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New Art Trail at WWT Washington Wetland Centre

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See the wonder of wetland nature through the eyes of the UK’s best-loved illustrator.

The ‘Drawn to Water: Quentin Blake at WWT partnership – a collaboration between renowned illustrator Sir Quentin Blake and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) – launched on May 18 at WWT Washington Wetland Centre with the first of three seasonal trails.

Featuring a selection of little before seen wetland-themed images from Sir Quentin’s personal archive, the beautifully illustrated guides accompanying the trails will take visitors on a journey around WWT Washington’s wetlands, woodlands and meadows, experiencing nature in new and unexpected ways with the help of his distinctive drawings.

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Commenting on the partnership, Quentin Blake said: “I am delighted to be sharing my pictures with WWT sites and their visitors through the Drawn to Water experience. This project appealed to me because I have a lifelong fascination of drawing wetland wildlife, especially birds. I can’t quite explain why but it may be because like us, they are on two legs and have expressive gestures. The drawings you will see are from my own personal archive, and many have rarely been seen in public before. Through Drawn to Water, I hope that seeing my artwork in places where these creatures are thriving will allow new audiences to enjoy wetland wildlife as much as I do, perhaps prompting a few people to pick up a pen, pencil or even a quill and do their own drawing.”

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Running until 2024, each of the three trails – summer, autumn, and winter – will come with its own unique illustrated guide to collect and keep, including a detachable bookmark.

These will focus on the differing wetland nature that flourishes at WWT Washington throughout the year; showcasing new life, sparkling water, visiting birds, diverse habitats and more – with Sir Quentin’s wonderful images helping bring it all to life.

As well as connecting visitors to wetlands through engaging illustrations, the trails will be supported by a range of art-based public activities designed for all ages and abilities.

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Involving numerous artists from the North East region, these begin during May half-term and will be followed by a host of themed events during the summer holidays and beyond.

To mark the launch of the Drawn to Water partnership and the activities going forward, staff and guests today took part in a nature journalling session with one of the artists, Northumberland-based Steve Pardue.(right).

WWT Washington’s Marketing Manager Deborah Nolan (left) said: “We’re so thrilled to have launched the first of the Drawn to Water trails at WWT Washington.

“Wetlands are inspirational places to be all year round, with each season bringing its own memorable nature moments and incredible species just waiting to be discovered.

“This illustrated summer guide is a gentle invitation to explore our site, encouraging visitors to stop and enjoy magical reedbeds, atmospheric woodlands and wonderful waterscapes filled with bird song and new life – to name just a few highlights.

“Research shows when people are connected with nature, they are more likely to have positive attitudes and behaviour towards the environment.

“Art and illustration are just one way to make that connection; encouraging us to slow down, take notice and appreciate the wild world around us.

“We hope that the Drawn to Water guides will do just that and help visitors of all ages and abilities access the wonderful wetland nature surrounding them.”

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How can visitors make the most of what’s on offer during the Drawn to Water: Quentin Blake partnership?

• Enjoy the summer trail and then return later in the year to follow the autumn and winter guides and collect all the bookmarks!

• Take part in the additional creative activities or sign up for an art workshop to learn a new skill. Find out what’s on here

• Join WWT and visit throughout the year to make the most of the seasonal highlights featured in the Drawn to Water trails

• Browse the Quentin Blake range of products for sale in our shops, with every penny spent supporting wetland conservation

• Share their wetland experiences using the hashtag #WWTQuentinBlake

May half-term activities (Saturday 27 May till Sunday 4 June) include art workshops, pond dipping, crafts. 

The Drawn to Water summer trail is on now and runs until Sunday 2 September. More information can be found here https://bit.ly/WA-Drawn-to-water-QB

Ready to visit?

If you’ve been inspired to explore WWT Washington Wetland Centre and see the Drawn to Water trail this summer, book your visit online now.

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