For my Social Media presence (especially my Instagram and Twitter), being an openly gay Broadcaster and a Nature Conservation advocate, I have been nominated for a Diversity Award as a Positive LGBTQ+ Role Model.
For 2017, what I would like is Nature Conservation to be taken more seriously by Councils and the Government. They need to properly see it as a Universal Problem. It is not an issue only for a certain class system, region, gender, sexuality, age or level of education – we all share this country, and caring for nature and our natural environment is everybody’s responsibility. Hopefully Planet Earth II was a wake up call for those that work for a Town / City Council or as an MP who have not signed the Greener UK pledge.
I also hope it has encouraged people to support their local nature conservation charities.
Hearing about woodland / greenbelt being decimated for housing developments (or HS2) angers me – it is disgusting and very ill considered, as there are plenty of derelict buildings and brownfield sites that should be used instead! Urbanisation is not progression, it’s alienation. There is less crime in places with woodland / greenbelt and it reduces stress in people of all ages. They are great for escapism, as they’re somewhere to walk your dog or get fresh air alone or with your partner or friend(s). Such places boost children’s will to learn and they are often more imaginative and creative – it’s somewhere for these children to explore and find wildlife too! It also improves house sales – people want to live near areas surrounded by greenery, because, let’s face it, it is pleasant! Trees, hedgerows and grasses filter impurities from the air and also help lower temperatures during heat-waves. Trees reduce erosion of soil, which finds its way into our waterways during periods of heavy rainfall. This then has the knock on effect of creating flooding because of the build up of silt – due to the lack of trees in the first place. They are also a much needed habitat for nature; plants and animals need somewhere to live and have safe connecting passages between urban sprawls.
Re-wilding our Towns and Cities needs to happen, all over, they should be made greener than they already are, for example Birmingham, it is already a surprisingly green city, but being greener will make it better. I champion Matt Collis and the Avon Wildlife Trust for making Bristol even greener! As you know, more trees are needed to helping fight Climate Change, as they reduce the Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere. More trees will increase oxygen and with increased oxygen levels, the health of people and wildlife will benefit. More oxygen in the air can stabilise unknown and potential pulmonary hypertension (raised blood pressure within the pulmonary arteries) and irregular heart rhythms caused by the lack of oxygen in the air. Plus more oxygen to the brain relieves depression and fatigue. Many diseases including cancer, thrive in an oxygen depleted body.
What would I like for myself this New Year? Well, I am currently on a City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Conservation, Countryside & The Environment – ideally I would like to complete my qualification at overall Distinction and would then like to work for a NGO specialising in Re-wilding, therefore assisting in restoring Britain (in urban and rural places too) to its natural glory!
In the past I have achieved several Media Production qualifications, my highest being a Level 5 Higher National Diploma. I have considered a Masters, but Academia isn’t really for me, I would rather be out there getting on with it, or even teaching it! Around 6 years ago I combined my passion for wildlife and filmmaking, and have recently been co-presenting / co-producing a series with Jamie Wyver, about nature conservation for Cambridge TV (now called That’s Cambridge).
The series is entitled The Wild Side and it was broadcast to the city and has been put online for everyone to watch. It would be brilliant if I get the opportunity to present a series with another TV station or even for a channel that broadcasts nationally. I love how imaginative and creative ideas can come to life on screen, to entertain and inform an audience.
I was at the Birmingham N.E.C yesterday and today – as a member of Press – to report on BBC Gardeners’ World Live (but my focus was on the wild side of it).
I interviewed a number of interesting people (the interviews haven’t all been edited together yet) and in the video below, I have taken a selection of clips from the interviews; showing gardeners – from all walks of life – enthusing about nature:
After work, I decided to go for a nice stroll with a colleague and friend, Sophie. We sauntered around the semi-rural outskirts of Northfield Town Centre (in South Birmingham).
Before we got to the location Sophie had in mind, literally just a few yards from where we work, we noticed beside the path (there is a grass verge) was a patch of Bird’s-foot-Trefoil. I informed Sophie it is also know as Eggs and Bacon. We saw some bees buzzing around it, so we observed and followed them from flower to flower.
Today I was at work 9AM-5PM, so I needed another easy Random Act of Wildness, so I arrived at work with enough time to get breakfast and watch the Springwatch Webcam(s) in the staff canteen.
After I was done watching, I left the channel on, so somebody would find a live-stream of wildlife at work, and would maybe watch, enjoy and become a fan of Springwatch/become more interested in nature, if they’re not already! 😉
More info: The course is ran by B’ham Metropolitan College at the Botanical Gardens – the course involves; boundary habitat conservation, ecological surveys and techniques, ecology of trees, woods and forests, game management and environmental studies.
I have been working most of the first few days of June, so I’ve opted for easy Acts of Wildness (I have had no choice really) for my 30 Days Wild ‘challenges’. They are still enjoyable mind! I particularly enjoyed Encourage wild at work, because it made me bring nature into the work place – more specifically; the staff canteen! 💚
So what did I do? Well, on my lunch break I put the Springwatch Webcams on the TV, it happened to be adorable Little Owls which were on screen. 😃
Sophie, my colleague and friend, showed some interest and happily sat down in front of the TV:
I had work today at 7AM and finished around 2.30PM. Due to that and wanting to blog about what I’d do today, I needed something easy for my Act of Wildness. So of course, I was very pleased that I changed my usual route to work (as I needed to grab breakfast), because I ended up walking passed the Mini-Meadows in the video below!
I ran back after realising what I had saw! And then stood there watching a couple of bees (unsure which ones now) buzzing about the various flowers for a minute – whilst listening to a Blackcap singing in the background! 😃 When I got phone out to film, the bees had flown off, naturally! They must have been camera-shy 🐝 Unfortunately the sound didn’t record (I have a new phone and have sorted out the problem now), but luckily YouTube have provided a lovely soundtrack.
I should hopefully be making a series of short videos very soon, for Big Centre TV. The series will be entitled Wild West (Midlands) and it will showcase the greenspaces, wildlife and naturalists that are in and around the West Midlands.
To introduce me to their audience they asked me to come in on the 24th for a live studio interview, to discuss what families in the West Midlands can get up to this Easter Holiday, surveys and seasonal wildlife.