Who would you like to sit a GCSE in natural history?

Mary Colwell’s e-petition to develop a GCSE in natural history is doing well – over 4000 signatures already (see here and here).

If it already existed then I wonder how many Defra ministers would pass it?




Another bird flu case at another turkey farm in Lincolnshire

Yesterday Defra revealed that there has been another outbreak of bird flu at a commercial turkey farm in East Lindsey, Lincolnshire. This was in the same district of Lincolnshire as the other main outbreak of H5N8 affecting a commercial premises which was also at a turkey farm and also in East Lindsey back in December. Defra lifted the Protection Zone measures, on 9 January, around the premises where the first outbreak occurred (on 16 December).  Despite the close proximity of the two cases, and the second occurring just a week after the Protection Zone measures were lifted around the first farm, Defra say that:

The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer has confirmed H5N8 avian flu in a flock of turkeys at a farm in East Lindsey, Lincolnshire. This follows confirmation of the disease in a flock of turkeys on a nearby farm on 16 December 2016. There is unlikely to be a direct link to the previous case but a full investigation is under way to confirm this.


Guest blog – New Nature magazine by Alice Johnson

Having always loved wildlife, Alice studied a degree in conservation and has been involved with various projects, including helping barn owls with The Wildlife Trust and little terns with the RSPB. She keeps a wildlife blog (Nature Nattering) and writes content for The Woodland Trust.





New Nature Magazine – Nature through the eyes of the next generation

Several years ago, when exam season at school had finished, my parents suggested we went for a short trip away somewhere. Everyone at school was jetting off to sunny resorts, boasting about the beaches and places they were going to. A stark contrast with my choice, where the chilly weather kept me wrapped in a thick coat, and I had to wear a hat for safety purposes due to aerial attacks by a certain species.

I sat huddled on a boat and looked across the choppy water as the harsh sea breeze numbed my face, but breathed life into my soul. Then I saw a small black shape flying over the sea, every wingbeat injecting excitement into me – a puffin! Once on the Farne Islands, being in amongst a seabird colony fuels you with an incredible engagement and love for the natural world. There is something especially memorable about having Arctic terns poking your head and being hit in the face by something other than a raindrop. When I came home however I didn’t tell anyone at school about how wonderful it was. I knew they would laugh and think I was ‘weird’ for going on holiday to watch birds. Many young nature lovers know this feeling.

This is where New Nature magazine comes in. New Nature is an e-magazine written and produced by the younger generation. It allows contributors and readers to feel connected to other nature lovers as well as express and share their love and experiences of the natural world. We want to continue to fuel the interest and passion the next generation has for nature as well as to hopefully encourage more people to appreciate what amazing wildlife we have here in the UK. The more interest there is in nature, the more likely it is that its importance will be recognised and that it will be protected.

New Nature magazine is produced monthly, with beautiful articles written by people aged 30 or under. Subjects covered in the magazine include specific species articles, places to visit, upcoming events, patch-chats, conservation discussions, celebrity interviews, careers advice, science research summaries and book reviews as well as lots of incredible photos. The magazine is a place where any young individual can express their love and interest for nature, whether it revolves around birds, fungi, trees or anything else. We want to hear about their experiences with nature and why they love it. As a magazine that includes careers pieces and summaries of student research, it not only aids connectivity of young naturalists but can help readers gain future employment by giving them advice from professionals. New Nature is already creating opportunities for its contributors as a few have been commissioned to write an article for another magazine, after the editor spotted their original piece in New Nature.

Support for the New Nature magazine has been unbelievable, so thank you to everyone who has already taken a look, and although the content is written by ‘young’ nature lovers, it really is a magazine anyone can read and enjoy. So if you haven’t seen it you can download the magazine free of charge on our website: www.newnature.co.uk and if you or anyone you know is aged 30 or under and would like to contribute (unless it is for a careers piece in which case we have no age limit) please contact editorial.newnature@gmail.com – we would love to hear from you.



Piles of dead Pheasants


Terry Pickford has sent me this video of a large number of discarded dead Pheasants found in the Forest of Bowland at the weekend.  It is a shocking sight.

And this follows closely on the report of 10 bin bags of dead Pheasants being found dumped under a hedge in Norfolk.

Words do, actually, fail me.






Brexit means?

Tomorrow our Prime Minister will set out her thoughts on what Brexit means – presumably beyond ‘Brexit means Brexit’.

Are you fed up with Brexit already? Well, there are years and years to go so you’d better get used to it.

She is expected to say we are heading for a ‘hard Brexit’ (according to the Telegraph, Evening Standard). At least we can expect the PM (TM the PM) not to confuse us all quite as much as Jeremy Corbyn did last week – what is Labour’s position on Brexit? On anything?

She may say (or May may say) that we may leave the single market, the customs union and regain control of immigration and if I were her, I’d say ‘I didn’t argue for this shabby deal but you lot voted for it and now you are going to have it in spades’ but she probably won’t be quite as clear as that.

I’d be surprised if TM the PM mentions the environment or farming but we’ll see. If she mentions farming I bet it will be along the lines of ‘protecting the interests of our wonderful farmers’ which, if she does, will show that she hasn’t really been thinking about it at all.  The interests of farmers and the interests of taxpayers are not exactly the same. And the interests of farmers and the interests of consumers are not the same either.  And TM the PM is PM for all of us…

After tomorrow, and the increase in clarity which it is supposed to bring, there will be a majority of the UK population which is against Brexit – either because they didn’t want it to happen or because they did want it to happen but didn’t want it to happen like this. That’ll be interesting.  What will we do then?

Have any readers of this blog changed their minds since 23 June? If so, from which option to which option?