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Digital Noah's Ark Wins Prestigious Environmental Award

1 October 2003

ARKive, the digital Noah's Ark for the 21st century was awarded a prestigious British Environment and Media Award (BEMA) for the best Environmental Website at an award ceremony held last night in London.

Launched in 1989 by Media Natura and run by WWF since 2001, The British Environment and Media Awards (BEMAs) have become a hugely popular and important event to giving recognition to the critical role the media plays in communicating the importance of environmental protection.

Presenter of the BEMAs, Alistair McGowan of BBC Television's The Big Impression, said: "The judges felt ARKive was an outstanding site that catered for lots of different audiences, including children, parents and professionals. One judge said that 'the concept behind the site is amazing' and all the judges felt the site was an excellent use of public funding."

ARKive was launched in May 2002 by its patron, Sir David Attenborough and harnesses the latest in digital technology to bring together, for the first time, the world's most important nature films, photographs, sound recordings, and memories, then using them to build vivid and fact-backed portraits of Earth's endangered plants and animals. The project's aim is to provide a permanent safe haven for the records, and the insights they offer, and to make the best of the collection globally accessible, for pleasure, learning and research, via a free, click-and-view website - www.arkive.org

Since its launch the site has attracted more than 350,000 visitors from 120 different countries who have requested nearly 1.5 million pages from its on-line library of multi-media species portraits.

ARKive project manager Harriet Nimmo said: "We are very honoured to have been presented such a distinguished award, acknowledging the importance of the project whilst recognising that ARKive is becoming an invaluable tool for all concerned with the well-being of the natural world."

This week also saw the launch of two new satellite sites, Planet ARKive (www.planetarkive.org) and ARKive Education (www.arkiveeducation.org) for children and their educators which packages and presents the information in ways specially tailored to meet the needs of their distinct audiences.

Like the main site, each of the satellites gives free access to the fast growing store of wildlife images, sounds and fact-files which have been lodged in the project's digital vaults by an international array of nature film producers, photography libraries, science and conservation institutes and by individual academics and enthusiasts.

The whole ARKive project is an initiative of The Wildscreen Trust, a UK-registered educational charity which is working to raise conservation awareness by encouraging and applauding excellence in wildlife film-making and related media. It also manages WILDSCREEN, the international festival of moving images from the natural world.

Media queries/ interviews/ photo requests Hamish MacCall, 0117 915 7102 (Mobile: 07919 115133)

Notes

1. ARKive's media resources webzone offers electronic copies of the project briefing pack, a range of copyright-cleared wildlife images from the ARKive collection plus screen grabs from Planet ARKive and ARKive Education. To view what's on offer, please see: www.arkive.org.uk/news_media.html IMPORTANT NOTE: Images may only be used in association with ARKive news, and MUST be fully credited, as shown.

2. ARKive has currently profiled 800 species which includes 5,750 still images and around 20 hours worth of movie clips along with scientifically authenticate text to accompany each profile. The long term aim is to profile all 11,000 species threatened with extinction.

3. ARKive has benefited from $2m worth of technical support and hardware donations from Hewlett Packard Laboratories (Europe); £1.5m funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and £0.5m funding from the New Opportunities Fund. The project has also received generous donations of media records from broadcasting companies, commercial libraries, scientific institutions, conservation organisations and individual biologists, naturalists and photographers all over the world, and has the backing of all of the world's leading wildlife conservation groups.

4. The Wildscreen Trust's next WILDSCREEN festival takes place in Bristol from 10 to 15 October 2004. For details, see: www.wildscreen.org. The Trust is also a partner in a new festival, to be staged for the first time next year, at around the same time as Wildscreen. The Bristol Festival of Nature will offer a professional conference exploring communications and conservation, plus a fortnight of high quality discussions, screenings and events for the general public. For further details contact sam.burkey@wildscreen.org.uk

5. WWF is now known simply by its initials and the panda logo, in line with the whole international network. WWF, the global environment network, takes action to conserve endangered species, protect endangered spaces and address global threats, by seeking long term solutions.