A unique celebration of the beauty and diversity of the Isle of Man will be showcased at the Sayle Gallery from 17 January to 2 February.
The special exhibition will feature the leading entries in the Biosphere Vannin photography competition organised by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture.
A preview event will take place during the evening of Thursday 16 January at the gallery on Harris Promenade in Douglas.
The powerful and striking images have been shortlisted by a panel of judges to support DEFA’s 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 bid 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 and join an illustrious list of international sites, including Uluru (Ayres Rock) in Australia, Cape Winelands in South Africa and the Camargue Delta in France.
It would help to raise global awareness of the Isle of Man as a place that successfully brings together a thriving business community, rich cultural heritage, outstanding landscapes and varied wildlife ecosystems. This in turn could have major benefits for education, tourism and a number of other economic activities.
The winning photographs from the DEFA competition will become a focal point of the Biosphere Vannin campaign and appear in publicity material to support the Isle of Man’s nomination.
The competition attracted a very strong entry, with 243 digital images submitted by professional and amateur photographers across six categories – Coast, Culture, Farmland, Glens, Towns/Villages, and Uplands.
The challenge was to capture the real essence of what makes the Isle of Man such a special place to live, work and visit and show people interacting with the Island’s amazing natural environment.
Peter Longworth, DEFA’s Environmental Protection Officer – Sustainability and Climate Change, said: ‘The judges were impressed by the exceptionally high standard of the submissions. Photographers grasped the idea of capturing a living landscape, rather than simply showing the beauty of nature in isolation. The images depict people interacting with our environment – enjoying it, working with it and helping to take care of it.’
He added: ‘We are delighted that the Sayle Gallery has agreed to host an exhibition of the shortlisted photographs and I would encourage as many people as possible to call in and take a look.’