British naturalist ornithologist, conservationist, painter, naval officer sportsman. and explorer Sir Peter Scott CH, CBE, DSC and Bar, MID, FRS, FZS was born in London 14th September 1909 , The only child of Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott and sculptor Kathleen Bruce and was only two years old when his father died. Robert Scott, in a last letter to his wife, advised her to “make the boy interested in natural history if you can; it is better than games.” and his godfather was J. M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan. He was educated at Oundle School and Trinity College, Cambridge, initially reading Natural Sciences but graduating in the History of Art in 1931. Like his mother, he displayed a strong artistic talent and had his first exhibition in London in 1933. His wealthy background allowed him to follow his interests in art, wildlife and many sports, including sailing and ice skating. He represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland at sailing in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, winning a bronze medal in the O-Jolle class dinghy.
During World War II, Scott served in the Royal Navy, emulating his father. He served first in destroyers in the North Atlantic but later moved to commanding the First (and only) Squadron of Steam Gun Boats against German E-boats in the English Channel. He is also partly credited with designing ‘shadow camouflage’, which disguised the look of ship superstructure. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery. In 1948, he founded the organisation with which he was ever afterwards closely associated, the Severn Wildfowl Trust (now the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust) with its headquarters at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. In the years that followed, he led ornithological expeditions worldwide, and became a television personality, popularising the study of wildfowl and wetlands. His BBC natural history series, Look, ran from 1955 to 1981 and made him a household name. He wrote and illustrated several books on the subject, including his autobiography, The Eye of the Wind (1961). In the 1950s, he also appeared regularly on BBC radio’s Children’s Hour, in the series, “Nature Parliament”. Scott was also one of the founders of the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly called the World Wildlife Fund), and designed its panda logo. His pioneering work in conservation also contributed greatly to the shift in policy of the International Whaling Commission and signing of the Antarctic Treaty, the latter inspired by his visit to his father’s base on Ross Island in Antarctica. Scott was a long-time Vice-President of the British Naturalists’ Association, In June 2004, Scott and Sir David Attenborough were jointly profiled in the second of a three part BBC Two series, The Way We Went Wild, about television wildlife presenters and were described as being largely responsible for the way that the British and much of the world views wildlife.Scott’s life was also the subject of a BBC Four documentary called “Peter Scott – A Passion for Nature” produced in 2006
During his life he won many awards, In 1943, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) “for skill and gallantry in action with enemy light forces”, and was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1942 King’s Birthday Honours. He was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1953 Coronation Honours. In the 1987 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) “for services to conservation”. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 1973 for his contribution to the conservation of wild animals. He had been a founder of the World Wildlife Fund, a founder of several wetlands bird sanctuaries in Britain, and an influence on international conservation. He received the WWF Gold Medal and the J. Paul Getty Prize for his work. Peter Scott Sadly passed away on 29 August 1989 however he leaves behind an impressive legacy and made a a valuable and enduring contribution to nature and wildlife.