Michael Benton is a palaeontologist who has made fundamental contributions to understanding the history of life. He is interested in drivers all aspects of macroevolution, including the Permo–Triassic mass extinction, the largest mass extinction of all time. He is also interested in dinosaur feathers and colour, and was one of the first to show evidence for the colour of a dinosaur, and was part of the team that announced the first dinosaur tail in amber. He has written more than 50 books, including engaging books for children as well as several leading palaeontology textbooks for university students. Mike Benton founded the MSc in Palaeobiology at Bristol in 1996, from which more than 320 students have graduated. He has supervised more than 65 PhD students. He is currently Head of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014.Read More
Tim Birkhead is a professor of behaviour and evolution at the University of Sheffield. His research on promiscuity and sperm competition in birds helped to re-shape current understanding of bird mating systems. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2004. As well as a passion for research, Tim is committed to undergraduate teaching and the public understanding of science. His talks (like The Early Birdwatchers) and popular science books have gained widespread recognition: The Wisdom of Birds (2008) won ‘bird book of the year award’ and Bird Sense (2012) was short-listed for the Royal Society Winton Prize. His most recent books are Ten Thousand Birds: Ornithology since Darwin (2014) and The Most Perfect Thing: Inside (and Outside) a Bird’s Egg (2016).Read More
Isabelle Charmantier gained a PhD in history of science from the University of Sheffield in 2008, which was followed by a post-doctoral position at the University of Exeter (2009–2013), working on a Wellcome Trust funded project on Carl Linnaeus’s manuscripts. Having retrained as an archivist, she was employed by the Linnean Society to catalogue Linnaeus’s manuscripts (2013–2015). After 18 months as Collections Manager at the Freshwater Biological Association (Cumbria), Isabelle is now Deputy Collections Manager at the Linnean Society of London.Read More
ary Colwell is a producer of TV, radio and internet programmes, specialising in the areas of natural history and religion. She has made major Radio 4 series such as Saving Species, Shared Planet and The History of Natural History. For TV she produced British Isles – A Natural History, Bill Oddie Goes Wild, Wildlife On One and Natural World. In 2009 she won a Radio Academy Sony Gold for a podcast about a prisoner caring for a budgerigar. She is a feature writer for the Catholic think-tank journal The Tabletand has advised the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales on environmental issues. Her first book, John Muir – The Man Who Saved America’s Wild Places, was published in 2014. At present she is working on her second book on kindness and nature and producing a series for Radio 4 on animal sentience.Read More
Peter Cowdrey began composing as a small boy, at which time he loved listening to the dawn chorus but was deeply frustrated at its inaccessibility – too fast, too high – and resolutely resistant to being shoehorned into what his upbringing defined as music. After spending a substantial part of his childhood turning himself into an ornithologist, Peter is delighted that recent technology has come to his rescue, making it possible to crack the hidden codes of birdsong. He is on a mission to share them with the rest of the world, especially children. More information about Peter can be found at Opera Unlimited and The Conference of Birds, and in this article by Mark Cocker in the Guardian. His compositions can be heard on his Soundcloud page.Read More
Mya-Rose Craig is a 15-year-old British Bangladeshi birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She has birded all the continents and was the youngest to see 4000 birds. She was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador and has also been listed as one of Bristol’s most influential young people. She is an Ambassador for World Shorebird Day, See it her Way and a Charter Champion for The Charter for Trees, Woods and People. She has organised Camp Avalon for 3 years, a camp for young naturalists and Minority Ethnic teenagers and the Race Equality in Nature Conference in June 2016 aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature. She has also set up Black2Nature with the aim of working with organisations to increase the access to nature of BAME people as well as the Race Equality in Nature LinkedIn Group. She hopes to become a nature presenter.Read More
Dafydd Davies-Hughes is a storyteller. Drawing on a life of work, play and discovery in wild places and a passion for his native Welsh folklore and mythology he weaves stories that stir and tantalise the senses and reveal the magical in everyday experiences. From the wanderings of migrating seabirds and spawning salmon to the hero’s journey – we find in these stories words that inspire and sustain us. You’ll never see this land, these mountains, woods and the rivers and the old stone bridge in the same way ever again. Dafydd shares stories in both Welsh and English, with harp and flute, to communities, at festivals and at schools and colleges and currently runs Felin Uchaf a Cultural and Environmental Education Centre on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales where he uses storytelling as a tool for enabling people to explore their connection with their landscape, and to help them realise their own visions and aspirations.Read More
Mike Edwards has spent much of his life trying to prevent the destruction of ‘wild’ spaces – both real and imagined. He lived in Australia for 11 years where he did a PhD on the links between climate change and security. Since completing his PhD, Mike has dedicated himself to music and teaching. Over the past 17 years, he has roamed the world playing didgeridoo and teaching people why it is crucial to love nature. Mike is the co-founder of Sound Matters, an organisation that uses sound and music to raise awareness of climate change and other environmental issues. Mike has lectured on climate change at universities around the world, acted as a climate change consultant to numerous Non-Governmental Organisations, and was Climate Change Advisor to The Elders in the run-up to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.Read More
Is an author and environmentalist based in north Cornwall. Over the last three decades, he has worked on bird and biodiversity conservation in the UK, Kenya and Tanzania; primarily for the charity BirdLife. With Terry Stevenson, he is co-author of a field guide, Birds of East Africa(2001), and with Nigel Redman and Terry Stevenson of Birds of the Horn of Africa (2009). With Mark Cocker, he edited and published the complete works of the author J. A. Baker, including The Peregrine, in 2010. Working as a senior strategy adviser for BirdLife, and as an arts, science and conservation adviser for the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), he has a particular interest in the role of arts practice in conservation, is a member of the research cluster RANE, and has an MA in Art and Environment from University College Falmouth.Read More
Philip Hoare is the author of seven works of non-fiction, including Leviathan Or, The Whale, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize for 2009. His latest book, The Sea Inside, is published by Fourth Estate, and is a personal journey through human and natural history from Southampton and the Isle of Wight, via the Azores and Sri Lanka, to Tasmania and New Zealand. He wrote and presented the BBC 2 film, The Hunt for Moby-Dick, and directed three short films for BBC 4, Philip Hoare’s Guide to Whales. Philip is professor of creative writing at the University of Southampton, and co-curator of the Moby-Dick Big Read, a free online version of Herman Melville’s book featuring Tilda Swinton, Stephen Fry, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Waters, Simon Callow, Fiona Shaw, Mary Oliver and Sir David Attenborough. He also volunteers for the Dolphin Whalewatch in Cape Cod, where friends accuse him of spending more time with whales than with human beings.
www.philiphoare.co.uk Twitter feed: @philipwhale
Heather Hunt trained as a clinical and child psychologist in the NHS. She now puts time and energy into managing an ancient woodland and an adjacent field, enjoying and exploring the different ways a diverse range of people engage with and benefit from nature.Read More
Richard Kerridge is a nature writer and ecocritic. Cold Blood: Adventures with Reptiles and Amphibians, published by Chatto & Windus in 2014, is a mixture of memoir and nature writing. Richard’s work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in BBC Wildlife, Poetry Review and Granta. He was awarded the 2012 Roger Deakin Prize by the Society of Authors, and has twice received the BBC Wildlife Award for Nature Writing. Richard leads the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and has published numerous essays giving environmental readings of literature. He was co-editor of Writing the Environment, the first collection of ecocritical essays to be published in Britain, and a leading member of the team of creative writers and scientists led by SueEllen Campbell that wrote The Face of the Earth: Natural Landscapes, Science and Culture.Read More
Juniper Kiss is an undergraduate student at Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge) on the Marine Biology with Biodiversity and Conservation course. She has worked with invasive species and biocontrol agent testing at CABI (Egham) and agricultural crop variety testing at NIAB (Cambridge). She used image analysis for oilseed rape petals, pods and cotyledons for over 300,000 samples in a year, and is now doing her dissertation on geometric morphometric analysis of brambles (subgenus Rubus), trying to untangle their complex and prickly taxonomy. She is also passionate about science communication, public outreach and publishing. She started up GOES magazine, an open access magazine written and designed by students. She was awarded the Golden Opportunities Scholarship by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science and Soil Science (2016) and the Anglia Trust Foundation Scholarship three times (2014, 2015 and 2016) to travel to the Namib Desert, Finland and Nepal.Read More
Nishant Kumar is a DPhil student and Felix scholar at the University of Oxford, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). He is supervised by Drs. Andrew Gosler, Fabrizio Sergio, and Profs. Yadvendradev Jhala and Qamar Qureshi. He studies the urban ecology of the Black Kite Milvus migrans in Delhi, a heterogeneous capital and the fastest growing mega-city with 25 million human inhabitants. Kites, a human commensal bird of prey in the Subcontinent, offer a unique opportunity to study the urban adaptations of a top trophic predator (e.g. population ecology, behavioural ecology, spatial ecology, ethnic relations, etc.). Since his MSc at WII, his team has imparted research training to 85 undergraduate students, conservation education to the more than 30,000 citizens in streets, and inspired 200 top meritorious school children through demonstration of research protocols in association with Delhi University and the Dept. of Science & Technology, Government of India. Nishant is the Christian Howey Raising Scholar for the year 2017.Read More
Harriet Mead is an award-winning sculptor and the President of the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA). The influence of her late father, the ornithologist, author and broadcaster, Chris Mead, meant it was probably inevitable that she should take an interest in natural history and use it in her work. During her time at the helm of the SWLA, Harriet has worked to broaden their audience and to shrug off the negative connotations of wildlife art. Having worked on various projects with the Artists for Nature Foundation, she also has plans to encourage conservation organisations to make use of the SWLA pool of artists to help bring a different perspective to their projects and to highlight areas of conservation concern all over the world.
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.
Ian Newton has enjoyed lifetime interests in both farming and birds. As a child, he spent much of his time on farms, and later in life in his ‘spare time’ he managed a small commercial fruit farm producing apples and pears. Now retired, he worked throughout his career as a population ecologist, having done detailed research on finches, waterfowl and raptors. For many years he was based at Monks Wood Research Station near Huntingdon, in charge of work on pesticide impacts on wildlife. He is a past President of the British Ecological Society and the British Ornithologists’ Union, a past Chairman of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the British Trust for Ornithology. He has authored around 300 papers in the scientific literature, and several books, including Finches, Bird Populations and the recent Farming and Birds, all in the New Naturalist Series.Read More
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”.