Those who follow Prince Charles will know that the natural environment is a topic that is rather close to his heart. His interest in conservationism and environmentalism goes back to the 80s, when the topic was just starting to become seen in the public consciousness, and involves work with various projects such the promotion of organic farming, preservation of rain forests, and taking action against man-made climate change. As such it’s perhaps fitting that he should take over from his mother, The Queen, as the new patron of the Slimbridge-based Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.
This follows in the wake of Her Majesty stepping down from her roles with 24 other various organisations, which in turn is part of an overall scaling back of her schedule and duties due to her advancing years. Other members of the Royal Family will move in to take over from her. Prince Charles has already established a working relationship with the Trust by serving as their president, and as such is familiar with their workings. Prince Charles’s last engagement with the Trust was as recent as last month, where he took part in its 70th Anniversary celebrations.
Chief Executive Martin Spray CBE, paid tribute to Her Majesty’s long years of service to the Trust. “She has been a truly formidable patron, for which we are all very grateful. We have been very fortunate to benefit from Her Majesty’s patronage for many decades.”
He also welcomed Prince Charles inheriting her position, whereupon he said: “I am also very grateful to HRH the Prince of Wales for volunteering to become our new patron. He has been an excellent President to us for many years. […]He spent over an hour [at the Anniversary] talking individually to a hundred WWT volunteers, supporters and staff, who were all very appreciative of his interest in each person’s individual role.”
The Royal Family has long had a close association with the Trust, ever since The Queen was still Princess Elizabeth. She, and later her son, Charles, would often visit the Trust’s headquarters at Slimbridge, as well as the wetlands and marshes they help preserve. Both have been very active in supporting the Trust’s efforts in preserving natural wetlands within the British Isles and beyond, which in turn has helped ensure the survival of countless species of bird, animal, insect and fish that depend upon them.
The Trust was founded in 1946 by Sir Peter Scott, son of Antarctic explorer Captain Scott, as a centre to promote natural science and natural conservation in the UK. He and the Trust were instrumental in saving the Hawaiian nene from extinction after they reintroduced hand-reared specimens to the islands in 1962. Sir Peter Scott was knighted for his services to wildlife conservation in 1973.