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Hamish Duncan Most Outstanding Photograph Winner

A day at National Geographic Kids Magazine

Hamish Duncan, the Winner of the Most Outstanding Photograph at the Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Awards 2014, won a day at National Geographic Kids magazine, to learn how the magazine is prepared and was given his own assignment for a day.

Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots Annual Awards 2014; Dr Jane Goodall, DBE, Tim Herbert, Hamish Duncan copy Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots Annual Awards 2014; Nepal, Hamish Duncan, Walhampton School, Most Outstanding Photograph Winner copy

Here is how Hamish describes his day:

“Last week, I had the privilege of visiting National Geographic Kids Magazine and then going on an assignment at the London Wetlands Centre thanks to the Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program and NG Kids Magazine.

I started the day at the magazine’s headquarters. The staff of 8 put together an amazing monthly magazine from start to finish. They also create an iPad version. Every issue is full of information that helps you understand the world around you. There are features on animals, the environment, travel and science, all done in a fun and entertaining way.

I like the contests, puzzles, and weird facts section the best.

I spent almost an hour with Chloe Ward, the Editorial Assistant, who showed me some of the printed proofs of their June issue, which hadn’t even gone on sale yet! We went through how the cover animal is decided; the content is finalised, researched and written; how the prizes for competitions are obtained; that all of the pages are checked multiple times to ensure they are absolutely perfect for their readers; about the 17 (soon to be 18) other editions of NG Kids available around the world; how the Junior Reporters page is run; as well as the relationship between the magazine, the NG Kids website and the new iPad app version. I did have some questions and Chloe answered them all!

Then Tim Herbert, the Editor, showed me how they plan, write and design the magazine. We saw printed proofs everyone on the team checks for errors before the final magazine is printed. They have to do a lot of research on the different stories to make sure their facts are right. Sometimes they get to travel places like Iceland, Canada or even India as part of their work on a story. I learned a lot about writing and selling a magazine. I was impressed how passionate they all were about their jobs and how they all pitch in as a team to get the magazine out.

Seeing how Nat geo Kids Magazine gets put together

Then, after a ten minute bus ride from the busy buzz of Hammersmith, we were in the peaceful sanctuary of the London Wetlands Centre. Until 1995 this was a reservoir that supplied water to London.  When the water supply went underground, the reservoir was no longer needed. Sir Peter Scott had the idea to restore the wetlands and preserve the area for future generations. Standing in the bird hide on the shore of the water, you can see how humans and nature can live in harmony. There are six hides in the center from which you can use the free binoculars and telescopes to watch the migratory birds visiting the pond. The helpful staff can help you identify grebes, coots, and herons and even identify the call of reed warblers. There are even a couple of kingfishers flashing around. The center also has captive species that they are helping to conserve and breed. My favourite are the otters. They get fed twice a day and I loved watching them dive after the food and then eat it up on the rocks. There are also bird feeds for the visitors to participate in every afternoon. We fed the tundra geese, some swans from Norway and some colourful ducks.

Otter hunting lunch (photo by Hamish Duncan) Peaceful wild lake with heron and gulls in the foreground, busy high rise and airplane in the background (Photo by Hamish Duncan) Short clawed Asian Otters eating their fish (photo by Hamish Duncan) Taking photos of the otters at London Wetlands Centre

It was a great day out.

Thank you Roots & Shoots and National Geographic Kids Magazine for making this happen!”

Hamish headshot-2

Hamish Duncan, Age 11

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