The annual event aims to celebrate and raise awareness of the hen harrier - one of Britain’s finest and now sadly rarest birds of prey. Their numbers have plummeted in recent years due to the ongoing illegal persecution that they and other birds of prey face, especially in upland areas where moorland habitat is intensively managed primarily for the benefit of red grouse.
Speakers included broadcaster and campaigner Chris Packham and Natalie Bennett from the green party who joined Derbyshire Wildlife Trust spokesperson Tim Birch, the RSPB, Derbyshire police commissioner and other campaigners and leading commentators on wildlife persecution.
The day’s most poignant moment came when four young contributors took to the stage and read their hen harrier poems out live to the crowd. Their poems are part of a collection of stories and poems from 20 children highlighting the plight of hen harriers and wildlife in our countryside. Chris Packham in his Forward for the book has called the collection ‘remarkable,’ adding “These children deserve hen harriers, they need hen harriers to stir their hearts and bring them the pure joy that comes from connection with nature. And this collection must be seen as their plea for that. It must compel us to ensure that we work urgently to eradicate the ongoing curse of illegal persecution so that their generation can visit the moors and be thrilled by the beauty of the sky dancers.”