018 this summer, which takes place 28th July – 5th August. Surveys can take place from your favourite or closest bit of coastline and boat-users are urged to get in touch too. No experience is necessary as the team at Sea Watch will offer you training and advice on how to take part.

Find out more about the event:

Whilst UK gears up for their annual watch, Jonas Liebschner, a photographer and guide with Whale Watching Sydney, releases ‘Whales of Sydney: and other visitors to our shores’. The book due out in March 2018, beautifully documents the annual migration of whales past the coast of Sydney through engaging photography. Their behaviors and the interaction between them have changed our understanding of the whale’s importance and the need to protect them for future generations.

New Holland Publishers, ISBN: 9781925546132

Sera Wright’s stunning shots of pastel pink sunsets, pristine beaches and glittering seas have earned her a legion of Instagram fans.

But the self-taught landscape and travel photographer doesn’t just want to share pretty pictures—she’s sending an important conservation message.

Through her striking images taken around Australia and overseas, the digital influencer from Byron Bay hopes to inspire others to appreciate and protect nature.

“I hope that my photos will inspire people to get outside, explore and travel to as many destinations as possible,” she says.

“I am extremely passionate about nature and conservation, and I use my photography to raise awareness and educate people on why it’s so important to care for our amazing country and planet.”

It’s this environmental ethos, combined with her creative talents, that lead to her appointment on the judging panel for The Nature Conservancy’s 2017 photo competition.

The competition aims to inspire Australians to engage with nature through photography and celebrate Australia’s natural beauty, and Sera is looking forward to being on the other side of the fence as a judge this year.

“I am a big believer in photography inspiring people to get outside and appreciate nature, so I can’t wait to see what the Australian public deliver in this year’s competition.”

One of Australia’s top social media influencers, Wright boasts more than 54,000 Instagram followers and has worked on tourism campaigns for the likes of Olympus Australia, Canon Australia, Intrepid Travel, Singapore Airlines and Destination NSW.

Her beautifully-crafted web and Instagram pages are filled with pastel-hued summer skies in Byron Bay, turtles swimming on the Great Barrier Reef, Samoan waterfalls and unexpected pockets of natural beauty.

For Sera, one of the biggest keys to innovative nature photography is ensuring optimum lighting conditions, and advises shooting close to sunrise and sunset.

Other tips include using people in landscape shots to add an extra element of interest, photographing scenes you personally connect to, and finding a point of difference, like a new angle or perspective.

She dismisses the two thirds rule of conventional composition as not essential, but says “leading lines”, which draw the eye to the subject of the photo, is a good technique.

Wright believes photography can be a valuable tool in creating change and educating the community, particularly on issues like the environment and conservation.

“With social media, you can reshare and repost photos, articles, videos, and other digital content around the world and create a movement.”

More and more people are jumping onboard and realising what an important role photography has in helping create awareness of the environmental issues around the world—especially when it comes to climate change, the decline in the Great Barrier Reef, and endangered species and their habitats.

But she is concerned that there’s not enough respect for the environment in the quest for the ultimate, Instagram-able photo.

“I believe that as photographers, influencers and visual artists we have a responsibility to encourage others to do the right thing,” she says.

I see a lot of photos on social media of people or photographers standing in a location which is restricted or prohibited entry due to the fragile environment (Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park, Queensland for example) just to get ‘the shot’. We should be promoting the right thing to do, how to help conserve the ecosystem and environment and planet on which we live.

Wright became interested in landscapes and wildlife at an early age, watching David Attenborough documentaries on repeat and flicking through National Geographic magazines at home.

Now 35 years old, Sera owned her first camera at the age of 10 and learned the basics at high school, but only taught herself the rest when photography turned digital.

Sera feels blessed to have grown up in the nature lover’s paradise of Byron Bay, and has fond memories of spending her childhood exploring the great outdoors.

“I think being brought up camping and out in nature most weekends and school holidays, instead of going on holidays to resorts or cities, made a massive impact on me at an early age. I’m so thankful to my parents for bringing me up this way. It made me appreciate the natural world and learn the importance of protecting and conserving the world around us early on.

“Without a healthy environment, ecosystem and planet, we won’t have a world to live on. Every species on this planet has a role, a purpose and needs to be saved. The Nature Conservancy’s photo competition is a great opportunity for photographers of all levels to raise awareness on these important issues.”

Categories for the photo competition include landscape, wildlife, water, urban, nature, people in nature and whacky wildlife. There will also be a People’s Choice winner, so even if you’re not a photographer, you will still be able to participate by voting for your favourite photo.

The photo competition runs from September 18 – October 27, 2017.

To learn more or enter a photo, visit and for more information on Sera visit

The world’s most prestigious mountain film festival is coming back to Australia: the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour presents over two-and-a-half hours of the most enthralling mountain adventure films that will have you on the edge of your seat.

This year we will recreate a world first with an adventurous trio of paddlers, take a long hike in the desert with Ace and his human companion, attempt heinous chossy, run out new climbing routes in Venezuela and take an impossible ride on a mountain bike with skill master Danny MacAskill. We’ll go on a personal journey back to the infamous Totem Pole, in Tasmania, with an unrelenting climber, join a band of crazy French musicians over a cavernous gorge, ski remote and untouched slopes in Iran and take to the sky with a crew of inexperienced but tenacious paragliders as they attempt to bring their dreams to life.

Get ready to experience incredible highs and agonising lows through the lenses of some of the most accomplished climbers, paddlers, skiers, snowboarders, mountaineers, mountain bikers, explorers and adventure filmmakers alive today. You’ll be planning your next adventure before the credits roll!

Presented by World Expeditions, The Banff Mountain Film Festival Australia Tour will show at various locations from April – June 2017.

Her deepness Sylvia Earl is a matriarch for marine conservation, Elizabeth Blackburn is a catalyst for cellular health and longevity, Pollyanna Pickering (and daughter Anna-Louise) are patrons for art and wildlife…these are but some of the inspiring examples where women have invigorated our perspective of gender equality and potential.

In celebration of International Women’s Day this week, our guest piece is by the multi-gen women adventure duo, Heather and Rebekah Hawkins (with son Callum). Through their shared passion for climbing, we discover a bond and bravery common of great women—acknowledging the spirit of leading ladies who have shaped our world and continue to impact innovation as explorers, entrepreneurs, scientists, artists and every other facet of formative endeavour.

Join us on a trek to the Himalayas in this journal perspective by Heather from her trek of the GHT from March 1st 2016 – July 28th 2016 – 1,700km in 152 days.

It’s Day 38 of the Great Himalaya trail and the glow of my watch says 4am. Here we are, camped out on a glacier, close to the imposing, icy pass Sherpani Col. High above our little yellow tents the stars keep trekking methodically across the clear, inky sky.

Normally I’d be asleep at this time, but no, I’m up, fully dressed, with my gear bag all packed. There’s one last thing to do before I head out. I reach down with cold, fumbling fingers and secure the Velcro on the front of my gaiters. Then with gloves on, I crawl out of the tent.

My head torch catches all the clouds from my breath. This mountain air is cold, really, really cold! As I hoist my heavy backpack up onto one shoulder I stop for a moment to take it all in. All around the mountains stand ghosted in the moonlight – they’re towering, mesmerising, intimidating – and for the very first time, on our journey across Nepal, we’ll be stepping out from beneath their shadow. Today we’ll be climbing up to the point of highest altitude along the GHT – all 6,189 metres of it – we’re heading up and over Sherpani Col.

My son Callum, my daughter Rebekah, and her boyfriend Matt appear from their tents with head torches flashing like thunderstorms on the snow. We soon huddle together and hold hot tin mugs filled with hot black tea and chat about the epic challenge ahead. Our heads and hearts are full of anticipation, and just like every other day on the trek, we draw strength from each other – with practical advice, encouraging words, humour and big, bulky bear hugs through all those thermal layers. Today I can guarantee the hugs are a whole lot tighter!

Right now, we’re part way along our 1,700 km journey across the Himalayas, not just as four individuals, but as family. We’ve clocked ourselves off for a full five months, left behind the creature comforts of home, logged out from social media and set off in our leather boots.

It’s been nothing short of sensational, and has without a doubt, strengthened the bonds of our relationships, increased our love and appreciation of each other and topped up those somewhat depleted stores of personal courage and resilience.

Together we’ve faced fatigue, battled breathlessness at altitude, forded icy streams, abseiled over boulders and stepped over crevasses. Whenever we’ve reached our limits, we’ve been there for each other. No one’s been left behind. No one’s felt broken, hurt or overwhelmed. We’ve talked things through, held out a guiding hand or two up on the fixed lines, nursed each other along when we’ve been sick and chipped in to carry each other’s backpack. It’s been a positive, enlightening and a life changing journey.

Just as the first rays of sun appear over the eastern peaks, we set off from camp, to follow our Sherpas closely across the ice field. We’re in amongst knee deep snow and crevasses. Two hours later we make it to the base of Sherpani Col. It’s a truly daunting pass with all its pale jagged rock, snow and blue ice to negotiate. But there’s no turning back. We clip onto the fixed lines one by one and start to climb. Up and up… I stop to pull the buff away from my face to breathe. Up and up… Our crampons keep us anchored on the mountainside. Up and up… it’s tough going, our legs are shaking but at last we all reach the top.

The views from here are absolutely amazing and the elation inside is uncontrollable. We’ve done it! In every direction the peaks of the Himalayas stretch out forever. Everything’s so white and blue. For a few brief minutes we stand in awe… in silence, and as a family…

It’s then that I realise it’s moments like these, moments that contain both challenge and triumph, that we should allow to soak deep into our soul – allow to shape us, give us new perspective and help us to truly appreciate life and each other.

Then as we climb back down the mountain and ease our way back into daily life, we’ll let these moments keep shaping us, and keep us wondering what on earth our next little adventure will be…

Are you considering treking part or all of the seven stages of the GHT in 2017?

Join Heather and help make a difference by fundraising for cancer research projects through Can Too. Combining classic Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Lakes treks with a stunning crossing of the non-technical Cho La pass provides an unsurpassed circuit trek of the Everest region. The challenge includes climbs of the popular Gokyo Ri and Kala Pattar along the way, which provide magnificent photo opportunities of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest, and views as far as Kanchenjunga in the east and the Tibetan 8000m peak Cho Oyu to the north.

View Lhotse, Nuptse, Pumori, Cholatse, the beautiful pyramid of Ama Dablam, as well as countless other Himalayan peaks. Each night you will be accommodated in private eco campsites as well as handpicked eco lodges. Another dimension to this adventure is the famous Sherpa culture providing a truly unforgettable experience.

Book your spot on the “Heather Hawkins Everest Can Too Challenge” or 1300 792 501