World Curlew Day - April 21
Do get in touch if I can help you with programmes, public speaking and writing.
I am delighted to have been awarded the 2017 BTO Dilys Breese Medal for outstanding Communication in Science. It was presented at a ceremony on the Mall Galleries in London.
Walking the John Muir Trail, 2017
In September 2017, I donned a rucksack and solo walked the John Muir Trail, perhaps the most spectacular long distance wilderness trail in North America. It is a gruelling, awesome 230 miles long and traverses the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. The cumulative ascent is 47,000 feet. It's not to be undertaken lightly, but I wanted to see and experience the landscape that inspired my hero John Muir. It took me three weeks, starting in the Yosemite Valley and ending on top of Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in N America below Alaska - a grand 14,500 feet. It was a tough and amazing trip. I will be writing about it soon, but here are some photos. Click on them to move through the gallery.
As Muir wisely advised, "Of all the paths you take in life, make sure some of them are dirt."
Welsh Curlew Conference, Wednesday January 24th, 2018
I am organising a one day conference to highlight the plight of the Curlew throughout Wales. It will be held in the Royal Welsh Showground. It is now full but we have kept a couple of spaces for any latecomers, especially farmers and land managers. Please can you contact me if you are interested in attending. The day is from 09.30 - 4.00. The conference will be opened by Welsh naturalist and TV presenter Iolo Williams.
"The curlew is such an iconic species in Wales. It's an integral part of our cultural and natural history and it's vital that we do everything possible to prevent it from disappearing altogether as a breeding bird."
Curlew used to be common throughout Wales, thousands bred on the mountains, fields and valleys and were part of Welsh life. From the 1980s numbers crashed and a recent estimate puts the breeding pairs at around 400.
We will explore what work is being done for Curlew in Wales and what practically needs to happen to bring them back.
Engagement with the natural world has never been more important. Children in secondary school interest in the world around them. Putting nature back into the heart of education, as a core subject, will keep continuity and allow those with a keen interest to develop it further, producing the naturalists and conservationists for the future.
The petition has been closed early because of the General Election, but it gained 10,000 signatures and will get a government response. I will post that when received. Thank you to everyone who helped.
Sir David Attenborough - "Good luck with your marathon walk"
The Curlew Walk is now finished and a heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped by offering bed and breakfast, encouragement, donations, expertise and kindness. As a result of the walk two workshops have been held so far to devise ways forward, and another two are planned.
Results of the Walk
A Curlews in Crisis workshop was held in Higginstown in Central Ireland on Friday November 4th. This resulted in a curlew Task Force which will push through protection for the birds in the next breeding season.
In February 2017 a second workshop was held at WWT Slimbridge which focussed on the plight of southern curlews. There are now fewer than 250 pairs breeding in southern England. This resulted in a Southern Curlew Forum which joins together those already working on curlews and offers a platform for advice and information exchange, as well as field visits. So far, it has been invaluable to prepare for the 2017 breeding season. Please see the website for details: www.curlewcall.org
To donate to curlew recovery projects - click on the logos....
The 19th Century naturalist, explorer, inventor and writer, John Muir, has long fascinated and inspired me. Born in Scotland in 1838 into a fundamentalist Christian family, he emigrated from Dunbar to Wisconsin when he was 10 years old.
In the land of natural abundance and opportunity he led the hard and unforgiving life of a frontier farmer, enduring tremendous adversity. For many this would have crushed and cowed the spirit. In Muir however bitterness never emerged, rather he went on to discover God, joy and wonder in the natural world.
His articles in newspapers and magazines were so inspiring that he turned a money-hungry America to look up from their balance sheets and outwards to the landscapes of their continent with new eyes, and in so doing saved much of it for the common good. His passion for nature and love of people lead him to become a founding father of the National Parks of America. He was the founder and first President of the Sierra Club.
Listen to a podcast I did on John Muir with Soul of California:
To read some reviews, please look here.