It’s so important as a wildlife blogger, in the field of conservation to share our message. Not just with those already connected to nature and the issues faced by our local and global wild species, but also those who may encounter wildlife in a different context. Here are a selection of interviews I’ve recently given to various blogs and websites…
Common by Nature — Spotlight
It was an honour to be interviewed by James Common of Common by Nature blog and recognised as a member of the youth nature movement. Similarly to Kate on Conservation, Common by Nature has been Highly Commended at the UK Blog Awards under the Green & Eco category, and was also listed in the 75 Top Wildlife Blogs!
In James’ own words; “the youth nature spotlight series is intended to give readers an insight into the lives, aspirations and motivations of the intrepid and inspirational young people doing great things for nature in the UK”, so I was very excited to get involved.
I’ve included a small snippet of the interview below, as a little taster:
How did you first get involved in your conservation campaigning?
For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in animals. This interest was developed into a more active conservation role when I became a supporter of the Born Free Foundation. At six years old I received a gift of an adoption pack for Born Free’s for Roque the tiger and I’ve wanted to save animals ever since then. 21 years later I am now a trustee of the Born Free Foundation charity and the subsequent passion I fostered for wildlife photography and conservation writing (which can be traced back to a 200-page big cat project I hand wrote when I was 10 and 11 years old), has evolved into my career at National Geographic Kids magazine and my Kate On Conservation blog.
If you won the lottery today, what would you spend the money on?
I would buy a big plot of land in the UK and work on rewilding it. Bringing back native flora and fauna and hopefully watching it flourish – and I’d buy an allotment for growing seasonal fruit and veg. I would then start up an education programme, offering opportunities to people from all walks of life to work on these projects and learn about the UK’s natural environment and sustainable food consumption. Hopefully, it would start a movement.
Every Treasure blog — Blogger Showcase
I also had the pleasure of chatting to parent blogger and fellow UK Blog Awards finalist, Every Treasure. I saw it as a brilliant opportunity to talk to others who appreciate the outdoors and enjoy family hiking trips (subjects regularly covered on Every Treasure) about the wildlife they encounter — and equally, some more exotic species — about why it is important to take notice of our impact on the planet.
It was great to have the opportunity to answer the interesting questions that blogger Kelly had picked out to ask. I’ve included a couple of these below, to give a snapshot of the interview:
Can you tell me a little bit about the focus/vision/ethos behind your blog?
I wanted to change the world. Maybe one person at a time, by sharing important knowledge about our planet’s wildlife and the threats it’s facing. I was 21-years old when I started the blog and originally it was to be a voice among young people and students, to inspire them to care about these things. I wanted to speak as a peer, so they wouldn’t feel patronised and I was specifically using my gap year experience of volunteering in South Africa with Born Free to inform the blog. But I’m not that young anymore and thanks to television series like Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II, I think students care more than ever. So now I try to reach all people of all ages through various means. And I still want to change the world.
What keeps you motivated in everyday life and in the blogging world?
The desperate plight of so many of our planet’s wild species. When you hear that there are less than 20,000 lions left in the wild in Africa; that if things remain as they are, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050; and when in 2018 we all lost the last ever male Northern White Rhino in existence — it’s enough to motivate me to spend the rest of my life trying to make a difference.
A couple of years ago when I was employed by Discovery, I worked on UK school resources to accompany the amazing documentary Racing Extinction. Researching the facts and watching that documentary was the reason I stopped eating meat and consuming dairy products. That documentary is something I return to when I’m in need of a little motivation. It’s shocking and so important!
Gorilla Socks — blog interview
I absolutely love Gorilla Socks! Their mission is to combine a sense of responsibility to support our planet, disadvantaged communities and the gorilla species with a love for colourful socks. Inspired by Dian Fossey’s remarkable life and legacy, they have pledged to donate to the charity at least 10% from the sale of each pair of socks. I was delighted to feature on their blog.
What sparked your interest in conservation?
I loved animals, even as young child. I think from a combination of watching Disney’s The Lion King over and over and reading lots of books and encyclopaedias about wildlife. The first time I realized that wildlife needed our help was when I was about 6 years old. My mum adopted a tiger for me through Born Free Foundation and I started reading about the threats that tigers faced in the wild. I’d say that’s where my passion for conservation started.
Are there any individuals who have had the greatest impact on your values and beliefs on animal rights?
My first wildlife hero was Virginia McKenna — her stirring speech in the film Born Free about Elsa the lioness being ‘born free, so she should live free’ resonated with me even as a kid. Later I would be obsessed with watching David Attenborough and Steve Irwin on television. As I began to understand more about the natural world as a teenager and in my early twenties it was Will Travers, Ian Redmond, Jane Goodall and the incredible wildlife artist Pollyanna Pickering who most captured my imagination and cemented my ethics.
Congratulations on becoming the youngest Trustee of Born Free Foundation! Tell us more about what your work with the organisation.
Thanks. I’ve been a trustee for just over a year now, and it’s still very much a learning curve for me. Of course, the Board have a hand in making or approving many of the decisions when it comes to financial and legal issues, but we’ve also been busy shaping the charity’s 5-year plan and devising the organisation’s main priorities. I’ve supported Born Free for many years, and it’s a great reassurance to see how things work behind the scenes. I’m proud to be involved with such a genuine, passionate and dedicated organisation, whom I know for a fact carry out all they do with the utmost integrity; from rescuing individual animals, to lobbying governments and tackling some of the biggest global issues such as wildlife trade and working on the ground to mediate in cases of human-wildlife conflict.
Earth Art India — blog interview
It’s always exciting to hear that my blog has reached overseas, so when Earth Art India contacted me for an interview, I leapt at the chance to have a chat with them!
UK Blog Awards – Judge’s interview
I’m so excited that the UK Blog Awards has introduced the Nature & Wildlife category for 2019, after a growing number of nominations fitting this genre have emerged over the last few years. I’m absolutely thrilled to be the first ever judge of this category, and as a wildlife blogger myself — and former Highly Commended UK Blog Awards Finalist — I’ve enjoyed seeing the diversity of entries in the category over the last few months and the brilliant work that bloggers are doing to tell the story of our planet’s nature and wildlife. It’s certainly a hugely important addition to the UK’s biggest celebration of bloggers!
What has been the number 1 challenge with building/growing your blog?
My blog has a very specific niche; it’s about wildlife conservation and animal rights — and I want all of my content to reflect that. That includes any brands or products I’m discussing, any posts related to travel or photography; everything has to tie back to my purpose and never leave my readers wondering why I’ve included it. For me, it’s about reflecting my life philosophy, and that means I have some self-imposed limitations. For example, if a product is ‘eco-friendly’, that’s not necessarily the same as ‘cruelty-free’ — sure it may be made from sustainably sourced products, but I want to know that it wasn’t tested on animals, too. Likewise, I like to draw a connection between the topic/issue I’m discussing and the wider context (e.g. I featured a post on bamboo socks recently, where the company who makes them also donates a portion of their profits to the Dian Fossey Fund; this gave me a chance to discuss who Dian Fossey is, her impact on gorilla conservation; what the charity now does with her legacy and the issues that gorillas are facing). It can be challenging to grow into new areas, while still meeting my criteria. But that integrity has always been my message, and to me that’s gold dust. I strongly believe that eventually it will pay-off and one day become an asset or my ‘unique selling point’, rather than a limitation.
Do you think it’s ‘pot luck’ for a blogger to become a success and get paid for it?
Not at all. I think successful bloggers are where they are because of an incredible amount of hard work, and a lot of effort to maintain their status and stay ahead of the curve. They have to constantly evolve and move into new areas and trends to stay on top. That said, I think it’s like many other industries connected to gaining popularity and a form of celebrity; some people will take off in a huge way, and others simply won’t. It’s impossible to truly know the formula for what is going to make someone gain a following of millions, while others are equally as hard working and innovative, but gain a more modest following. It’s having that ‘X-factor’, or not. I don’t think it’s as simple as ‘pot luck’ though — probably more a mixture of timing, appeal, the right network, the right marketing strategy, etc.