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Ever wondered what happens when you fill a cello with bees? Or how robins have successfully colonised the outer-reaches of our universe? Or why the world is destined to be populated purely by female turtles? This podcast celebrates nature and the stories of those who care deeply for it. Join artist, actor and Woodland Trust & Wildlife Trusts ambassador David Oakes, for a series of informal, relaxed conversations with artists, scientists, creatives and environmentalists as they celebrate the ...
 
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Our fifth tree, the Spindle (Euonymus europaeus) is a stunner. Sexy in pink! Unsurpassed in vibrancy by any of our other native trees. This week, David looks at the secrets behind its many names, why Linnaeus loved it so much, and how it could be harbouring a worryingly dark secret. More from David Oakes as he uproots the secrets and stories beneat…
 
Our fourth tree, the Box (Buxus sempervirens) is a much maligned tree. It has been disregarded by monarchy, slandered by legendary (and hunky) herbalists, but without it we would be without music, art and literature. Used for wood-block printing, making oboes and flutes, and (admittedly loosely) providing inspiration to Jane Austen... We owe this t…
 
Our third tree, the Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) has a rich association with English Theatre - something David knows about far too well. But, more important than that, the association this increasingly rare tree has with ancient forests, and the biodiversity within them, is unsurpassed. A stunning keystone species in its own right. More from David…
 
Our second tree, the Juniper (Juniperus communis), holds the secret of gin within its berries - need it offer more?! But it also possesses many other medicinal secrets besides. This episode begins in the Oregon badlands, before returning to Europe and the rich history of a genuine obsession with Juniper - an obsession that may not last forever. Mor…
 
Our first tree, the Yew (Taxus baccata), has accompanied humanity since the very beginning, giving us the opportunity for longer life and a rapid death. The oldest human made tool is made of Yew, and the tree’s toxins hold a deadly poison and a remedy for cancer. This and much more; there is perhaps no other British tree with such an in-depth relat…
 
In season three of Trees A Crowd, David Oakes uproots the secrets and stories beneath the native tree species of the British Isles. Each week for the next few months, Oakes is going to be exploring our trees - from Scots Pine to Privet; Box, Beech and the Buckthorns; Wild cherries, wild pears and wild apples; Ash, Aspen, Alder, Elder and Elm... and…
 
In part two of this conversation with Dr George McGavin, we find out that he has not one, but five bugs named after him - one of which was given to him by the ‘world cockroach expert’! If there’s a better measure for knowing how influential you’ve been in your field, we haven’t heard of it. George and David go on to discuss the human flesh-eating l…
 
Dr George McGavin is a zoologist, entomologist and broadcaster, and currently serves as President for the Dorset Wildlife Trust. Best known for hosting documentaries including ‘Lost Land of the Volcano’, ‘Oak Tree: Nature’s Greatest Survivor’ and, most recently, ‘Ocean Autopsy: The Secret Story of Our Seas’, he is also well known to television view…
 
Happy World Manta Day! To celebrate the wonders of our ocean’s Flappiest Friends, this special episode explores the experiences and encounters of Manta Trust patron and legendary explorer-cameraman, Doug Allan. Described by Sir David Attenborough as one of the world’s greatest natural history cameramen, Doug Allan’s work speaks for itself. In fact,…
 
In the final of three episodes focused on Animal Conservation, David Oakes speaks again (you’ll remember him from his Narwhal-centric episode at the top of this season) to Mark Carwardine - zoologist, conservationist, broadcaster and photographer. Having been out on foot patrols upon most of the planet’s continents, Mark explains the realities of b…
 
Georgina Lamb is the Chief Executive of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. The charity was founded by her grandfather, the late great artist Sir David Shepherd, and funds key conservation projects across the world. This conversation touches on the history of Shepherd, a man who dedicated his life to force change, and whose paintings are the st…
 
Will Travers OBE is one of the UK’s most influential animal rights activists, founding the Born Free Foundation in 1984 with his parents, originally under the name Zoo Check. As most of the world has been placed under strict lockdown and quarantine rules, we’re beginning to get a glimpse into what life must be like for animals trapped in zoos, forc…
 
As kismet would have it, it’s WORLD OYSTER DAY! Before we found out oysters even had their own day, we wanted to celebrate these slippery salt-water molluscs because it turns out, when gathered together, they’re quite amazing and could provide natural solutions to many of mankind’s biggest environmental problems. Familiar voice, friend of the show,…
 
“Bats are awesome and endlessly fascinating” - and it’s a good job too, because this is the second part of a two-part conversation all about the flying mammals! After rain stopped play last week, this in-depth conversation with Prof. Kate Jones (UCL’s resident bat expert and Harrison Ford worrier) picks back up by pitting megabats against microbats…
 
Part Indiana Jones, part David Attenborough - and a real live descendant of Charles “Origin of the Species” Darwin - Professor Kate Jones is a professor of ecology and biodiversity at UCL. A previous recipient of the Leverhulme award, she spends a LOT of time researching the relationships between animals and humans, in particular keeping an eye on …
 
In this outtake from last week's full episode with the American historian and naturalist Dr William C. Tweed, we discover that the law of the jungle is far from obvious as we explore the history of the Grizzly Bear in California, and the fact that it is incredibly "...hard to kill yourself at 2mph". Enjoy! If you're still reading this then please d…
 
Dr William C. Tweed is a lover of Big Trees - the Giant Redwoods of California to be precise. An historian and naturalist, he has a career spanning over 30 years working for the US national park service, and after holding several roles at the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, spent a decade as its Chief Naturalist. Whether it’s describing wh…
 
The third and final of our "Wildlfower Women" trilogy comes in the form a scene of Shakespearean serenity, unfolding upon the banks of the River Ouse (if you can excuse the sounds of nearby building works!) Serena Manteghi played Ophelia to David Oakes’ Hamlet late last year, a role punctuated by one of the most well-known pieces of poetry about fl…
 
Rosalind Forbes Adam is the founder and project leader of the Woodmeadow Trust in York, formerly the Hagges Woods Trust. The idea of “raising tomorrow’s ancient woodland” was born from a question all husbands have surely asked their wives at some point - “do you want to make a wood?” The concept of the wood has changed since the idea first emerged.…
 
Jennie Martin is an ethnobotanist and conservationist with a particular interest in ethnomycology and nature literacy. The founder, and 15 year executive director, of the award-winning charity ‘Wild things!’, Jennie has designed and delivered a variety of programmes that support conservation and nature connection, from habitat restoration projects …
 
In this bonus episode of "Trees A Crowd", David Oakes looks into the world of wildlife crime and discusses the benefits of one of the largest planned community buyouts the country has ever seen. Kevin Cumming, the Langholm Initiative’s project leader, and Gavin Graham, a local resident of Langholm Moor, speak about their hopes to bring 10,500 acres…
 
Dara McAnulty is a 16 year old naturalist and writer from Northern Ireland. His love for nature burgeoning at a young age, he began collecting feathers from his garden floor in Belfast. Compelled to share this passion, he began writing a wildly successful blog, joined the likes of Sir David Attenborough as an RSPB Medal winner, received the BBC Spr…
 
In part two of our conversation with Ireland’s favourite naturalist, Éanna Ní Lamhna, the broadcasting force of nature explains how St Patrick is not to blame for a lack of snakes in Ireland, why one local shop has never sold a mole trap, and why certain trees are dying out in the country. Recorded on the Emerald Isle, on the southern outskirts of …
 
Éanna Ní Lamhna is undoubtedly Ireland’s favourite naturalist and broadcaster. She has served as the president of the Tree Council of Ireland, secretary for the Irish part of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, and as president of An Taisce, the Irish National Trust. She’s worked on the radio show ‘Mooney Goes Wild’ since 1995, and has pu…
 
Alastair Humphreys, named as one of National Geographic’s adventurers of the year, has walked, cycled and climbed over seemingly every surface of the planet. He began his adventures in his early 20s, and since then has cycled more than 46,000 miles around the globe. Unusually for a professional adventurer, Alastair is now cutting down on his flight…
 
In the third and final episode of the Castle Howard trilogy, you’re introduced to head of gardens and landscapes, Alastair Gunn. Starting in one of the estate’s rose gardens, we meet a stunning, rare, white china rose, thought to be a devoniensis, planted over 40 years ago. Alastair has been on the team for just over two years, coming from managing…
 
In the second episode of the Castle Howard trilogy, meet the head of forestry, Nick Cooke. Nick has been part of the team looking after the estate since 1975, and over the years has had to figure out how to maintain the extensive forests, all-in-all covering over 60 miles of pathways. Arriving in the ‘70s to take up a placement at the castle’s Ray …
 
We begin this trilogy of episodes at Castle Howard, with Nick Howard himself. Most recognisable to the public from the television show “Brideshead Revisited”, but for Nick the Castle Howard estate was his childhood home, a place where he felt such a distinct sense of freedom roaming around its gardens - at least until the cowbell was rung to call h…
 
David, speaking here as an Ambassador for the Woodland Trust, is joined in conversation by Luci Ryan, an ecologist and Lead Policy Advocate for conservation on behalf of the Woodland Trust. HS2 ltd - the company behind the Government's highspeed rail project - is quietly about to start moving the soil from five ancient woodlands. The move goes agai…
 
Dr Helen Pheby is the head of curatorial programmes at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Set in 500 acres of historic parkland, the park has provided a “gallery without walls” for artists such as Elisabeth Frink, Auguste Rodin, Giuseppe Penone, and local legends such as Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Helen has collaborated on projects in Iraqi Kurdistan…
 
Edward Davey is the Director of Geographic Deep Dives for the World Resources Institute and the Food and Land Use Coalition. Here, David and Ed speak briefly in direct response to the state of the global COVID-19 pandemic and how we might feed the people of the world moving forward. Ed and David discuss the agricultural concerns both in Britain and…
 
Tim Pears is a multi-award-winning author. His novel ‘In a Land of Plenty’ was made into a 10-part drama series for the BBC, and he’s just published the final book in his ‘West Country Trilogy’. Compared to Balzac and Hardy and inspired by Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx, Tim draws on his experiences of growing up in Devon and around nature to cre…
 
Rosewood Farm makes its home in the Lower Derwent Valley, deep in the Yorkshire Ings. Here, Rob Rose, his partner Natalie Stoppard, and their award-winning herd of 160 Irish Dexters – Europe’s smallest native cattle breed – place conservation, environmentally friendly farming methods, and the highest standards of animal welfare at the forefront of …
 
Ingrid Newkirk is an animal rights activist, author, and the president of PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – and after 40 years of activism, her passion remains infectiously captivating. Ingrid was born in Britain, raised in India, and spent much of her life in America. As a citizen of the world – in fact, her location globally…
 
Dr Bryce Stewart is a marine ecologist and fisheries biologist, and is currently a lecturer for the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York. His love for marine life began at the age of five, when he decided he wanted to be a “professional holiday man” after a trip to the beach. His father persuaded him to consider marine …
 
Dr Catherine Barlow is project manager of the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project, and previously worked on the ground-breaking Osprey Translocation Project at Rutland Water. This episode was recorded in front of a live audience at the Open Book in Wigtown, Scotland. Hear how Catherine’s ‘forced’ love of birds in childhood led to a real passion …
 
Mark Carwardine is a zoologist, leading conservationist, broadcaster and photographer. He came to prominence through his book and BBC documentary series “Last Chance to See” which he created with Douglas Adams of “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” fame. One of Mark’s big passions is diving - he organises whale and dolphin trips in Baja Californ…
 
Joanna Lentini is an underwater photographer and adventurer. She runs ‘Deep Focus Images’, a company that organises trips for those interested in pursuing wildlife photography. She is also the COO of ocean education organisation ‘Oceans in Focus’. Her accolades include having her work exhibited at the 2015 Climate Change Conference in Paris, and fe…
 
Victoria Bromley is a wildlife filmmaker and part of the BBC’s natural history unit. She has produced some of their most recognisable programmes, including Spring Watch, Planet Earth Live and Blue Planet II. She’s worked to highlight the plight of the Siberian Tiger and most recently of the little-known Pangolin. Growing up in Coventry, Victoria le…
 
Dr Richard Benwell is the chief executive of England's largest environmental coalition. He has worked at the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and, most recently, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In a passionate and expressive interview, Richard explains how he once tried to engage with…
 
Dr Jo Elworthy is a botanist and the director of interpretation at the Eden Project in Cornwall. She’s been involved with Eden since its inception, and has spent a great deal of time researching plantlife as well as creating books and films specialising in botany and horticulture. A chance encounter with the man who dreamt up the Eden Project, Sir …
 
Professor Sir John Lawton is a fellow of the Royal Society, president of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and chair of the Endangered Landscapes Programme. Previously a trustee of the WWF, head of the Natural Environment Research Council and the most recent chair of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, there are seemingly few environmental …
 
Amanda Owen is a farmer, known to readers and television viewers worldwide as the ‘Yorkshire Shepherdess’. With her husband Clive and their nine children, she looks after Ravenseat, Swaledale – one of the most exposed farms in the Dales. Alongside running the farm, she has found time to write a number of books, having come to public attention on IT…
 
Trees have captured the imagination of some of Britain’s most important landscape painters, with artists including John Constable and Paul Nash inspired by their diversity of form, character and symbolic significance. Here, in discussion with David in his role as an Ambassador for the Woodland Trust, art historian Christiana Payne and artist Angela…
 
Harry Barton is the chief executive of the Devon Wildlife Trust. He has worked for nearly 25 years in the environmental sector, including spells at the Earth Trust, the Council for National Parks, Kew Gardens, CPRE and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. Amidst extolling the virtues of Devon and it’s newfound beaver population, Harry explains the Trust's…
 
Tannis Davidson is the curator of the Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy at University College London. From unearthing the dismembered arms of mummies at archaeological digs in Egypt to searching for fossils in Beijing, Tannis has a rich history in researching and examining the stories of the once living. As one of the few people in th…
 
This is the second part of the conversation with Chris Watson, following on from the recordings made during the dawn chorus. Chris is a legendary sound recordist and president of the Wildlife Sound Recording Society. He’s worked on a whole host of documentaries, including David Attenborough’s Life of Birds, talks about the time in his band, Cabaret…
 
Chris Watson is the president of the Wildlife Sound Recording Society. He’s worked on a range of television and radio documentaries, alongside the likes of Sir David Attenborough. In this serene example of ‘slow radio’, Chris takes David to Stonehaugh, part of the Kielder Forest, in the early hours of the morning. As he sets up his microphones, he …
 
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