Can you believe that this coming summer will mark an entire decade of my blogging journey?
I was a 21-year-old student of English Language and Communications, Journalism and Media Cultures when I started this blog. I was living in Perth, Western Australia undertaking a study abroad ‘sandwich’ year — an additional year of University between the 2nd and 3rd year of my degree, which I dedicated to studying Print Production and Web Publishing (the latter being the subject for which I first launched this blogging site) — and volunteering for every available conservation organisation in each city I visited while in the Southern Hemisphere.
Now, five months away from turning 31, I’ve worked professionally in London-based Journalism roles for 7 years, as both a Sub Editor for Discovery Education and Education Editor for National Geographic Kids magazine, and last year, after moving back to the county of Norfolk where I grew up, I had the privilege of spending the entire year as a full-time blogger here at Kate on Conservation. I’ve also spent the last 3 years serving on the Board of Trustees for Born Free Foundation — the charity whom I volunteered with at Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa as an 18-year-old; which was the original subject of this blog.
In the interim I’ve gotten married (twice, to the same man — I hasten to add), become a mother twice: to a wonderful little girl and boy born 18 months apart, and had the opportunity to work for myself at home with them during the challenging year that the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the globe.
My privilege is immense. And whilst I’d love to say I’ve been lucky, and that, like lightening, my experience could strike at anyone’s door; I know that’s not the truth.
Years of dedicated career planning, pulling all-nighters blogging while working 14-hour days, investment in education, courses; enlisting mentors, working for free at events to network with the right people, writing for free online and in print to spread important messages and become known as a commentator on the areas of wildlife conservation I’m most aligned with… the road has been as long and tiring as it has been rewarding.
Which brings me to the most important question as this decade draws to a close: What next…?
Wildlife Blogger Crowd
My biggest passion going forward, as I bring my 10th year of wildlife blogging to a close, is to pass it on!
Right now my main goal is to continue growing the Wildlife Blogger Crowd; a collaborative space for wildlife bloggers from across the world to network, promote one another’s work, share ideas, seek mentors/mentees and grow together. I’d like to share my knowledge from the last decade to help others on their journeys.
The Wildlife Blogger Crowd has been created as a positive space for wildlife storytellers to share content, discover resources for blogging, join discussions and support other content creators, to amplify our voices louder to spread the plight of the natural world as far and wide as possible.
I’m delighted to share our new logo (above), and plan to bring some exciting storytelling opportunities to our members this year.
Animal Star Awards
In-keeping with supporting the wildlife community, I’m super excited to share that I will be one of the judges at this year’s Animal Star Awards online event.
Having been a former Finalist and Highly Commended Animal Star ‘Animal Hero’, I can honestly say that these awards are truly special, and have created a supportive culture for all their nominees and finalists that’s like a family, striving for one goal — a better world for animals.
Congratulations to all the nominees and finalists; human and non-human! I can’t wait to be a part of the virtual event on the 28th March, 6-8pm GMT.
Vuelio Influencer Insight
I was also delighted recently to be invited to chat with the influencer network, Vuelio, about my blogging experience for their ‘Influencer Insights’ series.
The below extract is taken from Vuelio‘s blog post by Phoebe-Jane Boyd.
Providing green news and conservation information to her readers, Kate believes no issue is too big or small when it comes to empowering the public with knowledge – read on for what Kate thought of popular lockdown watch Tiger King as well as three small changes you can make to be more mindful of the world around you.
What’s your favourite thing to post about?
I love to write about the inspiring work of others. The conservation world is absolutely full of amazing people and everyday small successes. It can be easy to be overwhelmed by the large scale destruction of the environment, and the huge species loss we’re hearing about regularly, but it’s worth remembering there are millions of people all over the world doing incredible work on the ground every single day. I love to interview conservationists, storytellers and sometimes even celebrities to gain all manner of perspectives.
How have you had to change your approach during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Obviously, it’s not been possible to interview people in person, so I’ve been on the phone a lot more, and sometimes Zoom. I actually prefer phone calls for interviews, as I think people are a lot more at ease when they can be in comfort – wearing their pyjamas or not having to worry about how their hair looks, etc. A lot of what I’ve been doing has been the same, though; I spend a lot of time on emails and social media, and I was working from home before the pandemic, anyhow.
I suppose the type of content I’m writing has adapted somewhat, as I’ve had to be reactive to what COVID-19 means to the natural world and wildlife conservation and how wildlife organisations are reacting to it. Such as the call for a One Health approach to Wildlife Trade Laws, the End Wildlife Crime initiative to introduce an International Agreement that would help prevent further pandemics and the Global Nature Recovery Investment Initiative.
What are some of the environmental stories/issues happening at the moment that you’d wish more people knew about?
Something I wrote about recently is that burning trees for electricity is actually no better for the climate than burning coal. This has led to calls for an end to biomass burning subsidies, with organisations instead asking for those billions of pounds to be re-directed to fill a ‘critical funding gap’ for other renewable energy solutions like wind and solar. A recent infographic from Cut Carbon Not Forests contrasts the area of forest the Government pledges to plant with trees as part of its ‘Nature for Climate’ fund with the area of forest that will need to be cut down over the same period to supply the UK’s massive demand for wood to burn as fuel for electricity.
I would also love to spread the word about the controversies surrounding the UK’s badger cull. And the positive news of the return of Britain’s largest and most endangered spider; the Great Fox-Spider, rediscovered in the UK after more than 25 years.
What other blogs do you check out regularly (whether conservation-related or not)?
I actually run an initiative called The Wildlife Blogger Crowd, where I bring wildlife bloggers together to share their work, collaborate and support other bloggers. I’m following lots of bloggers from here and keeping in regular contact through the database of wildlife storytellers I’m growing.