TV wildlife presenter Chris Packham scoops top award

01 Nov 2010 | No. 2010-11-50

Chris Packham was honoured at a ceremony at the Royal Society  in London, yesterday.

  Chris Packham with Andy Clements -
BTO Director

Mr Packham was awarded the Dilys Breese BTO Medal by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) for his outstanding work in promoting science to new audiences. His ‘science geek’ pieces on the popular wildlife show, Autumnwatch, are regularly watched by over four million people.

Dr Andy Clements, Director of the BTO, who presented the award to Mr Packham, commented, “It gives me great pleasure to present this award to Chris. He is an outstanding communicator who has made science and natural history accessible to new audiences. In particular, he has promoted the work of the BTO and emphasised the importance of volunteers collecting information on our wild birds.”

Chris Packham, said “I have always been interested in scientific research and understood its importance in underpinning conservation action, not just in this country but around the globe. To receive this award from one of the leading scientific research establishments in the country is a real honour.”

He added, “To receive the Dilys Breese medal is also very poignant for me. Dilys was instrumental in me getting my first wildlife presenting job at the BBC. I accept the award for her and citizen scientists everywhere.”

At the same ceremony, the Marsh Award for Local Ornithology was given to the Cheshire & Wirral Ornithological Society, in celebration of the recent publication of a ground-breaking bird Atlas, whilst Dr Jennifer Gill of the University of East Anglia was awarded the Marsh Award for Ornithology for her considerable and ongoing contribution to British ornithology.

Notes for Editors

  1. Dilys Breese, a former Vice President of the BTO, was a renowned radio and television producer. She did much to promote the science of ornithology to a broader audience, particularly through the work she did with the BTO. In her honour the BTO Council created the Dilys Breese BTO Medal, to be awarded on annual basis to outstanding communicators who deliver science to new audiences.
  2. The Marsh Christian Trust was established in 1981 and has two main areas of work; grant-making and the Marsh Awards. 

    The Trust runs a portfolio of Awards with a number of internationally and nationally recognised organisations such as Barnardos, the National Trust and the Zoological Society of London. The Awards seek to recognise unsung heroes who all aim to improve the world we live in. Recipients of Marsh Awards range from scientists working in conservation biology and ecology, to authors and sculptors from the arts world, and those who give their time unselfishly to work with the young, the elderly, people with mental health issues and for our heritage.
  1. The Marsh Award for Ornithology is available to an ornithologist who is making a significant contribution to the field; typically someone who gained a PhD between ten and twenty years prior to the award being made. Amongst other things, the selection panel considers the significance of the research undertaken so far, contributions to training and capacity building within ornithology, alignment with the BTO’s mission and engagement with the wider ornithological community.
  2. The BTO is the UK’s leading bird research organisation. Over thirty thousand birdwatchers contribute to the BTO’s surveys. They collect information that forms the basis of conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Norfolk and Stirling, who analyse and publicise the results of project work. The BTO’s investigations are funded by government, industry and conservation organisations.

Contact information 

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Office: 01842 750050 (9am to 5.30pm)
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Email: press [at]

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