Richard Mabey is the author of some forty books including the bestelling plant bible, Flora Britannica, Weeds, Whistling in the Dark and the memoir Nature Cure, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread, Ondaatje and Ackerley Awards. His life of Gilbert White won the Whitbread Biography Award. He contributes regularly to radio and the national press, and has written a personal column in BBC Wildlife for nearly 30 years. He is a Visiting Fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Patron of the John Clare Society. He lives in south Norfolk.Read More
Helen Macdonald is a writer, poet, artist, and historian of science. She’s worked as a Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge, as a professional falconer, and has helped manage raptor research and conservation projects across Eurasia. She is an affiliate of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, and her academic interests have been focused on the cultural history of animal-human interactions, particularly in the field sciences. Her books include Shaler’s Fish(Etruscan, 2001), Falcon (Reaktion Books, 2004), and most recently H is for Hawk (Jonathan Cape). She has also written two dramas for Radio 4, produced by Tim Dee. A keen birder and amateur naturalist, she lives near Newmarket, Suffolk.Read More
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.
Derek Niemann has spent 28 years as a volunteer and professional communicator in nature conservation, making up for a lost childhood in which he was “an enthusiastic, untutored and inept naturalist”. In November 2014 he leaves the RSPB to become a freelance writer and editor, after spending 16 years as editor of the RSPB’s youth magazines. He has been a fortnightly Country Diarist for the Guardian since 2005 and is also a regular contributor to BBC Wildlife. He has written a number of wildlife books for children, as well as Birds in a Cage, the true story of POW birdwatchers. Derek lives in a county that its own council used to undersell spectacularly on road signs that proclaimed: “Welcome to Bedfordshire – central to the Oxford–Cambridge Arc”.
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.Read More
Lyndall Phelps is an artist whose curiosity in the world around us has shaped her artistic output. Describing herself as an enthusiastic amateur of many things, her art practice embraces extensive research and collaboration with a wide range of individuals whose interests reflect her own, from pigeon fanciers to radar scientists. Science, history and the natural world, particularly ornithology, botany and horticulture, are recurring themes. Her work combines a range of media including sculpture, photography, video, sound, textiles, ephemera, multiples and works on paper. The installations are often deliberately playful, sometimes magical and at times surreal. She aims to invite a sense of wonder; that people experiencing her work will be curious and intrigued. Lyndall firmly believes that artists can play a positive and productive role in raising awareness of the many complex issues surrounding nature conservation and species protection.
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).
Michelle Remblance lives in, and enjoys exploring, Norfolk. Her love for nature is expressed in her writing, and she has recently completed a novel re-writing The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in an attempt to try and understand why anyone would shoot an albatross. After researching hundreds of possible explanations that have spanned more than two hundred years, she has reached her own unique conclusions about this famous literary example of bird cruelty, and she can now turn her attention to Cock Robin.
Callum Roberts is a professor of marine conservation at the University of York. His disparate research interests range from subjects such as the origins and maintenance of biodiversity on coral reefs, to historical ecology to the ecosystem effects of fishing. He has helped demonstrate that use of marine reserves, areas closed to fishing, can improve the success of fishery management and boost catches from surrounding areas by acting as a reservoir of productive fish stocks. Callum makes frequent contributions to radio and newspapers on the impacts of fishing on the sea and how to achieve sustainable fisheries. His book on this subject, The Unnatural History of the Sea, received the Rachel Carson Environment Book Prize. His most recent book Ocean of Life was shortlisted for the Royal Society book prize and examines the full scope of threats to the sea and what this means to our lives.Read More
William Sutherland holds the Miriam Rothschild Chair in Conservation Biology at the University of Cambridge. He has research interests in ecology, conservation and policy-making, and has written or edited ten books and over 400 scientific papers. Having created the OUP series, Techniques in Ecology and Conservation, and the journals Conservation Letters and Conservation Evidence, he set up a gratisscheme to distribute conservation books to students in developing countries. He has been awarded Marsh Awards for Ecology, and for Conservation Biology, and the Scientific Medal of ZSL. He is President of the British Ecological Society, on the Science Strategy Committee of Natural England, and the Advisory Committee of Synchronicity Earth. He is particularly interested in developing links between science and practice including the process of routine horizon scanning, the use of evidence-based conservation such as through the website Conservation Evidence, and as an Associate Fellow of the Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy.Read More
Mike Toms is an Associate Director at the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), responsible for science communication. Much of his work is geared towards public engagement in ‘Citizen Science’, delivering quality research through networks of keen amateurs. He has been with the BTO since 1994 and has also worked on owls, bird migration, monitoring methods and mammals (amongst others) during his time with the organisation. Mike sees a real need for scientists to communicate the results of their work in ways that engage more effectively with a wider audience. With an artistic background, he also seeks to promote experiences of the natural world, adding context to the rather dry and often formal outputs of the scientific community. Mike is a regular contributor to BBC Wildlife magazine, a columnist for the Eastern Daily Press and author of several books, including the Collins New Naturalist volume on owls.
Blog: www.in-the-countryside.blogspot.com Twitter feed: @miketoms
Juliet Vickery enjoyed research posts at Scottish Natural Heritage, the University of Edinburgh and the British Trust for Ornithology, following a PhD at Oxford and a Post doc at the University of East Anglia. She moved to her current position of Head of the International Research section in the Centre for Conservation Science at the RSPB in 2009. Working with, and building the capacity of, in-country BirdLife partners, the section is responsible for research that underpins the conservation of threatened sites, species and habitats throughout the world. Her own personal interests include the conservation of Afro-Palaearctic migrant birds, the impact of agriculture on biodiversity, and the impact of invasive non-native species on the island ecosystems of UK Overseas Territories. Juliet has authored/co-authored over 90 scientific publications and is one of the regular contributors to British Wildlife Magazine. She is chair of the Public and Policy Committee of the British Ecological Society and a member of the Government’s Darwin Expert Committee.Read More
Faye Vogely Faye is a behavioural ecologist whose research has looked at our own and other species’ evolution and behaviour. After years of working as a field biologist, she now focuses her efforts on building a bridge between the scientific community and general public through effective communication. She currently works for the British Trust for Ornithology as their Social Media Manager.Read More
Martin Wainwright retired from the Guardian in 2013 after 37 years, the last 18 as Northern Editor. He has edited four collections of Guardian Country Diaries and writes a blog about moths. His enthusiasm for wildlife and the countryside was triggered in his native Leeds by the late John Armitage, curator of natural history at the city museum, nature columnist for the Daily Mirror, expert forger of stamps (for amusement not gain) and kindly patron of the young.Read More
Michael Warren is a teacher of English, currently completing his doctorate on birds and their environments in medieval poetry. His work casts new perspectives on the ornithological ‘Dark Ages’, demonstrating how our medieval forbears were equally enlightened about the natural world, with their own, complex environmental understandings. Michael has been a keen birder all his life and writes a journal about his experiences with birds in the field and in our rich heritage. He intends to publish his doctoral work and continue his academic research and writing about why birds matter in our early literature and our cultural lives more broadly.Read More
James de Winter taught science in secondary schools for eight years. Although no longer in the classroom on a daily basis, he still considers himself to be physics teacher, and now spends most of his working life supporting the teaching of physics. He works at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, running the Secondary Physics PGCE initial teacher education course as well as teaching on the Primary PGCE and MEd Courses. He also runs training courses for in-service teachers, who tend mainly to be biologists, where the need for support with physics seems greatest. Recently he has noticed that there is a world outside physics and has been looking for ways to incorporate a love of natural history into physics teaching. His most recent project is one using birdsong and sonograms to teach about sound, frequency and pitch as well as wider observational and data handling skills. His teaching pack aimed at primary and secondary aged children, with associated notes (and sounds) is available at www.physicsandbirdsong.co.uk.Read More