Charities

The following, not in any particular order, are organisations that I actively support and/or hold some sort of ambassadorial position. They are all doing essential work in the field of wildlife and its conservation.

 

Butterfly ConservationButterfly Conservation - Vice President
I love them and always will love them; butterflies are my childhood. Those salad bowl days spent dangerously gamboling after marbled whites on cliff tops, converting my shed into a butterfly house and breeding countless quantities of Peacock, Small tortoise-shell and Comma in tanks and boxes in my back yard.

Those days are sadly over and I’ve grown up a little – I’m now into moths!! And nearly every night my neighbourhood and most of Dartmoor is bathed in the glow of 125 watts of Mercury vapour magic and most mornings find me sitting at my kitchen table in a pile of egg boxes getting my knickers in twist over an Uncertain or a Suspected! Moths are the new Butterflies for those into their winged things. As well as being fascinating creatures in their own right they are also rather convenient from a environmental monitoring point of view.

Being extrovert and usually fairly visible (in relation to their other more subtle creepy crawly brethren Butterflies and moths are like little strips of environmental litmus paper letting us know when or not a habitat or an environment is healthy If you love these winged things like I do and are concerned with butterfly and moth conservation in the UK then to join them is a must. I’ve been associated with this organisation and its former incarnation the British Butterfly Conservation Society since I started rearing caterpillars in jam jars as a kid, starting as a regular member and then in my student days as a field officer working in the wilds of Dartmoor, studying the ecology of fritillary butterflies.

I get less time to chase butterflies around nowadays but I get out and help out whenever I can and I am now proud to be one of their ‘Vice presidents’. As a member you get a magazine called butterfly and if you subscribe to your local group you get involved in all manner of activities pertaining to our fluttery friends.

For more details:
Manor Yard, East Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5QP
Tel: 01929 400209
info@butterfly-conservation.org
www.butterfly-conservation.org

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RSPBThe Royal Society for the Protection of Birds - Vice President (Youth)
This is THE big one, one of the largest wildlife charities in the world and as a consequence it has some of the best resources and lobbying potential. If you love your wildlife and are serious about keeping it in the wild then add your name to the other 1 million plus members.

 Do not be fooled by the birds in the title either it's very much about the big picture. They manage over 200 exquisite reserves in the UK which in turn provide food, shelter and habitats for over 80% of our most threatened bird species. They are very big but that doesn't make them unapproachable they owe much of their success to every day people like you and I who love their wildlife and the RSPB just wouldn't have it's might if it wasn't for the vast armies of volunteers all doing their bit. Pop into an RSPB shop and you will see what I mean.

They've been going for ages too (ever since ladies wore Egret and Grebe feathers for fashion in fact! - that's how the RSPB got going in the first place way beck in the 1860's) and partly sue to this long history they have built up an experience that is second to none building on sound conservation principles but not becoming so great that they forget their roots. The RSPB may be a powerful lobbying organisation but it is also one that gives their membership what they want.

www.rspb.org.uk

RSPB Wildlife Explorers
The RSPB caters for all ages in its membership from 6 to 60 years, making for a full family experience and this is one of their strong points today. They provide different memberships under the great RSPB umbrella each with publications and activities specifically aimed at the certain age groups (They sell a family membership too).

There is the youth wing called Wildlife Explorers (WEX) and then a sort of somewhere between membership that caters for the teenage members, RSPB Phoenix. For more details of these and all the other activities of this Charity check out their excellent vast and varied website.

Alright, alright I hear you cry so what do I get if I join? Well other than a warm fuzzy feeling of well being, you get free entry to over 100 reserves and also a selection of great magazines that go with your subscription, I've not enough space to go into exactly how cool they are here but do check out their website for more details - www.rspb.org.uk

RSPB PhoenixIf you're bored and need an excuse not to do your homework or file your expenses there are some great games on the WEX (Wildlife Explorers) pages www.rspb.org.uk/youth, I'm particularly fond of Pond dipping with Gabby - she makes a great noise when she catches something and Rooks garden bird watch is fab and he doesn't shout at you when you get it wrong and for any students out there who are having trouble using a biological key - then buzz is the game for you.

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Wildlife TrustsThe Wildlife Trusts - Vice President
This is the other big one along with the RSPB. I have been a vice president for Wildlife WATCH the youth wing of the wildlife trusts for ages. Other than the obvious wildlife connection one thing I felt strongly about was that as a proto-naturalist I didn't even know about organisations like this and with its country wide network of county trusts there really is no excuse not to get involved with wildlife conservation or study in your patch.

Whether it's bat nights, dormouse surveys, Badger watches or active habitat management you can bet your local Trust will be as keen for you to be involved as you are to get involved. The trusts have recently had a revamp are back in business big time.

Since 2005 I have been pleased and proud to be associated with the wildlife trusts as a Vice president and support them wholeheartedly.

For more information about the trust closest to you contact:
The Kiln, Waterside, Mather Road, Newark, Nottinghamshire NG24 1WT
Tel: 01636 677711
enquiry@wildlifetrusts.org
www.wildlifetrusts.org

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BuglifeBuglife - Vice President
It wasn't all that long ago it seemed that insects were only there as bird fodder and that as far as subjects of conservation if you weren't a butterfly, moth or a particularly large and sexy beetle you chances of having a voice in the world were minimal.

When I got pounced on with all the cunning of a Preying Mantis way back in 2002 (I think?) by Matt Shardlow he asked me to be the president!! I was flattered and honored to represent them in this capacity especially since my fellow Vice presidents included no other than entomological legend and coiner of the word "biodiversity" Mr E.O Wilson himself.

Obviously the council were disappointed that I was too busy to be of much use to them and they have since and a bit of a re-shuffle and I have now swapped places with Germain Greer. Anyhow politics aside this is an organisation that seems as frenetically active as a wood ants nest with a Jay sitting on it! Their website is beautiful and reminiscent of a summer meadow but do not be fooled among all the fun stuff is some serious hardcore "saving planet bug", just have a look at the continuing campaign to save the amazingly rich West Thurrock marshes from being developed into a postal sorting office if you need convincing.

www.buglife.org.uk

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Save the Rhino Save the Rhino - Patron
This is the probably one of the "coolest" and most focused wildlife charities I've ever been involved with (I'm one of their Patrons). They are not one of those sleepy organisations that seems to meander all over the place raising a little here and there for what ever they feel like at the moment.

Oh no! Save the Rhino really is a very pro-active and exciting organisation, they do exactly what it says on the tin - they Save Rhino's and they are always up to something; whether it's running marathons dressed in Rubber Rhino outfits, Cycling across the Namib desert, scaling the lofty peaks of Africa's highest, laying on the annual Douglas Adams memorial lecture or simply a bit of hardcore partying (an activity for which they are famous) - they just never seem to stop.

Check out their website at www.savetherhino.org and subscribe to their e-zine if you love Rhino's or just fancy doing something plain silly in a good cause. Oh and be careful; Cathy and the bunch have a very persuasive nature and before you know it they'll have you running across the Sahara for a 150 miles dressed as a Rhinoceros! You think I'm joking? It happened to me!

www.savetherhino.org

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earthworm_society

The Earthworm Society of Great Britain

Like its subject matter this is a small but perfectly formed and vital organisation - celebrating and engaging us all the little known and widely overlooked world of the worm. So if you wish to follow in the footsteps of other worm wizards such as Darwin, Cleopatra & Humbolt why not join? For information about events, citizen science projects and publications a visit to their website is sure to inspire.

http://www.earthwormsoc.org.uk/

 

Wildscreen FestivalWildlife Festival
This is an unusual one really and unless you are directly involved in the wildlife film industry it may well have passed you by. So what is Wildscreen? In a nut shell it's a charity that is involved in the promotion of wildlife imagery.It's that magic that occurs somewhere between the photons of light bouncing off a subject and being captured on a photographic plate or digital sensor, it's wildife meets, science, meets art.

I'm talking everything from stunning still shots seen in magazines to the wildlife documentaries that you may well curl up and watch on your sofa. I strongly believe that today with much of what we learn coming from the goggle box or from other media; whether online or printed. These images show us what is out there, they inspire, they amaze and they inform.

Conservation starts with appreciation and awareness and with over 50% of our species living in urban situations many of us are cut off from the natural world, surrounded in the protective bubble of technology that means the main source of exposure is what we see broadcast into our living rooms. Which is why I support the work of this team of dedicated people. www.wildscreen.org.uk

Not only does wildscreen run the biggest wildlife film festival, obviously known as wildscreen but it also runs several other initiatives; All of which are worth checking out.

www.wildscreen.org.uk

 

ARKiveThis is a clever play on words not a typo. A very handy resource and one that I can get lost in for hours. Their strap line says it all 'images of Life on earth' it really is a digital library and for me is the reason the internet was invented.

This is more often than not a first port of call for me when I'm tracking a new species to research. Have a look at their website and see what I mean. 

www.arkive.org

 

Wild Film HistoryAnother very good use of the internet and another digital arrow in the Wildcreen quiver (and one that I had the pleasure of launching in Bristol just a few weeks ago).

This is another kind of archive but this time one that celebrates the genre of natural history film making; from the characters, key events and landmark productions it's all here (even the Really Wild Show). There among other things, film clips (teasers of the full length films that can be viewed on a prior arranged visit to the wildcsreen offices in Bristol) Interviews members of the production whose voices you don't normally here as well as the usual 'stars'. It's well worth a look if you have any interest whatsoever of wildlife film making.

www.wildfilmhistory.org