A picture of children enjoying the sea and sunshine at Garwick Beach has scooped top prize in the Biosphere Vannin photography competition promoted by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture.
Annie Eastham took the striking image in Laxey Bay during an Adventure Day organised by the Children’s Centre.
Her effort was deemed by the panel of judges to have best captured the essence of what makes the Isle of Man such a special place.
The challenge for photographers was to show people interacting with the Island’s amazing natural environment – and Annie’s picture was selected from more than 250 entries.
The winning photos from the DEFA competition will become a focal point of the Biosphere Vannin campaign and appear in publicity material to support the bid to include the Isle of Man as a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserve.
Biosphere reserves are designated by UNESCO as areas that balance the needs of people, business and nature. Their main purpose is to encourage conservation, sustainable development and active involvement in the environment. In a similar way to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, biosphere reserves are acknowledged as shining examples to the rest of the world.
DEFA is currently working with a number of partners with a view to submitting a nomination for UNESCO status later this year. If successful, the Isle of Man would become the first country in its entirety to be designated as a biosphere reserve.
Annie Eastham said: ‘I’m thrilled to win the competition. I just thought the kids looked like they were having a great time; I must take a photo of that!’
She explained: ‘The idea of the Children’s Centre Adventure days is to allow Manx children the opportunity to explore parts of the Island they may not ordinarily get to see. On that particular day we sailed over with a group of young people from Laxey.
‘It was a beautiful day, one of those calm summer days that we now dream about. We were able to pull the boat up onto the beach at Garwick and let the kids get off to explore the many nooks and crannies. We lit a fire, cooked damper bread and marshmallows and then headed back to Laxey to catch the last of the tide. We took a few pictures that day, but this one definitely best captures what a magical day it was, what a fantastic place the Isle of Man is to live and what wonderful opportunities the Isle of Man has for children to play and explore.’
The idea behind the Biosphere Vannin photography competition was to capture more than nature in isolation. The focus was on people enjoying, learning, interacting and helping to take care of our natural environment.
DEFA Minister Phil Gawne MHK said: ‘We were extremely impressed with the high standard and variety of the entries. There were so many great photos that we were delighted to have an opportunity to display a selection at the Sayle Gallery, so more people could see them. More than 900 have already visited the Gallery in the short time the exhibition has been on display.’
The six category winners will each receive a prize of £50 – Coast (John Keggin), Culture (Annie Eastham, overall winner), Farmland (Anna Kerruish), Glens (Tony Massey), Towns/Villages (Janice Farnan), and Uplands (Anna Kerruish).
For further information about the Biosphere Vannin campaign, visit the project website www.biospherevannin.im The site, which is currently under development, will also feature all the shortlisted photographs from the DEFA competition.