It’s always good to see good guys (and gals) getting gongs.
Last night the Zoological Society of London awarded The Independent’s Mike McCarthy their Silver Medal. Mike was awarded the RSPB’s Medal a couple of years ago and has a string of journalistic awards too. The McCarthy household is thinking of getting more shelf space for all these awards.
Mike tells me he was ‘well chuffed’ to be recognised in this way, following as he does, previous recipients Dr David MacDonald (2010) and Dr Rosie Trevelyan (2009).
Mike is a mate of mine, but even if he weren’t then it would still be difficult to overlook the fact that he is the foremost writer in the national press on wildlife conservation issues. He combines cultured intelligence with a deep love of nature, and that’s a unique combination. Mike is a rare journalist who wants to understand things fully before writing about them and several times I have been quizzed to the limits, or beyond, of my knowledge so that Mike gets his facts right. That is, I can assure you, an unusual trait in a journalist with words to write and deadlines to meet.
Also recognised were Prof Steve Ormerod with the Marsh Award for Marine and Freshwater Conservation and Dr Paul Donald with the Marsh Award for Conservation Biology.
Steve is Professor of Ecology at Cardiff School of Biosciences and I remember his studies of acidification of upland streams and the impact on invertebrates and dippers as a classic in-depth ecological study. Steve tells me he is pleased to be the first winner of this award with a freshwater background.
Paul Donald works at the RSPB and is quite mad and quite brilliant (it’s interesting how ‘quite’ can mean ‘completely’ or ‘partly’ isn’t it?). His ‘work’ has included studying very rare larks, showing that agricultural intensification leads to biodiversity loss on a continental scale and his studies of skylarks led to the idea of skylark patches (which work so well).
Congratulations to them – as they are all really nice guys – as well as to the other winners (most of whom are guys, and many of whom are probably nice).