Rally for Nature 2014

In December, living in London came in handy. I was able to attend the ‘Rally for Nature’- a political rally of people who believe that the current political status of nature is unsatisfactory, and unsustainable. The rally was based around three key themes, which I will bring up later, but you can have a look now at http://www.league.org.uk/our-campaigns/rally-for-nature

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(The District line being its usual tardy self)

The event was organised and led by Dr. Mark Avery, the RSPB, the League Against Cruel Sports, the Wildlife Trusts, and other organisations and political individuals who shared our mindset. The public was welcome (we had to sign up beforehand- the organisers had made us all name badges- I’ve never had a personal name badge before!) and after being delayed for half an hour on the district line, I ran in and joined the gathering at the Church House conference centre to listen to the key event speakers.

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(Ooh name badge! The man behind me is having a great time.)2014-12-09 10.34.42 2014-12-09 10.47.12 (some photos to set the scene, including Mike Clark- RSPB’s CEO)

Disappointingly there weren’t that many young people at the morning session, but the event was during school hours, so obviously that will have restricted attendance.

Dr Mark Avery gave a rousing talk, de-blazering at one point to reveal his trademark Hen Harrier emblem on a white t-shirt. He ended his speech with a final push of positivity: ‘We will win.’ To me, positivity is underused and under appreciated in the battle against wildlife crime.

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During one of the talks someone sitting near me’s phone started ringing. Pharrell William’s ‘Happy’ blasted out through the conference room. We all popped up like meerkats and looked around for the culprit, and to my total delight the culprit was none other than Bill Oddie.

Other memorable talks include that given by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. ‘Nature must be at the heart of children’s learning… the public need a meaningful say.’

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This really stood out to me. One of my strong beliefs is that every single human being on this earth is relevant, and absolutely central, to conserving the environment. Everybody should feel empowered in their environment.

We have the gift of speech (or sign language, or brail, or written word, or morse code, or that weird thing where you jump around with flags, or any form of communication) and this is the fundament of education. And i’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that education is the fundament of change.

My total faith in education is why I am so desperate for change in the current schooling system. We as a nation are incredibly privileged to have compulsory, free education up until the age of 16, and we should therefore be using this to raise our next generation into forward thinking, question-asking, litter-pickeruping adults. I will be talking more about this in the followup blogpost.

Right, back to the Rally!

After the talks, we rammed tea and biscuits down our throats and gathered in our constituencies to begin the march to Parliament. This is when I got to meet Terence, Lynne and Sue- three putney folk with green hearts of gold. Each is passionate, proactive and an asset to south west London! I was briefly able to grab Dr Avery and ask him how he believed the education system could be adapted. He seemed to like the idea of practical experience from a young age- bring back the days of show and tell with discarded nests and jam-jars of frogspawn.

10966616_10153057059370871_1047288015_n(gathering!)10967710_10153057060855871_586131802_n(Bob: A political correspondent for the RSPB, oh and also a red squirrel https://www.voteforbob.co.uk)

Caffeine pumped, onwards we marched; accompanied by the Vote for Bob squad and his fellow 6ft mammals. Passers by seemed confused, but I hope that the punchy and memorable picket signs may have inspired a bit of curious googling-on-the-go for some of the baffled commuters.

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I was lucky enough to march next to Bill Oddie, and he was incredibly friendly, genuine and happy to talk to me and other rallyers. He certified the need for a far more multi-layered approach to nature education at schools.

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(no caption needed…)

After security checks (I can’t believe I passed) we were ushered into the huge meeting hall of the Houses of Parliament and we filled out green cards to meet with our retrospective MPs. Unfortunately our Putney MP Justine Greening was out of office, but we met with her secretary. It is incredibly challenging speaking to someone about nature, when they clearly just see it as a ‘hobby’. But we explained why we were there, and that we would appreciate a direct meeting with Justine to follow up from the Rally.

10984684_10153057060750871_1025802533_n (my wonderful constituents, with Ms Greening’s secretary (the lady without a visitor badge!) in the houses of Parliament!)

Because of the passion and sincerity of my fellow putney nature team, we were able to have a meeting with Justine this February, and despite an initially disappointing outcome (again, nature was more or less given the ‘miscellaneous’ treatment) Justine has been great so far at following up our discussion with relevant parties. Nicky Morgan MP, the secretary of State for education has responded (the follow up blog will go into detail about this) and we have been promised response from DEFRA.

Here is an outline, compiled by Terence, of how our 20 minute speed-date-style meeting with Justine played out:

Q: Defending the laws that protect nature: Are you supportive of existing EU and UK legislation and if so would you be willing to encourage UK ministers to oppose any weakening of the EU Nature Directives?

A: Ms Greening’s response was “the short answer is yes” but then she followed this with “There will be opportunities and threats- and perhaps there will be opportunities to “improve” the directives”. She promised to get further detail for us from DEFRA.

Q: Tackling Wildlife, especially to restore Hen Harriers: Do you personally support action to save species threatened by wildlife crime and habitat loss and to sustain and enact existing law to ensure suppression of criminal activity in this respect?

A: Ms Greening acknowledged that control of wildlife crime is essential, though we sensed that she would bow to DEFRA with respect to the balance of commercial and wildlife issues such as intensive grouse raising. She did say at one point that she used to “go walking on those moors” but again generally appeared ignorant of the issues as you might expect.

Q: Creating an act for nature: Would you be willing to encourage your party leader and manifesto team to commit to a Nature and Wellbeing Act in your election manifesto?

A: The nature and wellbeing discussion centred around education and the need for a place in the curriculum for nature. Ms Greening was accepting of the notion that ‘wellbeing’ is associated with access to nature and she talked of the importance of access to green spaces (she campaigned successfully for more public gates at Richmond Park) and highlighted the ‘Natural Capital Committee’ and the need for sustainable development.

The event was hugely successful and I hope that other constituencies who attended have followed through in the same way.

Change is coming.

Ps. Please do keep an eye out for my followup post in the next couple of days!

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Set An Eggsample

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I’m not a vegetarian. Which surprises most people. ‘If you love animals why do you eat them!?!’ is the usual question. The truth is I don’t have any trouble eating meat if I know it comes from a high welfare environment. Human beings have hunted and eaten meat since we were tiny cell divisions billions of years ago. Animals in the wild eat meat. But the difference is they work for their meat- meat isn’t a walk to the shops away in the wild. A pride of lions will take only need one large meaty meal for a week, and the catching of that meat will often put each member of the pride’s life at risk. We should take a leaf out of their books and those of our ancestors: meat is a luxury, not a right (we do not need frequent meat in our diets) and it’s a life. We should be aware of this every time we eat it, and demand that we know where it comes from.

One of my new years resolutions was to make sure I actually knew where my meat was coming from.

Supermarket labels are so cunning sometimes. ‘OUR PIGS ARE RAISED IN AIRY BARNS WITH STRAW BEDDING’. Congratulations! You do realise that just means a barn with air in it. So basically just a barn. That means absolutely nothing.

‘Free range’ eggs are everywhere now, but free range is also a pretty empty term. There are certain restrictions placed on companies who want to label their eggs free range: their hens have to be allowed access to outside space each day (but what counts as ‘daytime’ is tenuous).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(free range hens outside. Photo from google)

They have to have 2.5m of outdoor space per hen. When inside however, there are very few restrictions on the hens welfare. 15cm perching space per hen is the minimum required by law. Thats about the length of your hand. The outdoor space is required to have ‘some vegetation’, but again that’s really not saying much. The amount of hens in a space would very quickly turn the ground barren and rough.So yes they’re allowed outside, but its not the lush green grasses we can see on the packaging.

I see it a bit like a school playground at lunchtime: a confined rubble space. Can you imagine that for the whole day?

Free-range-hens (‘free range’ hens inside. Photo from google)

It’s incredibly difficult to get any information or pictures that aren’t staged in the meat/egg/dairy industry.

So what can we do?! Some brands are better than others, and you can quite often tell by the taste of meat and eggs which have been raised in better conditions.

Meat is a whole other ball game and one which receives a lot more attention. The only real way we can be sure to get well reared animal products is by going local; choosing to get your meat from a farm where you can see the animals in action. Obviously this is pretty awkward for people who live in big cities. But there are independant suppliers who deliver meat from their farms outside the city, to your doorstep, for not much more than you’d pay in the supermarket for free range meats and eggs. At home in London we get our eggs delivered in an organic food box supplied by Greener Greens- look them up, they’re fantastic! There are plenty of these independant groups and you can get your weekly veg and eggs delivered for about £10 usually. 

But we all need supermarkets. So, if you are going to shop at supermarkets make sure you read the label. If you’re paying more for them, they’re probably going to be better eggs. If you have a Waitrose near by, i’d say go for Clarence court eggs. They’re recognisable by their lovely pastel coloured boxes, and they truly taste delicious. They’re quite a bit more expensive than usual supermarket free range eggs (about £2 for a half-dozen) but it’s worth it. Make eggs a treat! They’ve done well in terms of winning awards for their farming practices, they have a ‘roam further’ motto which encourages their hens to roam around larger spaces and find new areas.

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I just wish everything was more transparent. In my opinion every brand in the animal product industry should be on a comparison website where you can see true images of the farms and how the animals are kept. We should be told about how many eggs each hen is expected to produce in a year, what happens to them when they stop laying, how their outdoor space is maintained and the general health condition of their hens. Something like http://www.fishsource.com/ 

I think our duty is to eat less animal products, and when we do, be willing to spend a bit more on our food. After all, its the animals life we’re paying for. I’m a student so obviously my finances aren’t rolling in, so i just buy less meat and less eggs. It’s simple, and i absolutely believe that it’s something every single one of us can do, regardless of our financial or geographical situation.

Chick1

Sunday Birday

So today was pretty epic…

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My UK bird list is pretty meagre really, and its hard to judge it. I’ve seen a lot of UK birds in the past 20 years, but i’ve decided not to count the ones i’ve seen in the distant past; times when my dad pointed something out in a tree and I was too busy imagining what it would be like to have an obedient pet white lion.

A waxwing is one of these ‘new’ lifers. Today I was lucky enough to tag along with Andy Walker (awbirder.blogspot.co.uk) and Tim Jones (timsbirding.blogspot.com): birding celebrities and absolutely lovely guys. Last year Andy took me around Yorkshire in his car and gave me with some of my best ever birding experiences: long eared owl family having dinner at dusk, turtle dove, nightjar and marsh harrier to name a few.

We started off with a drive to Beckfield lane, recent reports didn’t disappoint: in the middle of the street we found a huge berry tree with enough berries to feed the continent’s Waxwings and most of North Yorkshire’s blackbirds.

Before we’d even parked Tim saw the bird at the top of the tree and with blood rushing to my brain I hopped out the car and squealed with excitement. They are far bigger, and far more beautiful than i’d expected. The way their dusty plumage ruffles and puffs in the wind, and that electric yellow on their wings. Just perfect.

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(OMG HI THERE)

After that epic start I wasn’t expecting much. Skipwith common was completely empty: the birds seemed a lot wiser than us and were hiding away from the freezing drab weather. So we carried on to the gull coagulation at Rufforth airfield. The weather there was foul and we were exposed to its worst. The gulls were in the air so there wasn’t much point us sticking around. So we bundled ourselves back into the car to North Duffield and settled in to a hide. Golden plover, redpoll, teal, wigeon, pintail and incredible arial acrobatics from a juv. peregrine.

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(Juv. peregrine taking 5 after going crazy with some teal!)

Highlight for me was very brief view of a stoat, still transitioning from his ermine snow-suit. They are so small! Just like a really long mouse really. A fantastic little varmint to see. 

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(A trademark Lydia record shot… completely indeterminable. Thank god redpolls have bright red polls. Otherwise this would literally just be a photograph of dry reeds.)

After we had lost all sensation in our fingers and toes, we got back in car and checked out the airstrip. Despite being even more hideous weather than before, and rain making optical illusions on our lenses, Tim somehow managed to pick out a 1st winter Mediterranean gull which is probably a first record for the area. Pretty spicy!

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(North Duffield: Hard to believe that this desolate looking flat plain is where all the above took place!)

We scooted off back to Tang hall, had a cup of tea and chatted about birds and life; then they went off to do whatever men do, and left me to find something else to procrastinate my essays with. I chose baking and stargazing: rocky roads and then my housemate and I went outside with the scope that his dad has very kindly leant to me and counted the craters on the moon crescent      

A beautiful day! This is how university is meant to be done.

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(The moon looking pretty crap (turns out digi-scoping doesn’t work too well in the dead of night) and Rob my housemate looking totally at ease with a sexy bit of equipment)

Good Golly Gosh its Goosanders!

I was already running late for my 9am lecture this morning on ‘Travelling Bodies’ in medieval Europe. Luckily I had packed my binoculars this morning because i’m taking a friend bird watching around hes east this afternoon, and as I was trotting absentmindedly past the lake to my lecture, I noticed 4 goosanders- two male and two female, floating around like little dinosaurs on the central campus lake! I faffed around to get my binos out and squealed like a piglet when I focussed in on their amazing faces and truly prehistoric body shape. Their beaks are just insane!

When I came out of my lecture an hour later, three more females had joined the party! Delighted doesn’t even cover it. A fantastic surprise and proof of just how valuable a site York University is for waterfowl.

(I took a few digi-binned photos, and I hope you’ll agree that my talent for photography is really evident in these photos.)

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(If you can actually spot the bird in this photo, i’ll be very impressed! clue: it’s a female!)

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(A slightly more acceptable, but still totally unacceptable record shot of the two males)

The Launch of Alcuin Green Week: It’s Easy Being Green!

Eeeesh what a week it’s been! Big Garden Birdwatch, the launch of my college’s university green week, and so many coffee meetings I think I might have upped my heart rate by about 99%.

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(The Owlcuin logo for green week! Snazzy or what!)

It’s been great though- the most satisfying feeling in the world is being proactive. So, let me tell you a bit more about my Alcuin green week. I’ve been helping my amazing, devoted college dean: Natalie Kopytko, organise a green week to inspire students to have a bit more green in their life. Each day of the week has a different theme (i’m running a bird-feeder making workshop on thursday afternoon) ; there’s such an exciting mix of things going on! Last night was the launch event: we had wine, fantastic eco speakers and more wine. The whole thing lasted about 2 hours and without a shred of doubt I can ensure that everyone who attended (About 40 people) left inspired and excited. 

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(A calendar of this week’s events!)

Its always dangerous having talks about conservation- it can so easily become incredibly depressing and pessimistic, but i was really impressed with the positivity of the speakers and the celebration of just how easy it is to be that little bit greener in our lives.

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(The Alcuin Kitchen- a super cosy place, and a really great venue for talks. We served vegan nuts and sweets all from SCOOP- an on-campus vegan shop.)

There was a talk by Freya Squires from Edible Uni- a university-wide group that plants vegetables and fruit all over campus which anyone is allowed to pick and eat- free of charge and no member subscription needed at all. So if you’re ever in York and want a cabbage, help ya’self!

There was a talk by Ivana Jacubkova from St Nick’s Fields- a conservation group that owns 25 acres of farm land and nature reserve. They came to speak about volunteer projects and as soon as I woke up this morning I sent them an email asking how I can be involved. They do fantastic work and seem to have really valuable flora and fauna on the site. For example water voles, kingfishers and recently a water rail! Volunteer projects include practical conservation work: path building and site maintenance, alongside wildlife recording and fun activity days- such as basket weaving workshops. I’ve never thought about being a basket weaver, but I am SO there. I WILL WEAVE.

(Sorry, can you tell that I haven’t had much sleep recently..?!)

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(Ivana giving her great talk on St Nick’s Fields, before we had the powerpoint presentation up and running!)`  

There was a talk by Jo Hossel, the woman in charge of monitoring and decreasing the universities eco-footprint. She gave us some really scary figures about just how much energy the university uses each year. Apparently we go through enough electricity per year to supply 6,500 houses, and that’s not including all the off-campus students such as myself. This is not good at all. But she seemed very hopeful about the future: she runs lots of projects such as the ‘Student Switchoff’ which tries to get students more aware of their footprints. So far only about 5/6% of the university students get involved, but she is confident that will increase. Going green is becoming more and more fashionable each day. 

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(Jo Hossel and her talk on university energy sustainability)

To me, the most inspiring talk of all was given by me. (I’m joking obviously- however I did give a talk about the necessity of student involvement with nature, which i will upload here later today)

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(Me giving my talk on young people and nature. When i transcribe/film my speech i’ll upload some better quality photos!)

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(Fiddling around with the technology. I’m useless. Really really useless!)

But in all seriousness the real star of the show was a talk about sustainable seafood. The speaker: a member of the uni environment department; Bryce Stewart organised his speech really well and got everyone thinking seriously about the strain we are putting on the ocean. He began with some heartbreaking figures: over 60% of our world fishstocks are completely overfished and completely exploited, with the rest of the fish stock being over exploited and over-fished. He continued, however, to talk about the organisations that are changing this: such as the Marine Conservation Society and many others that we find on fish products in supermarkets. He gave some positive figures about the public awareness of overfishing, and how more and more people are starting to demand transparent information on how their fish is sourced from their supermarkets. The war isn’t over just yet.

My York patch of happiness

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 14.51.57 (Greylag, canada and barnacle geese on heslington east)

So as I mentioned in my bio, i’m currently studying for a BA in art history at York University. I can imagine you’re probably like whaaaaaaaat why aren’t you studying biology or ecology? Well i’ve always really enjoyed art. It’s been a massive part of my life, and so I always fancied studying it a bit deeper.       

Unfortunately it wasn’t possible for me to study biological subjects at university as I hadn’t studied them at A level. However I think I made the right choice. I have friends who study biology and they go on and on and on about how much work they have: how they have really long hours and very little downtime. I’m someone who really needs my space, and because I enjoy persuing so many activities, a time constraining degree would have just made me unhappy. And I have no doubt that I wouldn’t have had the time to push on with my twitter (which I only started at the beginning of last year).

Alongside my nature hobbies i’m also hugely into theatre; especially musical theatre. My mum is a classical music nut, so when I was little I was playing all sorts of instruments at school. I couldn’t fit my double bass in my room at university, but I could fit my voice, so i’ve been singing in the musical theatre society here for both of the years i’ve been here. It’s amazing fun, has developed my confidence no end, and has enabled me to meet some truly wonderful people!

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 14.52.09(Beautiful house-spider on a walk around Hes East. During autumn these guys like to leave their houses and scamper off to find mates.I hope he got lucky!)

York Uni also appealed greatly to my green side. Heslington West campus is defined by its water-fowl: designed as a sort of ‘brutalist Venice’, the campus is spread over a massive man-made, plastic bottomed lake (the largest in the UK.) `Waterfowl congregates and seems to live in a perfect harmony with the students. It’s hilarious to see students making way on the paths for geese and coots. Because of the success of wild birds on the campus (coot, moorhen, goosander, mallard, little grebe, great crested grebe, various gulls etc), new species were introduced and have been breeding successfully ever since. We have a busy gaggle of barnacle geese and a lovely troop of lesser snow geese. This sometimes creates some interesting hybrids! There’s also a lovely little family of black swans. Unfortunately the male swan passed away last year at 17 years of age. He left his parter pregnant however, and she went on to have two cygnets which I believe made it to adulthood. However I haven’t seen any of the family for a long time. Black swans mate for life, and interestingly 1/4 of these pairings are homosexual. Homosexual pairs will sometimes lure in an unsuspecting lone swan, get them pregnant, then steal the cygnets once they hatch! Evil geniuses!

central20hall20and20lake(Aerial view of the campus- NOT MY PHOTO!)

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 14.50.59(Heslington West campus. Immerses students in the changing seasons!)

Heslington East campus is a whoooole other ball game. This is a serious birding site. Records in past years have included ospreys and whooper swans. This site too was developed to be a wildlife hub, with large lakes and smaller pools, coupled with fields abundant with wildflowers and marshy grass. I tend to get out to the site about twice a week, and eagerly track the comings and goings of the species there. Heres part of my list so far:

Mallard, teal, gadwall, tufted duck, pochard, snipe, jack snipe, water rail, kestrel, whooper swan, greater black-backed gull, herring gull, common gull, black-headed gull, chiffchaff, robin, sparrow, siskin, reed bunting, pied wagtail, grey wagtail, grey heron, stock dove, meadow pipit, song thrush, mistle thrush, coot, moorhen, rook, crow, jackdaw, greylag goose, mute swan, goldfinch, blue tit, great tit, chaffinch, starling, wigeon, black bird, lapwing, kingfisher, canada goose, skylark, dunnock, little grebe, great crested grebe, magpie

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 14.52.21( The wood sand pool (named after its most famed sighting!) where I have seen water-rail, jack snipe, snipe and chiffchaff!)

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 14.48.52(Wood sand pool again- I took this last week when it was frozen over!)

The groundskeeper: Gordon Eastham, for the university is great, he seems to genuinely care about the diversity on the site; despite some battles about building work during nesting season. I had a meeting with him early on when I joined the university and really enjoyed speaking to him about the site.

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 14.52.44(Another part of hes east. It has all sorts of wonderful habitats!)

My student house this year is in Tang Hall, and I am lucky enough to have a pretty decent garden! I’ve erected feeders and have had all sorts of little garden birds taking interest. Wrens and dunnocks are the main performers, but i’m looking forward to seeing more and more birds. I can’t wait for the Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend! 

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 14.52.31(Super fat hedgehog hobbling around the streets of Badger Hill at night!)

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 14.52.54(My lovely garden in Tang Hall. I’ve put my feeder up in the top right hand corner, which is where I tend to see the most birds fussing around)

I‘m lucky enough to have a little leafy avenue, called Windmill avenue, which borders a small stretch of trees leading to Hes East, as my main route to university. This is proving to be a fantastic site in its own right; I saw a tawny owls and a treecreeper there last week! Commuting bird watching should totally be a new fad!

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 14.50.48(Here’s the beautiful avenue I get to walk through each morning on my way to university. I wouldn’t want to walk through here alone late at night mind you!)

Hello! Here’s a little bit about me…

10592965_10152677059735871_2758103199639194193_n-1 (examining elephant dung with my incredible guide in Botswana this summer, Newman Chuma. Newman had worked on lots of BBC Documentaries including Planet Earth, and had taken Sir David Attenborough on a bush walk. I asked him ‘OMG WHAT WAS HE LIKE?????’ he replied simply and shrugged: ‘he knew a decent amount about the wildlife. He was nice.’)

I was born in London, in January 1995 to two wonderful parents whose marriage was sealed by a trip to India in 1990 (the first trip either of them had ever taken outside of Europe). I like to think that as they lay on a bathroom floor at Rambagh Palace hotel in Jaipur, with chronic food poisoning, they realised that their lives had changed forever, and that travel was just going to have to be part of their life together.

1525702_10152151190600871_1918218784_n (my first ever sighting of an African leopard. In Kruger NP last christmas)

They travelled around the world before they had my brother, then me, then my little sister, but when we were born they realised they might have to tone down the whole adventure/danger aspect of holidays until we were old enough to at the very least, swim.

3222_97069290870_7937242_n(me (back right) in Thailand- feels like a million years ago!)

When we were about 8, 12 and 14 they decided it was time and we went on our first adventure holiday to Thailand. Ok maybe now that’s not such a big deal, but 10 years ago that was pretty intrepid. We travelled all over the country; on sleeper trains, ancient mini-busses and elephant back (although I now wish i could take that part back) and once we all arrived home with limbs still firmly attached it started a trend of ridiculous and wonderful holidays that have so far taken me to places such as Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, North America, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, The Gambia, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Jordan, Norway, Tunisia and as of August this year will include the Svalbard Archipelago and Myanmar.

28407_440240700870_54091_n( after a 2 hour dog sledding safari in Tromso, Norway. In -24 degrees….)

I am grateful every second of every day for the incredible experiences I have had in all of these weird and wonderful places, and I truly hope that I will be able to make a difference in the natural world that will justify just how fortunate I have been. 

1930567_37821055870_5277_n(the most dangerous adventure. A bush fire on Zuurberg Mountain in South Africa, back when i was 14/15)

For the next few blog posts I will take you on a step-by-step tour of my relationship with nature. Posts about this will be called ‘My Story…Part 1’ etc. It’s a bit like an advent calendar of my life. You lucky things…

216812_10151212220300871_301470555_n (Walking into the the Sinharaja forest reserve. Notice the socks pulled up and coated in salt to protect against the leeches!)

My main posts will be keeping you up to date with where I am now and where I’m heading. I’ve been a part of a few events in the past few months that I really want to write up; so I will catch up with those. For the first few months this will probably be a bit higgledy-piggledy but I will try and be as clear as I can!

281570_10150347771095871_6574822_n(A green tree frog sitting in my hair in Costa Rica- at a reptile centre. From what i saw the reptiles/amphibians had good, large enclosures.)

I really hope you are able to find some interest in reading about it. The beautiful part about the world of conservationists is that every single one of us is individual and has our own story to tell and our own promises for the future.

199097_10151212182745871_613627998_n(on safari in Minneriya NP in Sri Lanka. Elephants, elephants and more elephants!)

Nothing on this earth is insignificant. Each and every one of us is affecting the planet we live on. The world has to change, and I’m going to do my bit. 

10653412_10152677060105871_1069298887167643278_n(with the wonderful Newman Chuma. A complete inspiration to me. As soon as  graduate i’ll be running back to Botswana to see him!)

Please do have a look at my twitter: @EnviroEmpower (Lydia Johnson) and join me and my nature squad at A Planet Fit for Nature on facebook, twitter (@fitfornature) and instagram.