I’m a 19 year old amateur naturalist – living and breathing wildlife since I could walk. My first words were ‘trees’, followed by ‘bracken & gorse’, the best way of keeping me happy was taking me to the zoo, and at three years old saw nothing wrong with walking across the whole woods behind my garden on my own to marvel at the natural treasures within. Much better than a sweet shop.
“Most children like animals, but they soon grow out of it” is a statement you’ll often hear, or something like it. Whilst that is unfortunately increasingly true with many young people who are not given enough encouragement to enjoy nature, this was definitely not in my case. Soon enough the local zoo became a monthly destination as I joined their junior club at seven, my birthday/christmas presents largely consisted of natural history books, and the woods became a favourite evening haunt in order to keep up with the nocturnal goings-on of fox and barn owl families. At the age of 12 I even made my first foray into natural history broadcasting, joining the CBBC breakfast show ‘Level Up’ as their animal expert.
Having caught the bug for spreading the word of nature there, I started the very blog you are reading to spread the word of wildlife’s sheer unbeatable beauty, curiosity and wonderful flabbergasty-ness, both through the creative and scientific blend of nature writing and the up-front aspect of photography – my articles for the Independent’s blog site allow even more to be aware of this.
Currently a Zoology undergraduate at the University of Exeter Cornwall Campus from September 2013, I continue to do the best I can for nature and conservation – surveying species’ and leading walks at Fishlake Meadows, a wonderful wetland site in my hometown, monitoring badger setts and their occupants for the New Forest Badger Group and volunteering at Marwell Zoo & the New Forest Wildlife Park being just some examples. Ultimately, I aim to set up a wildlife organisation engaged with rewilding and restoring Britain’s natural history and engaging young people in conservation, whilst at the same time encouraging as many as I can to stand up for nature through writing and broadcasting.