The Wild Voices Project

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by my friend and highly esteemed conservationist Matt Williams for a new podcast project called Wild Voices. It’s a fantastic new concept documenting ‘the voices of the people saving nature’, and to be honest I was thrilled to be asked to take part alongside other naturalists like Melissa Harrison and Kate Bradbury. You can hear us chatting about taxidermy, Farthing Wood and shipwrecked relatives by listening to the podcast on Soundcloud here, and please do keep an eye on the project and listen to all the other amazing conservationists trying to protect the natural world. Enjoy!

A Vision for Nature

I’m not usually one to love Mondays, but today saw the launch of an inspirational new report that’s been the collaborative creation of hundreds of young conservationists across the country. The Vision for Nature report contains the hopes of young people for the future of the natural world, and our ideas on how we can help wildlife to flourish by 2050. I’m really proud to say that I have contributed to its existence, along with many other wonderful friends and acquaintances from the world of wildlife. These include ecologists, activists, artists, writers, teachers and zoologists, as well as the marvellous members of A Focus on Nature (AFON), the UK’s largest young naturalists’ network.

12031406_10153261026432252_7197506819037175575_o

The AFON gang at the Response for Nature launch, Westminster

It won’t be surprising to hear that a lot of young people feel utterly disillusioned by our government today. It often seems that our voices are not heard because we are simply not influential enough, rich enough or important enough. A survey by CensusWide revealed recently that almost nine out of ten young people want to see more action to protect our natural world, demonstrating that for our generation it is perhaps a much more critical issue than for those before us.

This morning, I emailed the Vision for Nature report to my MP Damian Hinds, to ask him to listen to young people and consider our hopes for the future when making vital decisions in parliament for this country. We will now be sharing this report across social media and with every network of people who want to listen – please read it and share it with friends, family and colleagues. You can also see my pine marten illustration on page 37… Enjoy!

“Most people miss the point when talking about the environment. Protecting nature is not about limiting ourselves to protect some other unrelated entity. It is in fact about enriching ourselves, and having respect for that which allows us life. It is ensuring that our fellow creatures continue to flourish, and about ensuring that future generations will be born into the same lush canvas of natural complexity we have all been so fortunate to enjoy.” VFN, 5

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 13.48.38.png

Thirty Days Wild: Life Intervenes

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

It would appear I can’t count to thirty. My last post for the Wildlife Trusts’ latest campaign was posted on the sixteenth of June, and since then I have completely neglected writing about enjoying nature every day for a month. This is mainly because of a long weekend away, a job interview and the horrendousness that is Brexit, as I spent a few days in mourning, then denial, and then focused all my anger into furious tweets about the state of our country. Somewhere in all that I accidentally abandoned blogging for 30 Days Wild, but rest assured I still took part, got outside and experienced the natural world every day – I made elderflower ice lollies and looked after three rat babies (below), as well as identifying wildflowers and watching a trotting fox at dawn. If you took part I hope you enjoyed it too, and I look forward to going wild again next June!

IMG_0178.JPG

Sixteen Days Wild: Strawberries

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

This morning I went for a walk in the rain. It was quite warm and refreshing, and I was on the hunt for wild strawberries. We have a delicious crop growing behind one of our farm buildings by the beehives and they provided me with a tasty eleven o’clock treat. Wild strawberries are tiddly versions of the domesticated crop, and are usually surrounded by tiny white flowers beaming out amidst the grass.

‘There were never strawberries
like the ones we had
that sultry afternoon’
– Edwin Morgan

IMG_0101.JPG

Fifteen Days Wild: Firewood

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

As most probably know, I love drawing and painting wildlife in all sorts of ways. At work we have a pyrography pen for writing signs on pieces of wood – it’s a hot metal stub with interchangeable nibs that burns gently into the surface. I wanted to see if it could be used for more than just writing and was amazed to find an array of ‘pyrography art’ on Pinterest. I’m off to a wedding this weekend so decided to make them something a bit different as a reminder of such a cool celebration. The wood is a piece of English oak that had been chucked on our firewood pile, kindly saved for me by a colleague in case I wanted to use it!

IMG_0092.JPG

Fourteen Days Wild: Buzzard Ahoy!

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

The skies above our farm are forever filled with birds of prey, usually buzzards, kestrels, red kites, hobbies and peregrines. There was also a barn owl snacking in our Saxon house for a while! I never tire of seeing these birds floating around in the currents, and today I spent a few quiet minutes watching a pair of buzzards scouring the land for prey. Most mornings you can stand and listen to them mewing to each other across the forest. It always saddens me to read about raptor persecution around agricultural and gamekeeping land; unfortunately, the lives of our birds are so often disregarded in favour of greed, bloodlust and ignorance.

IMG_9899

Thirteen Days Wild: Fuzzy Friend

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

We were walking across the Downs when we found a gaggle of these fuzzy pals making their way across the path. I have very little knowledge of butterflies and moths but I really love seeing caterpillars, especially the fluffball ones. My friend Sean has since informed me that this is the caterpillar of the drinker moth, which Google tells me looks like a beautiful autumn leaf. I’m the first to admit I’m more of a mammal and bird kind of naturalist, but it’s always wonderful to learn new species! My improvement areas are definitely bugs…

IMG_9987.JPG

Twelve Days Wild: River Wagtail

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

This morning we went for a wander through the lanes of Lyme Regis, visiting antique shops and bookshops and one amazing farmer place selling delicious garlic samples. After having coffee in a bakery, we decided to explore down one of the twisty alleyways that lead off every street (I think it’s a Saxon design). We found ourselves on the banks of the river that leads through the town, and ahead of us were two grey wagtails hopping along the water looking for grubs. We watched them for a while and stood our feet in the running water; everything was mossy.

IMG_0081.JPG

Eleven Days Wild: Jurassic Coast

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

As most Britons know, Lyme Regis is situated on the border of Dorset and Devon and forms one section of a large stretch of shoreline called the Jurassic Coast. The area is often subject to landslides, which in turn reveal thousands of fossils hidden within the depths of the cliffs. A walk along the beach usually results in a few fossilised treasures, and we managed to find one or two to take home while ambling through the pebbles in the morning sun. For anyone who hasn’t been fossiling, I highly recommend it! We also spotted a couple of tiny crabs in the rockpools and lots of salty wildflowers.

IMG_0053.JPG

Ten Days Wild: The Sea, the Sea

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

Over the weekend we took a trip to Lyme Regis with Dave’s family, mainly to lollop about, drink prosecco and gaze at the sea. We walked to the end of the Cobb and saw beyond the boulders a trio of cormorants, hanging around in pursuit of fish. Eventually one flew away over the waves in search of something, but from where we stood they looked like dark guardians of the ocean. Afterwards we went crabbing off the harbour wall and naughtily fed bits of bait to the gulls lingering around the bay. I managed to catch one gull in slo-mo as they came in to eat ham from Dave’s hand. Such drama!

IMG_0030.JPG