|Great weather for toads?|
Well, what a mixed bag it has been so far this year. From long dry months to sopping wet ones, we've had it all in spades!
The birds at the bottom of the garden and down the lane are fledging in rapid succession about now. The first of our Summer migrant breeders like those rascal Cuckoos have finished their work and are beginning to think about going back to the southern hemisphere once more - and we haven't even had a proper summer yet!
I've spent a lot of time this year juggling my day job with a lovely project which I hope to share fully with you very soon. It's something I am illustrating with the author, Dr Tim Gardiner and The Bumblebee Conservation Trust, and it's a bit different from the British Wildlife Tales titles you have been used to. The book, entitled "The Voyage of the Queen Bee" will be on sale later this year and will mark the Bumblebee Conservation Trust's 10th Anniversary. Keep an eye out for more updates very soon.
What's in the Wood Pile?
Some of you will recall that I had hoped to get my third title, What's in the Wood Pile? out in Spring this year. Well, being commissioned to work on the BBCT's project has forced that title to take a back seat for a little while. That said, I am now in a position to tell you that I have completed more than half of the words, and have settled on the appearance of several of the species that will feature.
I'm still on track to get What's in the Wood Pile? out this year, and I thank you for your patience.
I've also been busy meeting a good number of you at shows around the country this year, either with my author and illustrator hat on, or with my Nature Squad hat on. I have a few more appearances planned this summer starting with my local Library with a short wildlife stroll, and then a larger event up at Osfest, a free, family music festival in Church Broughton, Derbyshire where I'll be joining the Nature Squad (www.aplanetfitfornature.co.uk) to inspire all the little ones and their folks with the wonderful world of insects and other invertebrates. Camping for the whole weekend is £15 per person so get yourself booked in and seek us out!
Only joking, I won't go there. This is supposed to be fun, right?
Publishing - Help get the word out!
Self publishing is really, REALLY simple. In fact, I have begun helping a few folk get their own books into print. It's a slow process but we are getting there. We made a start over at www.stourvalleypublishing.co.uk - take a look!
It's getting the word around and driving sales that's the hardest part. I'd be absolutely delighted if you could share my website with 10 of your friends, and by putting up a review of my book in the comments below, or by emailing me. Go to the "Contact the Author" page to get in touch. The same goes for if you have any questions, or if you would like me to come to visit your group or school. My rates are very reasonable!
|Wild habitats are a priority for me, as well as wild hats.|
As and when I can, which isn't very often, I like to get involved in work which helps promote the protection of wildlife. When I say that, I really mean it. I like to protect wildlife. That doesn't necessarily mean keeping things as they are. It's more about putting back destroyed habitat, reintroducing species that have been wiped out either in whole or in part by humans, and then leaving things to get on with themselves. I'm no fan of the indiscriminate controlling of wildlife for the sake of wildlife. Every little beastie has its own part to play. I only wish we'd have the courage to reintroduce some of our not-so-long-departed predators into the wilds of England, Scotland and Wales so they can naturally carry out much of the work that we seem to be doing such a bad job of ourselves in the form of culling, and other widespread species destruction.
It seems that there are relatively few who share my views on this, or at least, they are not in the mainstream yet, so I'll settle for the conservation organisations we have at present, such as the RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, WWT, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation Trust, Amphibian and Reptile Group, Buglife, and many, many MANY more. They all do sterling work in their fields and I would call you to support at least one of these charities with a regular donation by way of joining their memberships. I am a bit of
a sucker for them, and am a member of a few of them at once!
It's important to me, though, that these organisations remain accountable and the work of conservation activists, and no-nonsense naturalists such as Mark Avery, Georgia Locock, Chris Packham, Nick Baker, among many others is essential to keep the real issues surrounding the protection of wildlife in the public eye. I don't agree with everything that these guys and girls have to say, but they are so valuable when it comes to the future of our wildlife. Well done to all of you, and thanks!
Do please get in touch, either via this website, on Twitter @GBWildlifeTales, Facebook www.facebook.com/tbatbotg