Return to the Blog Home Page
Highly Commended in the Rural Business Awards
I won ‘Highly Commended’ in this year’s Rural Hero category of the Yorkshire Post Rural Awards 2019 and my gallery was a finalist in the Rural Business category. Yorkshire offers such a diversity of creative businesses so it really means something to be recognised for my work with wildlife and conservation; something that underpins all of my artwork.
I am a founding member of the Wolds Barn Owl Group, a charity that helps to restore habitats for owls on the Yorkshire Wolds by putting up and monitoring the success of owl boxes.
I also run Nest Boxes on the Wolds. Since its inception 20 years ago, I have personally put up more than 200 bird boxes across the Wolds countryside for this charitable project and provided free advice to local landowners on how to successfully position boxes. I monitor these boxes closely, assist in the ringing of birds and keep detailed records of breeding successes in the region.
This project has been a tremendous success. When I first moved to Thixendale in 1998 there were no barn owls living in the vicinity. There is now a thriving barn owl population on the Yorkshire Wolds.
I am the North East representative for Mustelid Rescue UK and take in stoats or weasels found by members of the public from as far afield as Newcastle and Doncaster. I hand-rear the young kits until they are ready to be released into the wild.
I also have close links with the Ryedale Wildlife Rehabilitation and work regularly with this centre releasing animals into the wild. My pioneering method of using wild owls to foster rescued owlets and raise them as their own is now an established part of this work. And this project has been such a success it has been recognised by the World Owl Trust, of which I am a patron.
Watch the short video below to learn more about my artwork and gallery:
About my gallery
If you have been to my gallery then you will know that it is so much more than a space to display my fine art paintings. Located on a single-track road on the approach the remote Yorkshire Wolds village of Thixendale, the building is also home to sculpture and photography displays, a wildlife research hub, an informative educational centre, a rural shop, and a framing gallery.
Evolved over 20 years, it is a unique art business based on the concept of a commitment to research wildlife, to inform others and to sell artwork. Guests here can immerse themselves in the lives of Britain’s wildlife via displays of my detailed artwork, information boards, photographs, and expertly produced wildlife films.
And there are also live video feeds from more than 60 cameras hidden inside animal nests and purpose-built wildlife habitats in and around the grounds surrounding the gallery. The opportunity to engage in the secret worlds of British wildlife has been likened to a “ true Springwatch” experience.
A Wildlife Research Hub & Education Centre
Recently my art gallery was recognised as a centre for scientific research and it is now supported by the Government’s research and development programme for the work we do here recording animal behaviour on the live screens.
Local schools and educational charities also use the venue to learn about the value of wildlife and conservation in the countryside. In the last year alone 10 different primary schools chose to study my work and organised school visits here.
Plans for the future
The gallery is constantly growing and adapting to new buying trends. Next year we plan to increase our growing international exports with plans to send more art prints, calendars, greetings cards and luxury art gifts around the globe. There are also plans to take a mobile exhibition of my artwork to Canada and Africa.
A new animal behaviour research project is also underway, this time involving badgers. I have already built a new underground habitat complete with hidden cameras to monitor and record two young badgers that moved into it this summer and my research team are now gathering important information about the habits of these shy creatures.
I also have plans to make my wildlife research films available to buy.
Author: Robert E Fuller