It is hoped that a new figure at a conservation charity will help bring the island’s population closer to nature and show off the rich diversity of the island’s environment.

Manx Wildlife Trust has announced its first biosphere artist in residence.

Local painter and photographer Clare Payne is the first to take up the role, created in partnership with UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man and funded by the Isle of Man Arts Council, and will join the charity throughout the next year

Manx Wildlife Trust believe that the new role will help create close connections with the public to Manx nature, through the medium of art, and say that the aim behind the creation of the post is to enable people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy the island’s culture and the arts, as well as inspiring them to take a closer interest in all things connected to the Manx nature, ecosystem and countryside.

The environmental charity would also like to see the new role create works of art that will lead to a lasting legacy as a ’celebration of the island’s rich and important species and habitats’.

’Engaging with people has always been a focus for conservation organisations, as ultimately we need the people to care and deliver actions for nature if we are to achieve our goals,’ said Leigh Morris, from Manx WildLife Trust.

’To this aim, in 2022, we are aiming to increase our interactions with the Isle of Man community, and our new artist in residence, Clare Payne, adds a fantastic new dimension to how we are able to do this.

’I am very much looking forward to seeing how Clare will use the role to bring art, nature and Manx people closer together.’

Clare is a well-known painter and photographer on the island, whose art work focuses on natural forms, animals and dramatic and evocative seascapes.

She held an exhibition late last year at the Artea gallery, in Port Erin, and was also one of the chosen artists featured in the ’Ellyn’ showcase exhibition, organised and held by the Isle of Man Arts Council, where she displayed her work alongside many other local artists.

’I am absolutely over-the-moon to be awarded this amazing opportunity,’ said Clare.

’We have some fantastic art projects planned to collaborate with the Manx community and create some fabulous works, promoting the Isle of Man’s wonderful wildlife and wild spaces.

’As a conservation "artivist", I aspire to inspire the Manx public of all ages and interests to love our incredible environment and, through art, I really believe we can raise awareness to support and celebrate the diversity of our unique biosphere.’

Clare will be working on collaborative and individual art projects at events, including Manx Wildlife Trust’s ’BioBlitz’ at Groudle Glen on Saturday, May 7, part of Manx Wildlife Week, and the ’Festival of the Sea’, held in Port Erin during July.

The residency will also be developing other, more art focused, events throughout the year.

The residency will include a focus on sites in the north of the island, including the newly created Woodland Park, above Ramsey Hairpin, several nature reserves across the island and the Ayres Nature Discovery Centre.

More details on the role and how to become involved with Clare’s work, along with ways for local to sponsor or display some of the works, created as part of this residency, are available by emailing [email protected]