George Monbiot divides his time between writing for the Guardian and pursuing a number of quixotic projects: generally writing obscure books and campaigning for lost causes. His latest book is Feral: searching for enchantment on the frontiers of rewilding.
Stephen Moss is a naturalist, television producer, writer and broadcaster specialising in British wildlife. In a 30 year career at the BBC, much of it based at the Natural History Unit in Bristol, he has been responsible for many successful series, including Birding with Bill Oddie, Big Cat Diary, The Nature of Britain, Springwatch, Britain’s Big Wildlife Revival and Birds …
Hannah Mumby is an evolutionary ecologist at the University of Sheffield, and the recipient of a Drapers’ Company Junior Research Fellowship at Pembroke College, Cambridge and a Branco Weiss Society in Science Fellowship. She has travelled across Africa and Asia studying pubertal children, monkeys and most recently, Asian elephants. Her aim is to find out how living for a long time, being very social and having relatively few offspring makes evolutionary sense for these animals. And beyond that, whether we can challenge our perception of human uniqueness by testing whether humans really stand out from other long-lived species. Hannah has a passion for public communication of science and has given school talks, interviews and public seminars in everywhere from a hotel in northern Thailand to a student radio station in Bangalore, India. You can also spot her getting excited about weighing elephants in the documentary “Of Oozies and Elephants” and follow her research on Twitter @Myanmarelephant.
Jeremy Mynott spent most of his professional career in publishing at Cambridge University Press, working successively as editor, editorial director, managing director and chief executive. Jeremy has explored the variety of human responses to birds in Birdscapes: Birds in Our Imagination and Experience (2009), a book described by reviewers as ‘the finest book ever written about why we watch birds’ (Guardian) and ‘ a wonderful rumination on birds and birders through space and time for anyone interested in our relationship with nature’ (THES). In 2016 he published Knowing your Place, an account of the wildlife in the tiny Suffolk hamlet of Shingle Street; and his most recent book is a cultural history of Birds in the Ancient World: Winged Words (2018). He is an Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, a regular reviewer for the TLS and a founder member of New Networks for Nature.
Matthew Oates has worked for the National Trust in various incarnations for 24 years, originally by providing practical habitat management advice but recently by developing the Trust’s wildlife and nature media work and by helping the Trust’s efforts to facilitate people’s relationships with Nature. A deep lover of butterflies, with some incipient knowledge, he is also interested in some other invertebrate groups, though unable to take specimens / kill anything. Formerly, he helped to develop nature conservation grazing. A poet, author, broadcaster and follower of the poetic approach to Nature, his life’s work concerns unravelling the mysteries of the Purple Emperor and reinstating the capital N in Nature.
Ruth Padel’s collections include Darwin – A Life in Poems and The Mara Crossing, a meditation on migration. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Trustee of the Zoological Society of London. Awards include First Prize in the National Poetry Competition and a British Council Darwin Now research award. She teaches poetry at King’s College London.
Pascale Petit is a poet who has published six collections, four of which were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. She was born in Paris and lives in London. Her sixth book Fauverie was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and won the Manchester Poetry Prize. The Fauverie of this book is the big-cat house in the Jardin des Plantes zoo in Paris; a city haunted by Aramis the black jaguar and a menagerie of wild animals. Fauverie endeavours to redeem the darker forces of human nature while celebrating the ferocity and grace of endangered species. Pascale is widely travelled, including in the Venezuelan Amazon, China, Mexico and Nepal. Her fifth book What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlowas shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot Prize and Wales Book of the Year. Three of her books have been Books of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement, Observer and Independent. She originally trained as a sculptor and tutors for Tate Modern and The Poetry School.
Geoff Sample was brought up in Northumberland and the Scottish Highlands, where his early ambition was to be a naturalist and live like Gavin Maxwell. After being sidetracked into an education in Classics and a sojourn as guitarist and music producer, he wove the threads together to study and record the ancient culture of birdsong and its context in natural soundscapes. He began by publishing his own CDs through Wildsong and has subsequently produced sound guides for HarperCollins, including the best-selling Collins Bird Songs and Calls. He regularly collaborates with contemporary artists, particularly Marcus Coates and Hanna Tuulikki, and produces installations and radio pieces in his own right exploring sound in the open landscape. His recordings find their way into all sorts of unlikely places on music albums, radio, TV and film. But he can still occasionally be heard warbling and fiddling with six-stringed boxes in various venues in Northumberland.
Jo Shapcott was born in London. Poems from her three award-winning collections, Electroplating the Baby (1988), Phrase Book (1992) and My Life Asleep (1998) are gathered in a selected poems, Her Book(2000). She has won a number of literary prizes including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Collection, the Forward Prize for Best Collection and the National Poetry Competition (twice). Tender Taxes, her versions of Rilke, was published in 2001. Her most recent collection, Of Mutability, was published in 2010 and won the Costa Book Award. In 2011 Jo Shapcott was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.
Matt Shardlow is Chief Executive of Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust. Buglife is the only organisation in Europe committed to saving all invertebrates; the charity has twenty four members of staff and a growing portfolio of conservation projects. The charity’s priorities include the sustainable management of brownfield sites; saving endangered Biodiversity Action Plan Priority species; putting bees and flowers back into the countryside; saving key sites for bugs from destruction, and improving the health of freshwater ecosystems. Matt is chair of the Wildlife and Countryside Link (WCL) Legal Strategy Group and is a Country Diary columnist in the Guardian. Before leaving to set up Buglife in 2002 he was at the RSPB overseeing the management and monitoring of non-avian biodiversity on the RSPB’s nature reserves.