Wildlife charity excited by response to lockdown inspired Open Call to Artist’s ahead of Postcard show planned for Nottinghamshire Nature Reserve

Wildlife charity excited by response to lockdown inspired Open Call to Artist’s ahead of Postcard show planned for Nottinghamshire Nature Reserve

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is calling on more local people to join the hundreds that have already submitted artwork ahead of an event planned for the Idle Valley Nature Reserve.

The spectacular reserve, off North Road Retford, is one of the largest wildlife areas in the region and set to host a unique lockdown inspired Postcard Show later in the year.

The Open Call to artists, amateur and professional, for postcard sized pieces was created in response to the dramatic way people have sought to connect with nature throughout the lockdown period. The charity’s aim is to build on and capture this connection by staging an exhibition of new art. With more than 200 entries already submitted from across the UK and overseas, the Wildlife Trust is keen to ensure that local people and wildlife are well represented at the show.

Mushrooms postcard show entry by @jannahart


Speaking about the Open Call, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Head of Communications Erin McDaid said: “The past few months have been difficult for everyone but the way so many people have turned to nature for escape and relaxation has been a real positive. Many of our nature reserves have been busier than ever and local people have continued to enjoy the Idle Valley, so we’d delighted to see plenty of local entries exhibited to reflect just how much local wildlife and wildlife areas mean to the people across Nottinghamshire.”

Whilst Idle Valley Nature Reserve has remained open for visitors, social distancing measures and the need to furlough staff to protect funding and jobs has meant that the car park, café and shop at the reserve have remained closed. Erin added: “We’re working hard to reopen the facilities as soon as we practically can and it’s great to have the prospect of hosting an eclectic and stunning exhibition at Idle Valley in our sights.”

Sunset postcard show entry by @harriet_hewitt_designs_


To make the Open Call accessible and to encourage as many artists as possible to take part, the call is for original artwork of traditional post card size. Artists can utilise any art technique or style such as drawing, textile, stencil, water colour or graphic design and material - as long as entries are A6 postcard sized.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the Open Call, Head of People & Nature Trish Evans said: “We know that access to and a connection with nature is vital for our wellbeing and it’s been wonderful to see so many people seeking solace in nature during the past few months. Just as people have been inspired by nature during lockdown, we want this connection to inspire people to create new art.”

Entry is free and The Wildlife Trust hopes by hosting a postcard show, with all entries being standard A6 size, the prospect of entering will be less daunting, even for first time or occasional artists. 

Pigeon postcard show entry by @mollygibsondesign


Trish added: “Whether you regularly enjoy a bit of visual art or wish to have a go at putting pencil, pen or brush to paper for the first time in a long time, why not have a go and take part? Nature is part of our life support and entries can be inspired by the wonder and beauty of the natural world, our relationship with nature in lockdown; the reality that nature needs our help or reflect viewpoints of nature.”

During the exhibition a number of Awards will be announced including: The Wilder Award with a prize of £200 which will go to an entry chosen by an invited group of artists, curators, ecologists and staff and volunteers from Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. The Optima Graphic Design Consultants Award, with a prize of £100 will be selected by the team at Optima Graphic Design Consultants, long-term supporters and regular creative collaborators in Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s campaigns. A People’s Award, again with a prize of £100, which will go to an entry voted for by visitors to the exhibition.

After the exhibition at Idle Valley Nature Reserve, the Trust’s largest site which covers over 600 hectares of wetlands, woodland and other wildlife habitat alongside the River Idle on the edge of Retford, the original artworks will be sold to generate income for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s charitable work and help local wildlife.

Entry is free and the deadline for artworks to reach the Trust is Friday 31st July 2020. Details of how to take part, a template for entries as well as inspiration and ideas can be found at nottinghamshirewildlife.org/postcardshow


FInd out more about the postcard show