Passionate about wildlife and equally passionate about accurately interpreting her subjects, SOFA member Pollyanna Pickering has dedicated her life to environmental conservation, both on the national and international stage.
And now Pollyanna has been recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Inspirational Women Awards held in Derby on 7th March.
The trophy was presented by the founder of the awards, Sonya Robotham, who said “We were so impressed by Pollyanna’s achievements across a wide range of sectors that we are proud to confer our highest honour on her, as someone who has not only made a significant and sustained contribution to life and the community in Derby and Derbyshire, but whose impact is felt far beyond the County.”
Pollyanna lives and works in a Victorian farmhouse in a tiny hamlet in the Peak District of Derbyshire. From her studio in this rural setting, she completes her critically acclaimed paintings, and produces exclusive work for corporations including Harrods. Her published work is sold in over 80 countries worldwide. She is most pleased when her work can raise money for causes close to her heart, and has designed for every major wildlife charity in the UK including the RSPB, WWF, Guide Dogs for the Blind and over 50 others.
In order to study and paint wildlife in its natural habitat, Pollyanna has braved some of the remotest and most inhospitable corners of the world. She has canoed through crocodile infested rivers and been charged by a wild tiger while searching for endangered species. In order to paint wild polar bears, she lived with the Inuit, travelling by dog sled and sleeping on the ice in tents and igloos at night. She was the first western woman ever to travel into a remote area of the Tibetan borderlands, where she worked in a hospital for sick pandas, and is the only wildlife artist ever to have painted the Ethiopian wolf – the most endangered wolf in the world – from life.
Every journey Pollyanna makes is followed by an exhibition of work which raises funds to help protect the animals which she so loves, through the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation. Pollyanna established this charitable organisation with the aim of both alleviating the suffering of individual animals and conserving endangered species and habitats. Pollyanna also acts as patron of many other charities including The Born Free Foundation and The Badger Trust.
Pollyanna continues to set herself incredible personal challenges – last year she went on expedition into the Antarctic – and recently trekked through the Virunga mountains in Rwanda to study and paint mountain gorillas.
Pollyanna said ‘It is incredible to be given such a wonderful award for doing something I love. Looking back on my career even I find it hard to believe that I have managed to come so far, in spite of all the many challenges and setbacks over the years. These awards are all about inspiring other women and young girls to follow their dreams and their passion, and I am very honoured to be recognised in this way.”