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Today, Friday 22 May, marks the 2020 International Day for Biological Diversity. Although it doesn’t roll off the tongue, at its heart this day has a simple message: to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues at a global level.  

Here at the University, we are currently working to create the University’s first-ever Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), designed to enhance and promote biodiversity across the University’s estate. To improve, we first need to know where we’re starting from, so in 2017-18 a baseline assessment was conducted across the estate. The results of this survey are freely available, so you too can learn about the key habitats and species, as well as the biodiversity challenges and opportunities, we are facing.  

Long-term and large-scale progress requires far more than the actions of the University as an institution, however. To gather support for the protection of biodiversity, people must first be asked to place a value on biodiversity, to have an understanding of it, a relationship with it. This is often easier said than done, but the 2020 Biodiversity Photography Competition held throughout April aimed to do just that, despite lockdown limitations. We received some fantastic images but, as staff shared their discoveries of biodiversity on their doorsteps, the competition evolved beyond photography, developing into an online community that has become a vibrant place to ask questions, give answers and delve into biodiversity in a new way. We’re delighted to showcase the winning entries here, but to join the conversation and to see the Highly Commended photos, you’ll need to head on over to our Biodiversity Yammer group 

Category: Wild animal portraits

Winner: David Amann

This quirky shot immediately caught the eye of our judges, but we had no idea that this miniature snail was less than 2 inches long!                     
Category: People and nature 

Winner: Nikki Mann 

A wonderfully personal photo of Nikki’s seven-year old daughter gardening with biodiversity in mind. 
Category: Colour in nature 

Winner: Dawn Bradley 

Dawn’s photos not only encouraged others to spot rainbows in biodiversity, they nodded to the rainbows which show continuing support for key workers at this time. 
Category: Taken from a garden 

Winner: Andrea Frapporti  

How could we resist this portrait of Britain's unofficial national bird? As we spend more time in our own gardens, this sight will have become familiar to many over the past weeks.
Category: Taken on a local walk 

Winner: Annabel Sherwood  

Annabel managed to perfectly capture this month-long transformation of an oak tree during her lockdown walks. Fantastic to see spring springing!

Category: Pattern and texture 

Winner: Siobhan Hoffmann 

This isn’t just an intricate image but a generous start of something new as seeds from this photo have been posted across Cambridge to members of the Biodiversity Yammer group.  
Category: Landscape and skies 

Winner: Lloyd Mann 

The judges loved the stark contrast of these eye-catching silhouettes against a dramatic sky.
Category: Taken from a window or balcony  

Winner: Bev Cornaby 

With many people unable to venture outside during lockdown, the judges were drawn to Bev's sensitive picture of her indoor orchids mirroring the pink of the blossom outside.
Category: Spring 

Winner: Rhona Watson 

And last but by no means least, this pollen-dusted bee encapsulates the busyness and richness of spring in bloom!  

For all the entries, head over to our Biodiversity Yammer group.