A COUNTYWIDE search is launched in Yorkshire today to recognise the important conservation work carried out by people whose efforts are often misunderstood: game keepers and water bailiffs.
To the anti-field sports lobby, these men - and increasingly women - are merely there to shore-up country sports for the rich, the same blinkered attitude with which many townsfolk viewed fox hunting.
In fact, they have been doing vital conservation work for centuries on key landscape features like heather moors, woodland and river banks, all of which could have been smothered by brush and scrub but for their efforts;
Now, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is seeking nominations for long-serving keepers and bailiffs so that they can be entered for conservation awards to be presented at this summer's Game Fair at Belvoir Castle, near Grantham.
This region has many keepers and they are an important part of the traditional fabric of rural life, but the job they do is often misunderstood or overlooked," said CLA Yorkshire director, Dorothy Fairburn.
We are looking for keepers who have completed 40 years service. They are custodians of the countryside. In areas where wildlife is abundant, where habitat is healthy and diverse and where nature truly is in balance, the one consistent factor is a good gamekeeper."
For details of the awards and how to nominate someone contact the CLA Game Fair office on 01256 389767.