Top environmental journalist honoured

01 Oct 2011 | No. 2011-44

Environmental journalist and author, Michael McCarthy was last night honoured at the British Trust for Ornithology’s annual awards ceremony in the Mall Galleries, London.

Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor at the Independent and author of the best-selling 'Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo', was presented with the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Dilys Breese medal, awarded to outstanding communicators who deliver BTO science to new audiences.

During the last few years Michael has provided a major impetus for the BTO’s migrant-related work. Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo is dripping with BTO-related material and his follow-up articles on Nightingales and Cuckoos provided a benchmark which was followed by journalists, not only here in the UK, but around the world.

Michael really understands conservation and environmental issues but, more importantly, he really understands the importance of the work of the BTO. Many of our summer visitors, birds like the Nightingale and the Cuckoo, have experienced alarming declines; we have lost more than half of both during the last twenty-five years, and Michael has gone out of his way to support this work by putting BTO messages before an Independent audience, including decision-makers and opinion-formers.

Presenting the medal to Michael, Dame Barbara Young, President of the BTO, said, "I am delighted to present this award to Michael, with a small number of words he can grab your heart - he is a very fitting recipient."

Michael commented, "I had the great pleasure to meet Max Nicholson, one of the driving forces behind the formation of the BTO in 1933. Max saw the power of harnessing the interest of amateurs in the collection of meaningful data - BTO has continued to do so ever since. I am delighted to receive this award and thank you from the bottom of my heart."

The ceremony was hosted by the Society for Wildlife Artists (SWLA).

Notes to 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 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, Stirling and Bangor, who analyse and publicise the results of project work. The BTO’s investigations are funded by government, industry and conservation organisations.

Contact Details

Paul Stancliffe
(BTO Press Officer)
Office: 01842 750050
Mobile: 07585 440910
Email: press [at]

Images are available for use alongside this News Release.Please contact images [at] quoting reference 2011-44

The BTO has an ISDN line available for radio interviews. Please contact us to book an interview. Office: 01842 750050

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