Pollyanna Pickering is passionate about wildlife and equally passionate about accurately interpreting her subjects. She is a champion of environmental conservation, both on the national and international stage, and is a indefatigable campaigner for the welfare of endangered, sick and vulnerable creatures.
Pollyanna has dedicated her life to the welfare of animals - not only in conserving habitats and species, but also alleviating the suffering of individuals. She is the Founder of the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation which raises funds for the protection and rescue of wildlife, endangered species and the environment as well as emergency disaster relief .
For fifteen years Pollyanna ran her own wildlife sanctuary, 'Brookvale Bird Rescue' - funded entirely by her painting. A a licensed registered keeper, she intended to care for birds of prey which need specialist treatment, feeding and care many other rescue centres are not equipped to provide. However as news of the sanctuary spread, every kind of creature was brought to her doorstep - she cared for, reared and re-released foxes, squirrels, hares, garden birds, even bats, toads and slow worms!
Eventually when her work as an artist began to take her away from home more and more, she had to regretfully take the decision to scale down the animal hospital - though she continues to care for her permanent residents. In 2001 she formally established the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation, initially intending to raise funds to support other wildlife hospitals and sanctuaries. In its first year, the Foundation built tunnels to help rehabilitate orphan badgers in a rescue centre in the Northeast, and provided an incubator and equipment for a hedgehog hospital. Since then she has widened the scope of the fund-raising to include conservation projects abroad - major projects include :
"The Eye of the Tiger" in the Summer of 2001 raised over £5,500.00 for Project Tiger, and the Victims of the Gujurat earthquake in India. In addition a letter writing campaign was initiated urging the Indian Prime Minister to give priority to Tiger Conservation. A petition of over 1,000 signatures was sent to the Indian Government. Over 100 slides of Indian wildlife were sent to the Rajasthan province of India for use in a travelling education programme in schools.
The On Top of the World appeal raised £3,700 to buy equipment for Born Free's project to rear and rehabilitate orphan polar bears in the Arctic, and in conjunction with the Brigitte Bardot Foundation a petition of over 1,000 signatures was sent to the Canadian Government in protest at the continued clubbing of seal cubs.
The Rhino ark appeal raised £4575.00 to help create a safe haven for Rhinos and other wildlife within the Aberdare national Park in Kenya.
The Company of Wolves Appeal raised £5660.00 for wolf conservation, £3650.00 of which purchased Rabies vaccine for the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Project, in conjunction with the Born Free Foundation.
The Land of the Snow Tiger Appeal is currently raising funds to build a tiger orphanage in the Chitwan National Park in India in conjunction with The Wildlife Defence Fund. A letter campaign is ongoing to try to halt the building of a pipeline through the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve ' Kedrovaya Pad' which is home to a quarter of Russia's threatened species, including Siberian Tigers, and the Amur Leopard.
Many other grants have been made to other projects and organisations including Wolfwatch UK, Care for the Wild, Friends of the Sea Otter, Secret World Rescue Centre, Wood Green Animal Shelter, the Disasters Emergency Committee, Refuge, and the Wildlife Trusts.
Pollyanna continues in her support of other charities as International Vice President of The Wildlife Defence Fund, Trustee of the African/Asian Conservation Trust, Patron of Naturewatch Raptor Rescue and FABLE. Within her own community she is Honorary president of the North Derbyshire and District RSPCA and Derby and District Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. She has acted as appeal patron for the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, and as Celebrity Ambassador for Hospital Radio Link.
Pollyanna is most pleased when her work can be used to support the work of charities which help animal welfare, and other concerns close to her heart. Specially commissioned Christmas cards, prints and gift ware have raised millions of pounds for good causes. These include Oxfam (1974), the Peak national Park (1975 and 1981), and the RSPB (since 1983). In 1985 Pollyanna began her close ongoing association with The Guide Dogs for the Blind, who chose one of her paintings for their first ever limited edition print published in 1994. By 1998 their catalogue featured over 60 of her designs.
Work has been published by many other charities including the International Sheep Dog Association (Since 1985), the World Wide Fund for Nature (since 1992), The National Trust (1991) the Cats Protection League (1992) , Nedscan, The Natural Medicine Society, Wood Green Animal Shelters, the Cleft Lip and Palette Association, (since 1993) , the National Canine Defense League, the Hedgehog Preservation Society, Blue Cross (since 1994), Care for the Wild , the International Fund for Animal Welfare (since 1995) The World Society for The Protection of Animals, (since 1996), Brooke Hospital for Animals, The Royal National Institute for the Blind, Rescued Animals in Need, The Kennel Club, The Sturge-Weber Foundation, Dog Aid Society of Scotland, and The Zoological Society of London as well as countless other smaller charities and organisations.
Pollyanna's artwork has benefited many international charities who have also commissioned work for publication, including the RSPCA in Hong Kong (since 1990), Second Sight (the American Guide Dogs association) (1996) the Singapore SPCA (since 1996) the Philippine Animal Welfare association (since 2000) and Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (Philippines) since 2005.
Pollyanna believes that the unique quality of her work comes from the time spent studying real animals in their natural habitat. Zoos and reference books, are no substitute for experiencing the heat and dust of the Masai Mara, or the biting, vicious cold of the High Arctic. It is this dedication which brings an unmistakable realism and vitality to her work.
Together with her daughter and business partner, Anna-Louise, who is an accomplished photographer, Pollyanna has embarked on a a remarkable ongoing series of expeditions to study and sketch wildlife in their natural habitats. These trips have inspired a number of critically acclaimed exhibitions, as well as a series of highly successful talks.
Pollyanna has travelled to some of the remotest corners of world, facing gruelling journeys into some of the planet's most inhospitable habitats. Pollyanna and Anna-Louiose were the first western women ever to reach a remote area of the Tibetan borderlands, where they worked in a hospital for sick pandas, helping to rear an orphaned baby panda.
Pollyanna has braved temperatures of -60, travelling by dog sled and sleeping in igloos to paint polar bears, and braved the heat of rain forests of central America, the jungles of India and plains of Africa in search of big cats. She has travelled widely in the deserts and mountains of North Amreica sketchoing the native wildlife. Recent expeditions have taken her to the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania, home to the world's largest remaining population of European wolves, and in January 2005 into the Siberian wastelands of Russia's Far East where she joined a team of russian scientitsts radio-tracking Amur Tigers.
Pollyanna gives up over 100 evenings every year to talk to societies throughout the UK about conservation world-wide . These talks both help raise awareness of the plight faced by many of the world's threatened species, and raise additional funds for her Foundation.