GOTL | Tessa Boase The Story of the RSPB’s Women Founders (12:37)


The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a conservation powerhouse. As the RSPB’s homepage proudly states – at the time of publishing this anyway – they are ‘Celebrating 100 Years of Saving Birds”. So, those grim-faced men holding indistinct placards in the black and white header photograph on the RSPB’s website, they would be the charity’s founders, would they?

Not even close. As author, journalist, and campaigner Tessa Boase explains in this wonderful shortcast, the founders were actually three remarkable women who took on the powerful plumage trade: Emily Williamson, Etta Lemon, and Eliza Phillips.  But as Tessa also reveals, it took determined detective work on her part – and a chance find in the RSPB’s own archives – to uncover the truth.  

Conservation (and birdwatching especially) has been saying for years that young women have few role models to follow, yet conservation itself appears to have buried a trio of female activists that have literally changed the world for birds and whose stories of determination, commitment, and passion are so wonderfully inspirational. Now, though, thanks to Tessa Boase, those stories are being told and will (hopefully) encourage young conservationists long into the future.