Lincolnshire's Ted Smith CBE is being celebrated for his life-long dedication to conservation and The Wildlife Trusts movement - by receiving a unique award in the conservation organisation’s centenary year.
Sir David Attenborough, Vice President and former President of The Wildlife Trusts, presented the one-off award to Ted Smith on Tuesday 22 May at the premiere of the organisation’s documentary film ‘The Wildlife Trusts: 100 years of nature conservation’ at the Kinema in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire.
Talking about Ted Smith’s dedication and presenting The Wildlife Trusts’ centenary award, Sir David Attenborough said:
"I am delighted to have this opportunity to demonstrate our appreciation of Ted’s profound impact on the first 100 years of nature conservation. Ted is quite exceptional and, I believe, is the living person who has made the biggest single contribution to The Wildlife Trusts movement. Generations to come are going to benefit more than they will know.
"This countryside of Britain may not be as rich as Ted knew it as a child in the 1920s and 30s but it is immeasurably better than it would otherwise have been without him and The Wildlife Trusts. I believe that work will continue and be increasingly important to all of us living in this beautiful but crowded archipelago."
Back in the 1940s Ted Smith recognised the urgent need to save Lincolnshire’s most special places for nature. He fought to save our unspoiled coast, ancient meadows and heaths and to halt the destruction of native woodland. Ted campaigned on almost every front from saving roadside flowers from being sprayed with chemicals to pressing for legislation to protect otters.
His influence extended far beyond Lincolnshire. He travelled the length and breadth of Britain, lecturing on his vision for nature and for local Wildlife Trusts to champion it. Most importantly, he saw the need for local nature organisations which could own land and for them to derive support from a wide section of the community.
Commenting on his efforts to help establish The Wildlife Trusts movement, Ted said: "It was a very small beginning. At the end of the 1949, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, I think, had 129 members. But the movement grew, slowly, through the 50s and 60s. It was a very exciting time and a very rewarding time."
Ted Smith - now in his 90s – is President of Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and continues to inspire others in the movement he helped to create. He is still running swift surveys and playing an active role in current affairs in contact with national policy issues such as forestry as well as with local campaigns.
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Photo: Tom Marshall