When ‘Connections With Nature’ book was published, I knew that I wanted to use the wealth of stories within its pages to reach as wide an audience as possible; not an easy task when you’ve self-published, and are entirely new to the world of books and bookselling.
In large part, I opted to self-publish so that I could have creative control over how the book came together; to be able to place coloured plates next to the written stories they correspond with; to worry less about how the text fits together from a type-setting perspective, and more about what I’d like to place together from a narrative, storytelling perspective; to be able to make decisions on how and where we stock the book that don’t compromise the beliefs of the people whose work is represented within it (likewise with the print decisions; FSC certified paper, no black pages, etc).
Through all the challenges that self-publishing has represented, it’s also meant that the rights to the individual pieces of work remain with the authors themselves, and perhaps most crucially for me; I’ve been able to find ways of sharing and distributing the book that help/continue to inspire a movement towards protecting our natural world.
1. Connections with Nature goes to School
In one of the best chapters in the Connections With Nature story so far, I visited Howard Junior School in Kings Lynn at the end of the last school term and chatted to some of the pupils about the ways that they can connect with nature during their school summer holidays.
I also gave them each a copy of the book to take home with them, and they gave me a brilliant Kate on Conservation themed card!).
Many of these pupils come from a deprived area of Norfolk — as I did; in fact (unlike Howard Junior), I went to a school that was put in special measures by OFSTED — so it meant a lot to me to be able to give pupils a book to read over the summer, and also (hopefully) provide some inspiration to follow their curiosity in the natural world, by engaging in low cost, local activities that can incorporate exercise, getting outside and also engaging with the world around them.
Howard Junior is a school that very much favours being active, and also runs a Forest school during term time — giving their pupils an excellent grounding in the health benefits of getting exercise outdoors while experiencing the natural world.
There are so many ways to connect with nature, and hopefully lots of young people and their families will be inspired by the personal experiences the Wildlife Blogger Crowd members shared, to find their own way into the wild world.
2. Raising funds to help Save the House Sparrows at Global Birdfair
After a 2-year hiatus from in-person events (I’m sure we all know why), the former Rutland Bird Fair returned this year in its latest incantation; The Global Birdfair.
Global Birdfair builds upon the success of its predecessor by combining the best of the former bird fair with the new energy and vision of Global Birding; a virtual birdwatching event spawned from the days of lockdown to inspire birdwatchers to come together as a global community and celebrate birds, by participating in birdwatching, birdwatching events, citizen science and conservation. Both entities were formed by Tim Appleton MBE.
For this inaugural year of Global Birdfair, I was delighted to have collaborated with Save the House Sparrows’ Harry Munt, one of the contributors to ‘Connections With Nature’, to see the book available to buy on his stall in the Swallow marquee, to raise funds for Harry’s bird box initiative to help house sparrows thrive.
A lack of nesting spaces is one of the key reasons House Sparrows are declining, and in response, Harry has been making nestboxes to re-create the historical cracks and crevices in buildings that House Sparrows have lost. He’s been working with a local school, high-street and nature reserve to personally build and install birdboxes.
I’m pleased to say that each book sold at the Global Birdfair saw a donation to his project that’s equivalent to the funds needed to make two bird boxes.
3. Catching up with the Big Cat People, who wrote our foreword
Another great thing to come out of the Global Birdfair was the opportunity to see wildlife filmmaker, photographer and presenter Jonathan Scott and his Wildlife Photographer of the Year-winning wife (and co-author), Angie Scott.
The Scotts are incredible storytellers for nature and they were also kind enough to write the foreword for our Connection book during the height of the global lockdowns; so this was the first chance I’ve had to see them (and thank them in-person) since the book was published! It’s always inspirational to hear about their latest work for the Sacred Nature Initiative and their stories of the people and wildlife that live around the Maasai Mara and Mara Conservancies.
4. Connections With Nature secures first London stockists
I’m so pleased to share that our book has its first stockist in the Capital. Daunt Books in Holland Park is now selling our Wildlife Blogger Crowd publication in its fantastic Natural History section.
Honestly, it’s an absolutely stunning independent bookshop, with a wonderful selection of travel guides and books from around the world and home to a brilliant natural history selection to boot!
If you’re a fan of travel and nature writing, this shop is well worth a visit – it’s so very ‘Notting Hill’ the movie, and not too far from the real Notthing Hill, in fact. I’m proud to see Connections With Nature on sale in such a gorgeous shop.
5. Connections with Nature at Welney Wetland Centre
I’m delighted to share that ‘Connections With Nature’ book is now available to buy from Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust’s Welney Wetland Centre — meaning that the profits that WWT Trading make on the sale of each book go towards fundraising for the amazing work of WWT.
WWT Welney Wetland Centre is a flagship reserve of WWT, who save critically endangered species from extinction, work with communities around the world who depend on wetlands and inspire people to take care of nature.
Teeming with biodiversity, wetlands are found all over the world from the mightiest delta to the humblest pond. The conservation of wetlands is crucial as they are amazingly useful for people and wildlife, yet they are seriously threatened.
Earlier this year, I reported on Project Godwit on my blog: a 5-year headstarting project that took place at Welney Wetland Centre, which quadrupled the breeding success of the entire UK population of black-tailed godwits. It’s wonderful to know that ‘Connections With Nature’ is now helping to raise vital funds for projects such this.
I’m also pleased to share that I’ll be holding a special book event at WWT Welney on the 25th October.
Vote for Connections with Nature via WeNaturalists
In what I feel is an incredible honour, I’ve been nominated for WeNaturalists’s ‘Nature Storyteller of the Year’ award and I’ve put forward the ‘Connections With Nature’ book as my flagship project for the award. If I were to win, there’s a prize fund of $1,000 — which I would LOVE to have the chance to donate to Talek Boarding School in Narok, Kenya, to enable them to buy a laptop; to open up communications within the school.
If you’d like to support me to win this award, please consider voting for the Connections With Nature project to win! You can vote here.