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Award for man who's inspired one million children

Last modified: 09 January 2009

Peter Holden

During his time with the RSPB Peter Holden has inspired more than one million children

Image: Andy Hay

A lifetime spent enthusing the public about birds has earned the RSPB’s Peter Holden an MBE in the New Year Honour’s list.

Peter, who started working for the RSPB in 1969, was responsible for driving the RSPB’s youth membership. In 1975, Peter became the national organiser of the RSPB’s Young Ornithologists Club. Now known as Wildlife Explorers, it has grown to 168,000 members, making it the largest wildlife club for children in the world. Over time well over a million children have been members, including many of today’s foremost conservationists, including TV celebrity and RSPB Vice President Nick Baker. 

Richly deserved

Graham Wynne, the RSPB’s chief executive led the tributes. He said: “Peter's career with RSPB has spanned nearly 40 years. His passion for birds and for inspiring people about birds remains to this day – this award is richly deserved.”

Peter Holden was instrumental in developing and promoting the first ‘citizen science’ project in the UK – Big Garden Birdwatch – in 1979.  Initially for children, Peter’s vision enabled him to see the potential in extending the project to people of all ages. Now established as the world’s largest citizen science project – involving up to half a million participants monitoring millions of birds every year – it connects people with the wildlife outside their windows.

Peter has written nine books, including the highly-acclaimed RSPB Handbook of British Birds and the recently published RSPB Handbook of Garden Wildlife.

Big Garden Birdwatch celebrates its 30th birthday in 2009. In the last 30 years more than three million Big Garden Birdwatch hours have been clocked up!

To take part, people simply need to spend one hour over the weekend of 24-25th January, counting the birds in their garden or local park.

Find out more at: or by calling 0300 456 8330.

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