A Focus On Nature

The Youth Nature Network

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A Focus On Nature

New Nature: January 2018

For those of you unfamiliar with New Nature, we are a natural history e-magazine dedicated to bringing the thoughts and views of young naturalists to the forefront of public consciousness. Providing environmentalists under the age of thirty with an outlet for their talents and a publication in which they can discuss everything from conservation and topical environmental issues to ecology, education, local wildlife and photography. Basically, anything which interests them on a personal level. Launched in January 2017, it has now been a full year since the publication of our first issue and, as you will soon see, things haven’t exactly slowed down. [Read More]

A Focus On Nature

BTO Conference 2017

Did you know that brent geese often hang around with the same ‘friends’? Or that golden eagles hunt buzzards in the Hebrides? How about that Manx shearwaters lay eggs that are 15% of their body mass? That would be like a human giving birth to a baby the size of a 4 year old! These intriguing facts didn’t come from a bird guide or nature documentary, but from one of the hottest events in the birdwatching calendar – the BTO Conference. Back in December, I joined the flock of enthusiastic birders, scientists and conservationists attending the weekend to find out exactly why the BTO remains one of the most important nature NGOs in the country. [Read More]

Advent Calendar

My Nature Reserve

I stood, gazing at the purple flowers with a frown on my face. I knew it was a bee, but its markings did not match up with any of the bumblebees that quickly flitted through my brain. It had yellow and black stripes similar to a buff-tailed bumblebee, however, its abdomen was what confused me. It was brilliantly white, silvery almost. I spent a long time looking at six of these specimens, either climbing slowly – moving one leg gently at a time from petal to petal, or buzzing, with the occasional kestrel-like hover, before settling on another bloom. As it’s the 21st Century, I took many photos and videos to help me in identification – most of them almost impressively blurry. Then I jumped up and ran into the house for an insect guide – for I had witnessed a new species in the reserve I spend the most time in: my back garden. [Read More]

Advent Calendar

A Year in Fieldwork #NowforNature

As I write this, I’m sitting on a virtually empty train as it rattles its way south to London. I’m sure it’ll get much busier once I get across the border, but for now I have enough space to stretch my legs and enjoy the landscapes of Scotland’s east coast as they flit by. To my left, there’s the rugged, wind-torn cliffs overlooking the sea: a seething mass of steel-grey, frothing angrily with waves. Oddly in contrast with this foreboding image are the rolling hills to my right; snow-capped and backed by the lilac, early morning winter sky. A scene straight out of a Christmas card. [Read More]

Advent Calendar

My Blue Planet

Over the past few weeks, people’s awe and admiration of the ocean has grown considerably as 13 million people tuned into David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II. Fortunately, for me, I have had this admiration and love for the ocean for decades. This love has led me to have witnessed and seen many of the creatures and processes portrayed on the programme in real life. [Read More]

Advent Calendar

Dormouse Research and Recording

I am currently studying Zoology at the University of Exeter and am passionate about wildlife, in particular birds, which is how I came across the hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius). Whilst gathering data on nesting birds on the Isle of Wight for the British Trust for Ornithology’s Nest Record Scheme, I realised that I could increase the number of records to study by asking friends and colleagues for any records they had of birds in dormouse nest boxes. [Read More]

Advent Calendar

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is in Gweek, Cornwall. The sanctuary was first started in St Agnes in Cornwall in 1958 when there was a seal pup which was less than a day old found on a beach. With no sign of any adult looking after it or any other pups around, Ken Jones took it in and built a small pond for it to swim in until it was ready for release. The problem was that when the word got out that Ken was doing an excellent job at releasing injured seals he would get loads of calls for him to go and rescue the seals which meant that the pool wasn’t big enough! In 1975, he bought the land that the Seal Sanctuary is now on, to make a permanent rescue centre. [Read More]

Advent Calendar

A Month of Moth Madness

Perhaps the most frustrating time of year for any young naturalist is the May exam period. It seems unfair then that students should be stuck indoors drowning in endless lecture notes whilst outside the days grow longer, warmer and sunnier and wildlife abounds. Yet despite the dreaded exams, I still managed to make the most of my local patch and May turned out to be a blast! So, here’s a throwback to those fantastic morns and eves exploring the Falmouth Patch with my housemates Will and Ted last May. [Read More]

Advent Calendar

Never Underestimate the Importance of Local Conservation in Inspiring the Next Generation of Nature Lovers

I was recently out with a class of year 8 pupils looking at the salmon run, very near to where I am living in British Columbia. Each year across coastal British Columbia, millions of salmon make their way upstream to their spawning grounds, where they end their incredible lifecycle that has taken them across the Pacific Ocean, and face to face with predators such as bears, wolves, eagles, orcas and sharks. At the salmon run site, you can easily see more than 50 bald eagles gorging on salmon, bears making frequent visits to the area, and you can get up close and personal to the salmon themselves as they use every drop of energy they have left fighting to spawn the next generation. It really is a wildlife spectacle and it takes place about 20 minutes from the centre of town. [Read More]

Advent Calendar

The Reserves of Essex

I’m a proud Essex boy, although if you spoke to me without knowing anything about me beforehand, you might not be able to guess this. Similarly, if you rely on the stereotypical imagery espoused in popular culture, you might not believe me when I say that Essex is a bright jewel when it comes to wildlife spectacles. Its coast, the longest of any county in England, is a particularly special place and this time of year it is awash with the sights and sounds of birds that have migrated from the north and east. However, increasingly-densely populated and facing pressure from housing development, pollution, transport links and industrial activity and with London on its doorstep, Essex has grown less and less wild over the years. [Read More]