First Mini Panda Awards celebrate young wildlife filmmakers

Monday 20th October 2014

May Park Primary SchoolMay Park Primary School

At a glitzy award ceremony yesterday (Sunday 19 October) CBBC's Naomi Wilkinson presented the first ever Mini Panda Awards to winners of Avon Wildlife Trust's 'Wild Schools Film Challeng'e.

The award ceremony, which took place as part of the Wildscreen International Film Festival, celebrated the incredible talent of local young wildlife filmmakers and marks the first time this coveted accolade has been presented to children.

Jo Taylor, Learning Development Manager from Avon Wildlife Trust says, "We are delighted to recognise young talent across the West of England through the Mini Panda Awards, it's fantastic to see children connecting with nature and learning new skills. We recognised that children are increasingly confident and interested in technology, but less familiar with the outdoors environment, and we used this as our inspiration to develop our Wild Schools Film Challenge. Well done to all the schools involved, we hope you enjoyed taking part."

Over 40 schools from across the West of England took part - using kit boxes provided by Avon Wildlife Trust - learning to plan, film and edit their own wildlife film of their school grounds or green space. Expert judges from BBC Earth, Wildscreen, Avon Wildlife Trust and Rolls-Royce narrowed the competition down to the lucky winners.

The winners in the older age group were children from Year 4 at Highdown Juniors (Portishead), who used puppets to tell the story of their local nature reserve, Portbury Wharf, and its wildlife. Winners in the younger category were from Staple Hill Primary (Bristol) who put the waterproof cameras to the test by filming tadpoles under water in their school pond.

A special Gold Mini Panda was presented to children from May Park Primary (Eastville, Bristol) for their inspired film ‘A day in the Woods’ commended for its excellent narration and filmmaking.

Harry, aged 8, who took part in the Wild Schools Film Challenge says, "It was so fun because we got to look at animals whilst learning and getting fresh air. The best lessons ever!"

Naomi Wilkinson, presenter of CBBC's Naomi's Nightmares of Nature, was impressed with the high standard of the entrants saying, "The Wild Schools Film Challenge is a great way for children to get outside and learn about the nature right on their doorsteps. All the films deserve a Mini Panda Award in my book!"

The schools also got the chance to hear from 20-year-old Bertie Gregory, who is already making a name for himself as one of the new generation of wildlife photographers. Bertie is nominated this year for a Panda Award as part of the Bundu Youth Award.

Winners of the Gold Mini Panda Award, May Park Primary, also received a free residential trip for their class to Avon Wildlife Trust's Folly Farm Centre.

Wild Schools Film Challenge is kindly supported by Rolls-Royce Plc.
The Mini Panda Awards are sponsored by BBC Earth.