Park Protector Awards 2022 now open for nominations 

  • Contributor information: CNP

Campaign for National Parks launches the Park Protector Awards 2022 – partnering with more organisations to add a new category and host an awards ceremony at the Houses of Parliament this summer.

The awards, which are now open for nominations, recognise and reward the work underway to protect and improve National Parks in England and Wales for People, Nature and Climate.

As well as the main Park Protector Award and Volunteer of the Year, we have added a third ‘New Perspectives’ category – inspired by our National Parks: New Perspectives bursary holders – to celebrate the work of those people and groups helping to amplify the voices of those less heard in National Parks.

“We know from our People and Nature Survey that there are significant inequalities in who is able to enjoy access to the outdoors,” said Marian Spain, Chief Executive of Natural England which is sponsoring the award. “It’s been great to see more people from different backgrounds enjoying National Parks in recent years. In sponsoring the New Perspectives Award we want to reward some of this work, much of which aligns with Natural England’s work too.”

“We want to see nominations from every National Park in England and Wales,” said Campaign for National Parks Chief Executive Dr Rose O’Neill. “The past few years have not been easy, but dedicated staff and volunteers have continued to step up to protect and improve National Parks; we feel it’s really important to recognise and reward that and are delighted to do that via our Park Protector Awards.”

We have once again partnered with BBC Countryfile Magazine to help share the stories of the winners. WWF-UK is sponsoring the main award; Natural England the New Perspectives award; and our corporate partner Original Cottages are sponsoring the Volunteer of the Year award.

The categories are:

  • Main Park Protector Award – £1,000 prize
  • People’s Choice: Volunteer of the Year – £500 Original Cottages holiday cottage voucher + one-year subscription to BBC Countryfile Magazine
  • New Perspectives Award – £1,000 prize

Last year’s winners were Safer Lakes – the partnership approach to keeping Lake District National Park safe during the pandemic; and Rod Gentry – a volunteer Forestry England ranger working in South Downs National Park to bring together the community to protect Friston Forest.

Rose added: “With these awards, we will showcase the brilliant work in National Parks and the amazing people behind it, and why it’s crucial that both the Westminster and the Welsh Governments bring forward new powers and investment to scale up the work and secure the future of these vital assets.”

WWF-UK’s Executive Director of Science and Conservation, Mike Barrett, said: “We campaign to ensure that people and nature can thrive together and National Parks play an important role in this. We know there’s lots of terrific work underway to help realise this vision and are delighted to be supporting the Campaign for National Parks Park Protector Award to help celebrate.”

William Affleck, Partnerships Manager at Original Cottages, said: “Throughout the Original Cottages family, our links to our great National Parks are plentiful. We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to be able to live and breathe within these National Parks, but also to be able to facilitate others having the joy of visiting them too. We have several properties within and around our National Parks and we feel obliged to do our bit to preserve them.

“We see first-hand the wonderful work of volunteers – from helping people find their way round to working in the cafes and tea-rooms and carrying out conservation work on the ground. We’re very pleased to help reward this work with the offer of a voucher towards a well-earned relaxing stay in one of our cottages for the Volunteer of the Year.”

Nominations close on 19 June 2022, with a public vote for the Volunteer of the Year and shortlisting by an expert judging panel comprising Campaign for National Parks Trustee Sue Beaumont and young ambassador Jessica Davison; Chair of National Parks England Andrew McCloy and scientist, TV presenter and Trustee of the National Association of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB) Dr Anjana Khatwa. The winners will be revealed in an awards ceremony at the Houses of Parliament on 11 July 2022.

To find out more, or make a nomination, see HERE