Diversity of flourishing wildlife in quarries celebrated in biennial nationwide photo competition
QUARRYING’s outstanding contribution to nature recovery and biodiversity gain in the UK has been beautifully captured by industry workers and conservation volunteers in a nationwide photographic competition.
The biennial Quarries & Nature Photo Competition, organized by the Mineral Products Association (MPA), celebrates the thriving fauna and flora in and around active and restored quarries.
Leading conservationists, policymakers, MPA member companies, and the winning photographers were among the guests who attended an exclusive viewing on Tuesday 28 November at The Royal Society, London, where RSPB chief executive Beccy Speight presented the prizes to the winning photographers.
Commenting on the ability of mineral sites to leave a legacy at scale, Beccy Speight said: ‘We have long known how important the role of restored quarries can be in helping nature recover, and photography is a wonderful way of bringing this to light. The quality of the images in the competition is outstanding - congratulations to all taking part.’
Mark Russell, MPA executive director for planning and mineral resources, said: ‘More new areas of nature conservation and biodiversity gain have been and continue to be created through quarry restoration than any other industrial activity. In partnership with conservation organizations, MPA members had created of more than 8,300ha (83km2) of new priority habitat by the end of 2021, with a further 11,000ha (110km2) in the pipeline.’
This year’s contest attracted record entries and the standard was extremely high, according to the MPA judging panel whose job was tougher than ever. Criteria for selecting the winners included composition, relevance, setting, and the difficulty of capturing the image.
There are two categories to the competition – one for MPA member company employees and contractors, with another open to the thousands of people who work voluntarily on restored quarry sites that have been transformed into popular nature reserves, country parks, and sites of special scientific interest.
The photo competition, which has run since 2015, has given rise to some truly exceptional wildlife photography (with many of the best examples included in the MPA book ‘Quarries & Nature: A 50 year success story’). Prizes of photographic equipment vouchers are awarded for the first-, second-, and third-placed winners in the two categories.
The winners in both categories are:
MPA Member Winners
1st place – Michael Cardus for his shot of dark green fritillary butterflies feeding on a thistle at Tarmac’s Arcow Quarry, near Settle, North Yorkshire.
2nd place – Adrian Radnor for his shot of a kingfisher at Cemex’s Hereford Quarry, Hereford, Herefordshire.
Joint 3rd place – Mike Belson of Aggregate Industries for his shot of a grey heron at Cossington Meadows, Leicester (Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust).
Joint 3rd place – Stuart Lawrence for his shot of an oystercatcher at Tudor Griffiths’ Wood Lane Quarry, Ellesmere, Shropshire.
1st place – Roy McDonald for his shot of a redwing catching a worm at College Lake Nature Reserve, Tring, Buckinghamshire (Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust).
2nd place – George Walthew for his shot of a bittern in a reed bed at Kings Dyke Nature Reserve, Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire.
Joint 3rd place – Jill Bewley for her shot of a swan and cygnets at Manorbrook Lakes, near Ashton Keynes, Wiltshire (Cotswold Lakes Trust).
Joint 3rd place – Paul Hilton for his shot of common frogs spawning at Mullaghlass Quarry, Belfast, Northern Ireland.