It’s become an annual tradition of mine to spotlight some of my top places to shop to support wildlife and independent / small businesses during the festive season. Throughout this year, I’ve promoted 60 of these fantastic nature and wildlife focused brands and creatives via my online community, The Nature Maker Crowd, and I genuinely believe that all 60 of these businesses, and the people behind them, are fantastic places to shop for Christmas gifts (Take a look here to discover them all).
However, in the spirit of choosing my yearly small selection of sellers to spotlight, I’d like to introduce you to my 2021 picks for unique wildlife gifts…
Moon Cubs is a luxury kids homeware brand focused on educating children about animals and their habitats. By illustrating the beauty of the natural world and the incredible animals that live within it, the brand aims to teach children the importance of caring and conserving wildlife.
Wherever possible Moon Cubs choose eco options, like their beautiful organic cushions and endeavour to work with UK suppliers where they can. They donate 5% of profits to Born Free, a charity that helps protect threatened and endangered wild animal species, many of which are showcased in their beautiful designs.
Ruby is the designer and founder of Moon Cubs and is based in Hastings, UK. Being brought up in the countryside of Devon and Cornwall she has always been passionate about wildlife, with a love for print and painting too. Unlike other textile designer’s Ruby works as an artist, taking 6 weeks to draw; and entirely hand paint each unique scene.
“Moon Cubs began with a desire to use my artistic skills and passion for animals to make a difference. I want to make children smile, care and be mindful towards our animal kingdom, through experiencing the character and charm of my designs,” Ruby explains.
SP Wildlife Art by Sophie Parkhill
Sophie Parkhill has always loved art and wildlife, and decided to bring the two together in 2019 after seeing tutorials by Jason Morgan. In 2020 she began to exhibit her works, and in 2021 Sophie won several awards at multiple physical and online exhibitions, with my greatest achievement so far being exhibited at the Mall Galleries in London.
Sophie explains “After volunteering at a wildlife rescue centre in Thailand in 2017, I have now teamed up with the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, where I will be creating a series of paintings based on their own rescues, and donating 30% of each painting sale to the centre to help with feeding and treatment costs.”
“Without this centre up and running, many elephants, monkeys and more would still be being abused for the sake of a photo. My aim is to support centres like the WFFT in their fight to end wildlife exploitation and abuse, in the tourism industry.”
Sophie also offers 10% donations to David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) on the rest of her original wildlife paintings.
By purchasing an original painting from SP Wildlife Art, not only are you gaining beautiful work for your walls, you’re also supporting ending abuse and crimes against the wonderful wildlife of our planet.
It’s Our Planet Too by Kate Cohen
It’s Our Planet Too is an educational brand that aims to inspire children to love and care for the environment. It’s Eco Fun For Little People!
Founded by Kate, mum of two in recognition that children today are growing up in a world facing very real challenges and knowing that we need them to become eco-heroes who are empowered to make a difference.
The ‘It’s Our Planet Too’ website launched in 2019, as a resource for children to learn about our planet, the effects that humans are having on it and to discover why some animals are struggling for survival.
They have recently launched a range of sustainably and ethically produced children’s products including organic tees, water bottles, bags and fact-filled notebooks that embrace their brand values and key messages and also allow them to give back to a new charitable venture that is working to protect the animals that children love.
It’s Our Planet Too officially became a social enterprise in November, when their membership was confirmed by Social Enterprise UK.
Naturally Connected by Barry Madden
As a celebration of all things wild, Barry has written a book entitled ‘Naturally Connected’ which seeks to inspire people to take time to stop and stare, and appreciate the wildlife around them.
Naturally Connected beautifully combines Barry’s wonderful nature photography with his writings and illustrations, in a luxurious full-colour book showcasing some of the spectacular wildlife that has captivated Barry in his local area of Norfolk, and beyond.
Barry explains, “When I was a budding young naturalist, wildlife was everywhere. Birds, butterflies, moths were abundant and familiar sights in local gardens, fields and woods. I look now and see that’s no longer the case; we have lost so much. The issues affecting our wildlife and wild spaces; pollution, habitat destruction, illegal persecution, drainage of wetlands and climate change are all too familiar. I sometimes feel it is too easy to despair, however we must not give up hope. We can turn things around and make positive change.”
“The key is education; instilling in new generations the importance of preserving and enhancing the natural world in which we live. After all, none of us are separated from nature, or it from us; we are part of a whole, a synergic welding of beings. Therefore we must bridge the disconnect that has pervaded our society. In other words we must strive to enlighten, energise and enthral. My book seeks to do just that.”
“I have also created a website, WingSearch 2020, which I hope does the same thing. My book can be purchased via Bittern Books, or via my website (see link below), where you can also read reviews and get a preview of the content. There will be more products in due course.
Alicia Hayden Photography, Art and Poetry
Alicia is a young, award-winning wildlife photographer, artist, writer, and filmmaker. Her interest in wildlife photography started when she was 10 and discovered the macro setting on her camera, sparking her aspiration to work in the wildlife film industry and communicate the importance of nature and conservation to others.
If you are interested in purchasing a print of one of Alicia’s photos, please get in touch, as she does them on an individual basis. You can view some examples of her photography work on her website: https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/ as well as her favourite pieces on her online portfolio: https://aliciahaydenportfolio.wordpress.com/
Alicia has been an avid poetry writer since she was young, and won WWF’s My True Nature Poetry competition in 2011 with her poem, Leopard. After watching David Attenborough’s documentary Extinction: The Facts, she felt compelled to do something more, and compiled the collection “Rain before Rainbows”.
“Rain before Rainbows” is available to purchase through Alicia’s online shop, and 50% of the profits from the poetry book will go directly to the wildlife hospital Tiggywinkles, to support their valuable work: https://aliciahaydenshop.bigcartel.com/product/rain-before-rainbows
Her piece “When the Whale Sang” won the Human Impact category, and was awarded the inaugural Ingrid Beazley Award, in David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF)’s Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021. Limited edition prints of “When the Whale Sang” are available to purchase from her online shop, and are available in 3 sizes: https://aliciahaydenshop.bigcartel.com/product/when-the-whale-sang-600mm-print
Alicia is also taking commissions on a rolling basis. If you are interested in ordering a commission, please get in touch via her website or social media pages, or order directly through her online shop: https://aliciahaydenshop.bigcartel.com/product/coffee-wildlife-commission
There are also four A5 print designs available to purchase through Alicia’s online shop, as well as her 2022 “Whimsical Wildlife” calendar, a double A4 spread containing 12 original watercolour illustrations: https://aliciahaydenshop.bigcartel.com/product/pre-order-whimsical-wildlife-2022-a3-calendar
I hope you’ve enjoyed my top selection of wildlife gifts for 2021, don’t forget you can discover more brilliant brands and creatives over on our Nature Maker Crowd Instagram page.
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