Our Ambassadors supply advice and support to New Networks for Nature. Outstanding achievers in their respective fields, they produce work that fulfils many of our aims and ideas.
Mark Cocker is a Norfolk-based author, naturalist and environmental activist who writes and broadcasts on nature and wildlife in a variety of national media. His ten books include works of biography, history, literary criticism and memoir. His latest books include Claxton: Field Notes from a Small Planet (2014) and Birds and People (Jonathan Cape), which was published to international acclaim in 2013 and was a collaboration with the photographer David Tipling. An earlier book Crow Country was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and won the New Angle Prize.
Michael McCarthy was the environment editor of The Independent newspaper from 1998 to 2013 and won a number of prestigious awards for his commitment to and coverage of the environment, including the RSPB medal, the Dilys Breeze medal of the BTO and the silver medal of the Zoological Society of London. He now writes a weekly column on the natural world for The Independent entitled Nature Studies. His 2009 book Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo, a study of Britain’s summer migrant birds and their decline, was widely praised; his new book, The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy will be published by John Murray in the spring of 2015.
Ruth Padel is an award-winning poet and novelist inspired by nature. Writing in The Telegraph, Andrew O’Hagan described her as ‘A poet and a scholar with a beautifully patient understanding, reminiscent of Ted Hughes, of how the natural world invests itself in our experience’. Born in an attic in Wimpole Street, Ruth went on to study classics in Oxford, Berlin and Paris, before becoming a full-time writer in 1984. She has also written a wide range of non-fiction books and essays on topics in the arts, sciences and popular culture. Her most recent collection is Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth – poems on conflict, creativity and the Middle East.
Katrina Porteous is a poet, historian and broadcaster, much of whose work involves a detailed and loving celebration of the people, landscapes and wildlife of the Northumbrian coast where she lives. She has written extensively about local inshore fishing traditions, and often works in collaboration with artists and musicians, including painter James Dodds (Longshore Drift) and piper Chris Ormston (The Wund an’ the Wetter). Her long poems for BBC radio with producer Julian May include Dunstanburgh, The Refuge Box, and – with electronic composer Peter Zinovieff – Horse and Edge. Her most recent poetry collection is Two Countries (Bloodaxe, 2014).
Photograph of Mark Cocker by Rachael Cocker; Michael McCarthy by Tim Birkhead; Ruth Padel by Gwen Burnyeat.