8 Apr 2016

BirdLife’s new nest: a home for conservationists

David Attenborough, CCI DAB inauguration. Photo: SIR CAM/UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE.
David Attenborough, CCI DAB inauguration. Photo: Sir Cam/University of Cambridge
By Luca Bonaccorsi

"We depend on nature for the very air we breathe, for every mouthful of food we consume, for every drop of clean water that we drink.” These are the inspiring words from Sir David Attenborough at the official opening of the new “conservation campus” of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.

On Wednesday, April 6th, after years of planning, Britain inaugurated its world-leading conservation hub dedicated to preserving the planet’s biodiversity. The idea was first discussed more than two decades ago.

The David Attenborough Building was formerly known as the Arup Building and used to contain university laboratories for zoology, metallurgy and mathematics. It has undergone a £58-million revamp to transform it into a global centre of conservation excellence.

 “It is going to bring together all of these people concerned about the natural world. So it's going to be a huge melting pot. Wonderful things will happen.” added Sir ‪‎David Attenborough.

Sir David Attenborough, CCI DAB inauguration. Photo: Sir Cam / University of Cambridge


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In her opening speech Patricia Zurita, the Chief Executive of BirdLife International, addressing Sir Attenbourough stated:

“you asked some time ago: are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book? Of course, we all say no, but we, the conservation community, have often failed to come together with one voice.”  

“The task is too daunting  – she added - for any one institution to do it alone. Only together we’ll have the power to influence those who are deciding the fate of our Planet, and I’m proud to be here and to put our hearts and minds, not only ours upstairs, but also those of the RSPB, and the energy of the 13 million people we can reach through the BirdLife Partnership to make this fabulous enterprise successful.”

A dramatic ‘living wall’ covered in plants forms the centrepiece of the new centre, which houses over 500 biologists, conservationists and students and will provide a base for research, conferences, lectures and public events.

The conservation campus hosts the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Fauna & Flora International, BirdLife International, RSPB, British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), the Tropical Biology Association, IUCN and TRAFFIC.



Print coverage:

Mirror, Sun, Express, Guardian, Telegraph, Times, New Day, Metro and Cambridge news


Broadcast coverage:

The Cambridge TV broadcast (Freeview Channel 7 - 6 April 16) http://www.cambridge-tv.co.uk from 08:30-11:39

The ITV Anglia footage can be downloaded here: https://www.wetransfer.com/downloads/

ITV’s This Morning on http://www.itv.com/hub/this-morning/1a1960a5267 

BBC Radio Cambs Breakfast Show – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03njm4m  and go to 6th April shows show at 02:32 for a news story about the campus opening.

The film on BBC Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/bbcradiocambridgeshire/videos/1314187245277020/?pnref=story


Digital coverage:

Sir David Attenborough scales new heights on living wall at Cambridge University 
Daily Mail - 7 hours ago 
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Sir David Attenborough ABSEILS down university building named after him weeks before his 90th birthday 
Mirror.co.uk - 2 hours ago 
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He can fly! Sir David Attenborough abseils 50ft to launch new Cambridge conservation project 
Cambridge News - 20 hours ago 
Sir David Attenborough got a new environment project off to a flying start in Cambridge – by abseiling down a... 

Sir David Attenborough abseils down 50-foot high wall at his old university 
Express.co.uk - 8 hours ago 
He returned safely to terra firma having taken to the air to get a birds' eye view of a 'living wall' at... 

Sir David Attenborough's 'birds eye view' of new 'global conservation hub' in Cambridge 
ITV News - 10 hours ago 
Sir David Attenborough is in Cambridge to celebrate the official opening of a new global conservation hub at the... 

Sir David Attenborough abseils down a 15 metre wall - days before he turns 90 
The Sun - 2 hours ago 
DAYS before celebrating his 90th birthday Sir David Attenborough took his passion for conservation to new heights... 

Sir David Attenborough opens global hub for nature conservation 
TRAFFIC - Wildlife Trade News - 19 hours ago 
The campus was officially opened by Sir David Attenborough, after whom the building housing the campus has been...