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.
Bill Oddie is Britain’s best-known birder, and one of the most longstanding and familiar faces of wildlife television. After finding fame as one of the 1970s comedy trio The Goodies, Bill tuned his lifelong passion for birds into a second career, travelling throughout Britain and the world with series such as Birding with Bill Oddie, Bill Oddie Goes Wild and of course Springwatch, all presented in his inimitable, ‘organic freeform’ style. In recent years he has become a major figurehead for conservation at home and abroad, joining various causes including the anti badger culling campaign.
Stephanie O’Donnell is the Community Manager of WILDLABS.NET, launched by United for Wildlife, with support from Google.org and ARM, to close the information-sharing gap in the fight against illegal wildlife trade and other pressing issues facing our planet. She guides the community’s development so that it contributes tangible value to the UfW objective of democratising access to the right information, tools and resources, and fulfils the WILDLABS.NET aims of connecting conservationists, technologists, engineers, data scientists and entrepreneurs and supporting them to find, share and create effective technology-based solutions to protect threatened wildlife and habitats.
Alice Owen is an environment professional with 12 years’ experience in protected area management and wildlife conservation in East Africa. She has practical experience in the challenges of wildlife management, including conservation of biodiversity hotspots in areas of rural poverty. She is now a UK resident and is currently undertaking a Master’s degree course in Wildlife Filmmaking, with the intention of pursuing a career linked to wildlife conservation and public communication. In the UK, she has previously held a position as an Operations Assistant at the Soil Association. She has also volunteered with the Somerset Wildlife Trust and with an independent microbiology lab.
Chris Packham sprang to fame almost 30 years ago as the spiky haired presenter (along with Terry Nutkins, Michaela Strachan and later Nick Baker) of The Really Wild Show. After a period ‘in the wilderness’ away from our TV screens he came back with a vengeance as the uber-geek frontman of Springwatch and Autumnwatch, where he shows off his extensive and often quirky knowledge of British wildlife and 1980s alternative music. Chris is also a keen and highly accomplished photographer and author.
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.
Debbie Pain is Director of Conservation at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust. She began her career as an environmental chemist and then moved on to do a DPhil on lead poisoning in birds at Oxford University. She subsequently worked for four years in the Camargue, France, on ecotoxicology and behavioural ecology projects. She then joined the RSPB and was its first Head of International Research, investigating the causes of and solutions to the declines of some of the world’s most endangered birds, including Gyps vultures in Asia. Debbie has published numerous scientific papers on topics including protected area prioritisation, climate change, agricultural policy, ecotoxicology and species conservation. She has co-authored/edited three books, the most recent of which is Facing Extinction: The world’s rarest birds and the race to save them.
Laurie Parma holds a BS in Biology and a Masters in Neuroscience from the University of Bordeaux. Her interests lie in modern studies of human happiness, and she is currently leading one of the largest studies undertaken into the psychological and physical well-being effects of yoga. A second project, co-led with the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, investigates the relationships between well-being and biodiversity. The project team has developed a new smartphone app to capture the relationship between human wellbeing and the environment they are in moment by moment.
Edward Parnell lives in Norfolk and has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. He is the recipient of an Escalator Award from Writers’ Centre Norwich, and in 2009 received a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship. Edward has previously worked for BirdLife International and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, and has written numerous natural history and conservation-related articles for magazines and newspapers; he has also worked extensively in television and media production. Currently, he is a freelance editor and copywriter, and is also one of the Co-Directors of the Wymondham Words literature festival. His first novel, The Listeners, was the winner of the 2014 Rethink New Novels Prize. He is currently working on his second novel.
James Parry is a writer and consultant specialising in history, heritage, wildlife and the environment. After training as a conservation officer with English Heritage, he joined the British Council, working in East Africa and the Middle East before returning to the UK to do a Master’s degree and then joining the National Trust as its academic editor. He now leads wildlife and heritage tours and writes on natural history and conservation for various newspapers and magazines, including BBC Wildlife, Country Life, Countryfile and BirdWatching. He has also written several books, including Global Safari (2007), Rainforest Safari (2008) and The Mating Lives of Birds (2012). He is currently working on a book about Emma Turner, the pioneering early 20th-century bird photographer.