Those of you who follow my Instagram page, or are members of my Wildlife Blogger Crowd community will already know the exciting news that I’m creating and editing a book; “Connections with Nature”.
This new anthology of work is due out later this year, and will be published through Journey Books (an imprint of Bradts Guides). It is comprised of chapters sent in from our Wildlife Blogger Crowd members, which have been edited and collated to form an overarching narrative of ‘meeting the wild’ throughout our lifetimes; displaying the priceless value of those lifelong connections with nature.
I’m very excited to give you a sneak preview of the cover (shown in the image above) illustrated by Chloe Valerie Harmsworth, and introduce you to all of our book contributors…
Jonathan and Angela Scott (The Big Cat People)
Jonathan and Angela are award winning wildlife photographers and authors who have made their name documenting the lives of lions, leopards and cheetahs in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, recording every aspect of their existence in their drawings, photographs and wildlife television programs. They are Canon Ambassadors and the only couple to have won the Overall Award in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition as individuals. Jonathan and Angela have written and illustrated 34 books including their award winning children’s titles for Collins Big Cat. Their latest books are The Big Cat Man: An Autobiography (Bradt) and Sacred Nature: Life’s Eternal Dance (HPH) that won the Gold Award for Photography in the prestigious Independent Publishers Book Awards, 2017.
Kate Stephenson is a writer and blogger. For 10 years she has run the wildlife blog Kate on Conservation. She has worked for numerous media organisations specialising in children’s education, such as National Geographic Kids, Discovery Education, Channel 4 Learning, Channel 4 Talent, BBC Blast and BBC Norfolk. She is a Trustee of Born Free Foundation and Founder of The Wildlife Blogger Crowd; a collective of wildlife and eco content creators, spanning online bloggers, social media curators, podcasters, filmmakers and more.
Tiffany Francis-Baker is a nature writer, illustrator, mother and small business owner from the South Downs in Hampshire. She makes stationery and gifts inspired by the natural world, all ethically sourced and designed to last. She is also the author of six books, including Dark Skies: A Journey into the Wild Night. In 2019 she was a writer-in-residence for Forestry England, and she has written for the Guardian, Harper’s Bazaar, BBC Wildlife, BBC Countryfile and Resurgence & Ecologist. Find out more at: tiffanyfrancisbaker.com
Joe Harkness is the author of the book Bird Therapy. He writes and speaks about the benefits of birdwatching for mental health and wellbeing. As well as living with various issues himself, he works in special education and is highly experienced at connecting with vulnerable people. Joe has also written for numerous publications, including: The Guardian, Condé Nast Traveller, BBC Wildlife Magazine, inews, Birdwatch Magazine and Birdwatching Magazine.
Rosemary Snowdon is a retired nursery school teacher. During her career, she was passionate about introducing children to the wonders of nature through venturing outside and exploring their local environment – or using imaginative play to understand the workings of the natural world. Nowadays, she continues to realise that passion through the many hours spent with her seven grandchildren.
Jenny Allan is a young naturalist interested in all wildlife from birds to bats, to moths and springtails. She also a keen wildlife photography and a trainee bird ringer, often found roaming her local beaches and green spaces in search for wild places and the wildlife that lives there. Find out more at: theyoungnaturenerd.wordpress.com
Tania Roa resides in Southern California, where she works at a climate and environmental non-profit. She has a Master of Science in Animals and Public Policy and a passion for all things nature and wildlife. As well as advocating for wild animals, she enjoys studying the connections between people’s well-being, animal welfare, and the health of our planet. Tania regularly post about climate and environmental justice on her social media platforms.
Benjamin Fallow (and Michelle Fossey)
Seven-year-old Benjamin Fallow is a young artist and naturalist. He loves learning everything he can about animals, insects and plants, and he’s passionate about protecting nature and wildlife. Benji draws and paints from nature – he’s been carrying paper and pens in his backpack since he was three.
During lockdown, Benji won a national nature writing competition for his age group, Nature on your Doorstep with Lucy McRobert, and was featured on Chris Packham’s Self Isolating Bird Club. His story was published in BBC Wildlife.
Benji started sharing his artwork on Instagram during lockdown, and was amazed when he was featured on Chris Packham’s show with his nature artwork too! He’s been featured on Instagram by the Wildlife Trusts and the Natural History Museum, and on Twitter by the RSPB. Sharing his artwork he’s received amazing encouragement from Sir David Attenborough and many of his favourite nature artists.Benji wants to use his artwork to encourage people to care for nature. Michelle is Benji’s mum.
Lize Gibson-Hall has completed an Undergraduate degree in Marine Biology in Plymouth, UK and is currently completing her masters in Zoo Conservation Biology. Learn more at: https://thetravellinggoth.wixsite.com/lizemaeve
Steve Shand is a wildlife photographer from St Albans in Hertfordshire with an interest in all things wild; whether it’s birds, fungi or our landscapes. He enjoys sharing his images in hopes of inspiring others to explore their local wildlife and protect our planet’s diverse range of flora and fauna.
Rebecca is a wildlife writer and photographer based in Scotland. She enjoys combining creative writing and colourful imagery to inspire people to connect with the natural world. Rebecca loves wandering through the woods looking for birds and red squirrels. Her work has been featured in publications including BBC Wildlife, Oceanographic and Hertfordshire Life.
Dorothy Knights is in her 100th year. Spending 100 years living on our planet has meant she has seen many changes, which has left her with the profound sense that she has lived long enough to know that there’s a chance for everything to come back around.
Harry Munt is the founding member of Save The House Sparrows; a small group of like-minded people, working together to help stop the decline of the humble House Sparrow through education and good old hands-on conservation; such as installing bird boxes. You can find out more at: www.savethehousesparrow.com
Steve Wood aka The Backyard Zoologist is a heavily tattooed, punk-rock-loving zoologist living on a rural mountain in Central New York State. Steve has been fascinated by wildlife (and dinosaurs!) since childhood. After working various careers, he went back to college in his 40s and earned a degree in Zoology, which brought him to various wildlife education jobs. See Backyard Conservation in action over at: instagram.com/thebackyardzoologist
Jack is an Environmental Studies graduate from the University of Kent, where he studied in the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology. Creator of Balcony Bird-Brain blogs, Jack is UK wildlife lover with a particular fondness for birds. He resides in Essex, though originally hails from Norfolk. You can discover more of Jack’s writing about his experiences with the natural world at: https://balconybirdbrain.blogspot.com
Kayleigh Brookes is a nature writer, conservationist and campaigner. She enjoys sharing her passion for wildlife and inspiring others with stories, information and poetry. Find out more at: https://kayleighannwriting.wordpress.com/
Charlotte Ditchburn works for in the access sector, and blogs about Public Rights of Way and all things outdoors on her blog; Public Rights of Explorer. She is an Ordinance Survey Get Outside Champion, an ambassador for the National Outdoor Expo and an ambassador for Active Suffolk’s ‘ is Girl Can’ Suffolk campaign, inspiring and empowering women to get active. In the past she has worked as a Public Rights of Way Officer and is passionate about making the outdoors accessible for all. You’ll normally find her outside walking, horse riding, paddle boarding, cycling or just taking in the views.
Harriet Day is a naturalist and environmentalist with a lust for experiencing the wonder of wildlife. She never turns down the opportunity to go out bird ringing, or exploring with her camera and binoculars. After finding a love for nature writing, blogging, and podcasting, she has had some of her work published in Birdwatching Magazine, has created a podcast for the River Trust and written on the BTO blog, raising awareness for mental health issues. In her spare time, she makes nest boxes and feeders for birds I try to work with schools to help educate the younger generation on where to find wildlife.
Alicia Hayden is an award-winning wildlife photographer, artist, writer, and film-maker from North Yorkshire, currently studying Biological Sciences at Oxford University. Her debut illustrated wildlife poetry book Rain before Rainbows is out now. 50% of profits from the sale of her poetry collection go to the wildlife hospital Tiggywinkles. Find out more at: https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/
Chloé Valerie Harmsworth
Chloé Valerie writes about UK wildlife and the environment in order to raise awareness of conservation issues and to encourage more people to appreciate the beauty around them. She aims to help people reconnect with nature, to benefit their mental wellbeing and also the world. She has written for various print and digital magazines, and has written and illustrated her own nature journal, which explored her local green space over the course of a year. She also loves to paint and take photographs of nature, inspired by her walks. For more, see: https://chloevalerienatureart.wordpress.com/
Will Travers OBE is Executive President and Co-Founder of Born Free. In 1984, he started the Born Free Foundation alongside his parents Bill Travers MBE and Virginia McKenna OBE. Will is a regular contributor to national and international press publications, radio and TV and other media. He was awarded an OBE for ser vices to conser vation and animal welfare in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2012. Will is also President of the Species Survival Network and Born Free USA. He helped create the Great Ape Survival Partnership, is a Fellow of the RGS, and a member of the IUCN SSC Reintroduction Specialist Group. Find out more over at: bornfree.org.uk
Nick’s Stephenson’s wildlife storytelling takes the form of music; he is a singer/songwriter with a passion for nature and wildlife. His playlist ‘Songs of Nature’ is available to listen to on Soundcloud – https://m.soundcloud.com/nickstephensonmusic/sets/songs-of-nature. He released a fundraising single ‘Poor Little Boy’ in 2019 for One Mans’ Rescue campaign, which provides senior dogs in rescue centres with fun days out. Find out more at www.nickfstephenson.com
Rhiannon Irving has had a passion for wildlife since she was small, and has worked towards a wildlife-based career her entire life. She recently graduated with an MSc in Zoo Conservation Biology and started blogging to record her own experiences with wildlife and conservation, particularly her adventures with her baby daughter, as she introduces her to nature and the world around her. Read more at: www.allwalksofwildlife.com
Nick Wilson-Smith works and studies as a budding ranger in North East England, for a large conservation charity. He created his blogging website as a celebration of nature, magical wildlife encounters and a place to express a love of mother nature through his own snaps and scribblings. Visit: https://naturalistnick.co.uk
Hannah Rudd is a marine biologist, science communicator and photographer. She is a member of the Youth For Our Planet group and a WWF Changemaker, and launched Leading Women in Marine Science to explore the representation of women in the science. Hannah’s passion for sharks has taken her across the world from researching whale sharks in the Maldives to studying great white sharks in South Africa. Combining this with her love of writing, in 2022 her first book will be published with Bloomsbury Publishing on UK seas and how we can all do our bit to save them.
Claire Edwards has always adored animals, but it was only when she turned 30 and took part in a big cat close encounter that she realised her true calling was actually in this sector. She is a proud volunteer for The Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent and will soon begin a Masters degree in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law.
Beth Jennings is the Founder of Claws Out, and a staunch campaigner for lion welfare. In 2018 she partnered with Born Free Foundation and Olsen Animal Trust to produce a short film based on her experience called Claws Out: The Truth About Cub Petting. Find out more at: www.claws-out.com
Kate Williams is a wildlife vet. Her blog, Vet Tales, is about veterinary, wildlife and travel focused on the adventures she has had while gaining experience with wildlife. Kate shares some of the key conservation issues she has encountered along the way over at: www.vet-tales.com
Bella Lack is a young conservationist and wildlife campaigner. She has a strong social media presence, which she uses to educate and inspire others concerning global wildlife issues to help educate others on critical problems and encourage them to take action. She is an ambassador for Born Free Foundation and Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots.
Rachael Barber is passionate about all wildlife, but whales and dolphins in particular. She completed a BSc in Zoology and an MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation, and has worked for a few seasons as a guide on a whale watch boat in Scotland, as well as on the ferry crossing the Bay of Biscay. In 2011, she became involved with Marine Mammal Observations and mitigation for offshore industries, and is now a Marine Mammal Consultant (as well as a mummy to two little people).
Rachael is also a trained bird ringer, catching and monitoring birds for the British Trust for Ornithology. She has been writing about her wildlife adventures on Wild Barley (named after her pup) for nearly 10 years. Read more at: wildbarley.co.uk/
Berenice Tregenna runs the Berie Tree nature blog, which holds a magnifying glass up to common insects & plants. Her aim is to spread nature awareness and appreciation, encouraging people to do more to help the environment. Each post focuses on a certain insect or plant with a mixture of poems, photos, her own drawings and factual information. Berenice believes that both art and science can be blended together to engage others with their natural surroundings — this is the ethos of her blog, which can be found at: http://www.berrietree.wordpress.com
Chloe Petrylak is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader specialising in wildlife and the environment. She has worked for National Geographic Kids UK, BBC Wildlife, and PetsRadar, and is currently the social media manager for Eco Kids Planet magazine. You can find her work over at www.chloemaywrites.com.
Shubhobroto Ghosh is a former journalist with the Telegraph newspaper whose work has also been published in The Statesman, Times of India, New York Times, The Hindu , Montreal Serai, BBC, Sanctuary Asia, Saevus, Down To Earth, SciWri Club, Science Reporter and Nature India online. He is the former coordinator of the Indian Zoo Inquiry project sponsored by Zoocheck Canada and has attended the Principles and Practice Training course at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in 1999. He did his Masters thesis on British zoos at the University of Westminster in 2004. He has worked at the Wildlife Trust of India, TRAFFIC India and is currently Wildlife Projects Manager in India for World Animal Protection in India. He has contributed to several books, including ‘The Jane Effect’, a biographical tribute to Jane Goodall by Marc Bekoff and Dale Peterson, ‘Thirty Three Ways To Look At An Elephant,’ edited by Dale Paterson and an environmental biography of the ex Prime Minister of India, ‘Indira Gandhi : A Life In Nature’ by Jairam Ramesh. He is the author of the book, ‘Dreaming In Calcutta and Channel Islands’ published in 2015.
Kate Cohen is the founder of ‘It’s Our Planet Too’, a website aimed at children to raise awareness of the environment, particularly the plight of endangered animals. It’s essentially an education resource, full of fascinating facts, images, fun stuff to download and quotes as well as stories about the animals, written in rhyme. Check out: http://www.itsourplanettoo.co.uk/
Sergio Lang is the Founder and CEO of NSE Global; an environmental advocacy company focused on global solutions. Sergio was born in San Diego, California and grew up in a bilingual household in Northern Virginia. He was inspired to start NSE Global because of the growing environmental problems in our world, and he recognizes the timing is critical to identify global solutions to combat these issues and protect our planet. He saw an urgent need for a platform that compiles factual information into one source to share with fellow environmental advocates.
Monica Kaur Bhatia
Monica Bhatiawrites blogs and prose to support the vast range of campaigns she is involved with at UK Youth for Nature. As a young conservationist, she says it is a joy to be able to pursue her passion of writing, while also tackling environmental issues.
Lucy Newman is the creator of One Wild Thing, a blog born from a desire to share her passion for the natural world, while giving readers the tools to make a difference in helping to protect it. Lucy couples her knowledge from her university education in marine biology and oceanography – and years of immersing herself in all-things-animal – with her skills as a secondary school teacher, to communicate the “big issues” in conservation in a way that is accessible to everyone. Every posts ends with “One Wild Thing”- a small way that you can make a difference to the issue discussed. These actions are carefully selected to not need vast amounts of money, time or expertise, or great lifestyle changes, but rather to inspire readers to get involved a little deeper and take those baby steps forward. Find out more at: https://onewildthing.co.uk/
Annie has been gardening off and on for the last 10 years, starting in rented gardens where it’s hard to do too much, and learning by trial and error. Nowadays she has her own little garden, where she aims to do many things: in sub-tropical jungle (Cornwall) cottage-garden style, with myriads of pots (again Cornwall style) and wild flower meadows….trouble is, it’s really quite small and based in the midlands, so not that warm! You follow Annie’s wildlife gardening diaries and discoveries over at: https://livingthewildlife.garden/blog/
Molly Doubleday is conservationist working for the RSPB, who shares her passion for nature on her blog Hippy Highland Living. Here she describes her wild life in the Scottish Highlands and writes about her endeavours to life simply and sustainably.
Going undercover in Vietnam’s illegal bear bile trade was a defining experience for Kate Fox. The ensuing battle to free Boo the Bear and friends led to a switch from conservation photography, filming and writing to founding a charitable organization known as Verify Humanity. Verify Humanity is a place where conservation and animal welfare meet and conventions are challenged. Kate believes that if we are to break free of a world where animal extinctions, climate change and pandemics are the norm, we need to care about the animals we protect.
Barry Madden is Norfolk born and bred. Although birds are his first love, Barry delights in all manner of wild creatures and wild spaces – butterflies and moths are also particular favourites, with dragonflies and bees following closely behind. Aside from actually observing wildlife, he likes to photograph it and keeps busy by writing wildlife themed articles for various magazines. Read more of Barry’s connections with wildlife over at: www.wingsearch2020.com
Lisa Stubbings is an aspiring nature and wildlife photographer, capturing the beauty of the natural world. Her blog, The Fox Den, can be found over at: https://freeworldpress905.wordpress.com/
Sally-Ann Smurthwaite is an environmentalist and writer living in Cardiff. She studied an MSc in Environment, Science and Society at University College London, before embarking on a full-time career in the environment sector. Alongside this, Sally runs Wild and Green blog and documents her own adventures living in South Wales over at Sally by the Sea.
Virginia Anne McKenna, OBE, is an English stage and screen actress, author and wildlife campaigner. She is best known for the films A Town Like Alice, Carve Her Name with Pride, Born Free, and Ring of Bright Water, as well as her work with The Born Free Foundation, which she co-founded with her late husband Bill Travers and son Will Travers OBE.
In case you hadn’t guessed it; given that the Wildlife Blogger Crowd is all about inclusivity, I made room everyone who submitted a piece for the book. I can’t wait to continue this exciting project and share more updates soon. Please keep checking back for more!