"Behind every kid that knows all the animal facts, there is a well-thumbed compendium like this one.
Full to the brim with all sorts of extraordinary adaptations, the authors take us on a journey across body parts through page-after-page of lavishly illustrated spreads." - BBC Wildilfe Magazine
Thanks for visiting. I mostly write about, teach & do ecology and science comms.
I aim to bring wildlife closer, improve understanding, conserve it and provide guidance on resolving conflict.
I have expertise in ecology consultancy, science communication, publishing, education & nature discovery.
As well as working in science [2 decades] I am also a qualified journalist [3 decades]. I have worked widely across the media industry and I advise them on science and environment. I give talks, workshops and events on wildlife and ecology.
I've also made 5 children's science books.
Funny Bums, Freaky Beaks reprint
Funny Bums reviews:
"The child-appeal of Funny Bums, Freaky Beaks and Other Amazing Creature Features (Welbeck) isn’t limited to the title – this compelling compendium of animals is grouped by body parts from strange toes to perplexing necks, with lively text... and intricate, vibrant illustrations." - The Guardian
It is a busy spring for me, with two books out in March. Busy Spring: Nature Wakes Up is a follow up to our popular children's book, Winter Sleep: A Hibernation Story. It is written for young children [4-6 ish] in the same format as Winter Sleep, combining story telling with science and natural history.
The book begins with a story of discoveries of seasonal wildlife in a family nature garden, followed by a non-fiction science section on plants, mammals and the Earth in temperate areas in spring. We introduce pollination, metamorphosis, plant life cycles, animal behaviour, phenology, climate & ideas for children to learn and do.
Busy Spring was voted a Best Innovative Non Fiction Book of 2021 by 400 judges on @inclusiveStoryTime. It is available in shops, online & at: UKBookshop
"A laugh-out-loud compendium of animals with bizarre body parts that serve a vital function, Funny Bums, Freaky Beaks is a heart-warming reminder of the power of being different." - A Waterstones top nature book pick.
Restoring urban wildlife is an urgent matter. But where do we start? Do you know how to find out what's a priority in your area? Where do you get your ecological baseline if you are not an expert?
My green spaces habitat restoration talk is now on YouTube as part of a series hosted by Bristol Parks Foundation @YourParkBB - a charity I am collaborating with on wilding up cities. I've been helping them with habitat creation on College Green after Greta Thunberg's visit led to a 20k public crowd funder.
As I've been involved in a lot of habitat creation, restoration, community and other wildlife work I realise most green space community people are unpaid and there is very little or no funding or expert guidance available because of Government funding cuts, even though an ecological emergency has been declared across the country.
Therefore my talk goes into quite some depth on thinking more ecologically. It is aimed at non ecologists such as parks volunteers, grounds keepers, gardeners, communities/groups etc who would like a more focused understanding and some guidance, resources & ideas on improving knowledge, recording & restoring nature on their patch.https://lnkd.in/gwdRzdp
The Most Important Animal of All
My Bookshop website offers home delivery of my books and most good published UK books & gives a fairer share to writers, illustrators & small businesses: Link
Our book, Winter Sleep: A Hibernation Story has been nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal. It is also a schools years 1 + 2 'Power Of Reading' recommended top choice with the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education. They've put together lesson plans on it for their members: https://clpe.org.uk/powerofreading
Winter Sleep combines story telling with science. A boy and his gran share a woodland adventure and discover where life disappears to in winter. A non fiction section explains more about the different ways animals get through winter: hibernation, torpor, diapause, brumation and more. Illustrations by Cinyee Chiu.
"This compendium intrigues and delights the reader. It celebrates evolution and creates a feeling of awe and wonder at the variety of the natural world. The book informs and inspires and can be dipped into again and again. Highly recommended for children aged 6+" - The English Society
Why blend in, when you were born to stand out? Funny Bums, Freaky Beaks is our best selling science and nature book. This book is a celebration of difference & weirdness. It completely sold out, but a second print run was released on October 11. It was chosen as one of The Guardian's top new non fiction books for children.
Here is wonder, nature & amazing science, told in animal voices. It's another collaboration with my writing buddy Sean and this time the brilliantly cheeky illustrator Sarah. It is written for children aged 5-10, but reviews indicate that preschoolers & grown ups are enjoying it too. This book was created during a challenging time, for me & the world, a weird period when ideas of 'normal' were turned on their head, when many of us found a welcome distraction in being reminded of how extraordinary the natural world is.
Our book spent several months as the Amazon UK Number 1 'most wished for' children's book on zoology and number 1 best selling children's zoology book until it sold out. From October 11 you should be able to order it on this link and at most good bookshops: UKBookshop Huge thanks to everyone who has supported and loved this book. We are with quite a small/new independent publisher who believed in us when no-one else did, and this book got to the number 1 spot in a pandemic without a marketing budget and no funded promotion, with no literary tours of fancy festivals, just with a lot of passion from everyone involved and kind interest from book reviewers :-)
I have been challenging and supporting the media on their environmental responsibilities and science literacy. I've been doing this on social media, in writing, public speaking and through advocacy with a network of supporters including the National Union of Journalists, academics, campaigners, politicians and independent media people.
One example is the media's promotion of carbon-heavy flying and other fossil fuel heavy marketing, in editorial and advertising. My calls for the media to own responsibility on this as a public health and wellbeing issue, in the same way they had to with regards to the promotion of the tobacco industry, are now backed by the UK Green Party. I spoke at the launch of a series of talks and actions alongside author / Flight Free UK campaigner Anna Hughes, ex-MEP Molly Scott Cato and airport campaigner Libby Scott. More here.
I have written and spoken on media environmental responsibilities for The Ecologist hereand for the National Union of Journalists which has >30,000 media worker members and a member magazine - here. There is still a long way to go, but change is coming :)
Thanks also to Bristol Cllr Carla Denyer [who is now co-leader of the Green Party] who wrote this story in The Independent here. And check out the new campaign group @Badvertising
Our wildlife board is now up on College Green in Bristol. Written by me, designed by Clare Challice of Inkwood Designs. New habitat creation is helping to restore lost wildlife at College Green, after Greta Thunberg's visit in 2020 and a march led by Bristol Youth Strike for Climate activists. A 20k public crowd funder followed, to improve the Green.
I've been involved from the start on advising on ecology, writing, talking and producing outreach. They have not been able to do everything recommended on ecology because of conflicting restraints but there is more to come. It's a challenging site, with frustrating limitations! Part 1 is done, more will follow.
Here's a link to a new wildlife recording project I've set up on iSPOT to record and share what moves in. Any wildlife snaps shared to iSPOT are welcome please! Experts will identify the species for you.
Book news! Winter Sleep: A Hibernation Story, along with its follow up book, Busy Spring: Nature Wakes Up are now out in paperback.
There are translated overseas editions in: French, Dutch, German, Romanian, Korean and Chinese.
The new paperbacks can be preordered on this: Link
Busy Spring: Nature Wakes Up
My 4 page feature in BBC Wildlife Mag [August 2020] explores ecological depletion in urban green spaces in some depth.
I hosted a children's online event based on Fabulously Freaky Animals as part of Bristol’s Storytale Festival. It was based on our book, Funny Bums, Freaky Beaks. This was one of several events with authors, illustrators and storytellers. The recordingis on their Facebook page & at: www.storytalefestival.com
I am proud to share this great new ecology story book for primary school age children. It's written by Penny Worms and illustrated by Hannah Bailey. I was consultant editor.
The book blends non-fiction with story telling, exploring keystone species that have special 'superpowers' and explains how these help keep whole ecosystems healthy. It's been recommended by the Sunday Times and it's been endorsed by the British Ecological Society.
Some profits from the book will help young people from less privileged places into careers in ecology. The book has won the KS1 Best Curriculum Support Award from @booksfortopics. It can be pre-ordered here.