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. It can be ordered here.
"A laugh-out-loud compendium of animals with bizarre body parts that serve a vital function.
Freaky Beaks is a heart-warming reminder of the power of being different."
- A Waterstones top nature book pick.
My 4 page feature in BBC Wildlife Mag [August 2020] explores ecological depletion in urban green spaces in some depth.
Medal nomination and school choice
College Green: Flowers in Their Footsteps
I have been involved with a range of efforts to try to get the UK media [and continue to] to properly own their environmental responsibilities and improve their science literacy and communication. I've been doing this on social media, in writing, public speaking, with a network of supporters and through actions with the National Union of Journalists, academics, campaigners, politicians and independent media people.
One example is the media's obliviously harmful promotion of carbon-heavy flying 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, with union actions and members now supporting this :)
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 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.
YouTube Talk: wilding up our parks
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 groups 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, school staff, 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 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
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
"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
I write about, teach & do ecology. I aim to bring wildlife closer, improve understanding, conserve it and provide guidance on resolving conflict. I offer expertise in ecology consultancy, science communication, journalism & publishing [children's & adult], education & nature discovery. Below are some of my recent children's science books.
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.
"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+"
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 totally sold out, but a second print run was released in October.
It was chosen as one of The Guardian's top new non fiction books for children. 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. You can now order it at most good bookshops and on UKBookshop.
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 & their 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.
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 :-)
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 in spring, phenology, climate, plus ideas for children to learn and do. Busy Spring is available in shops, online & at: UKBookshop