Mike Lubbock Receives Honor from King Charles III

Mike Lubbock Receives Honor from King Charles III

April 30, 2024

SCOTLAND NECK, NC – Mike Lubbock, co-founder of Sylvan Heights Bird Park, has been awarded the prestigious honor of an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by King Charles III to acknowledge his outstanding services for Global Wildlife Conservation of Water Birds. 

In lieu of traveling to Buckingham Palace to receive his award, Mr. Lubbock was presented with his MBE medal by Colin Gray, Deputy Consul General, during a ceremony at Sylvan Heights Bird Park on April 30th. “It really is a small, and select, and incredible group of people who receive the honor…and Mike Lubbock absolutely fits into that category”, said Gray during the ceremony. “It’s not just your work in terms of conservation and preservation…it’s also your legacy, your lasting commitment to ensuring that others can learn the importance of protecting our natural habitats and environments.”

Colin Gray, Deputy Consul General (right), presented Mike Lubbock with his MBE medal on April 30, 2024.

Lubbock received the award surrounded by more than 150 friends, family, and colleagues from around the world. “So many of you have traveled a long way to attend this occasion, which is quite overwhelming. I’m very proud and humbled to receive this award”, said Lubbock.

Speakers at the event included several renowned wildlife conservationists, including National Geographic wildlife photographer Joel Sartore. During his speech, Sartore presented Lubbock with a one-of-a-kind photographic print featuring portraits of the birds at Sylvan Heights Bird Park. “Nobody else on the planet has this or ever will have this”, said Sartore about the print. “In terms of birds I’ve photographed here, it measures in the hundreds now”.

National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore (right) and Brent Lubbock (left), presented Mike and Ali Lubbock with a one-of-a-kind photo print. Photo by Rich Lithgow, Halifax County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Mike Lubbock’s career in ornithology began at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) in Slimbridge, England, where he held positions as Curator and Director of Aviculture. Lubbock continually developed and improved waterfowl propagation techniques and did an extensive amount of field research expeditions in some of the world’s most remote natural habitats, with the goal of assuring the survival of those species that are disappearing in the wild.

Beltrán de Ceballos, a wildlife conservationist from Spain, recounted his experience working with Lubbock during the ceremony on Tuesday. “Mike, you are to blame for so many good things”, said de Ceballos. “You knew that the White-headed Duck population in Spain was no more than 30 individuals, and from that moment, we started a very nice operation with significant success. In summary, you are to blame that the Spanish population of White-headed Ducks is now around 3,000 birds.”

Lubbock, along with his wife Ali, founded the Sylvan Heights Avian Breeding Center in 1989, and Sylvan Heights Bird Park in 2006. Both organizations are dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats, as well as to educating future generations about the importance of saving wildlife.

Sylvan Heights Bird Park is home to more than 2,000 birds, and receives around 60,000 visitors each year, including thousands of students who engage in hands-on learning about conservation and the environment through the park’s education programs. The Sylvan Heights Avian Breeding Center conducts training programs for aspiring biologists, conservationists, and animal care professionals. “I’m proud of all the young people who have come through our doors”, said Lubbock after receiving his MBE award. “We have hosted over 700 interns throughout the years, and many have gone on to achieve great things working with birds and animals all over the world”.

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