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(UK) Big Garden Birdwatch: More than 60 prisoners to take part this year

23rd January 2011

The Big Garden Birdwatch, in operation since the 1970s, now involves more than 500,000 people around the UK, including 61 inmates who have signed up from closed institutions around England and Wales. In Kirklevington prison in Cleveland around a dozen prisoners will take part.

Russ Bates, Head of land-based activities at Kirklevington, said working with nature through feeding the birds, keeping bees and even taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch can help with issues like anger management and keeping down prison violence.

“Prisoners have a lot of problems and a lot on their minds. For them to spend some time feeding the birds or keeping bees gives them a sense of purpose and has a calming effect,” he said.

Encouraging birds is also part of a ‘greening programme’ across the government estate, with targets for boosting wildlife on public land such as prison grounds.

At the very least Mr Bates said it gives prisoners a way to pass leisure time and a knowledge of bird names to pass onto their children - but it can inspire the prisoners to find employment, with some prisoners taking qualifications in conservation management.

Read more:

  • Read the Telegraph's full article here
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