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Talks are fully illustrated with colour slides and typically last between 45 and 60 minutes, but times can be adjusted to suit. I come with all the necessary projection equipment.
Fee : £60 plus travel (50p per mile).
Range : 20 miles from Princes Risborough (see map).
View and download the talk list here. (PDF)
: Talks with this symbol can be linked to a guided Wildlife Walk Click here for details.
Life in a Nutshell
Nature is full of countless small and infinitely detailed things, most of which go completely unnoticed by busy humans. Everything illustrated in this talk, whether a flower, a fungus, a caterpillar or even a slime mould, would fit comfortably inside a nutshell and most live within a mile or two of your front door, just waiting to be discovered.
The Island of Crabs
For millions of years Christmas Island, a remote speck in the Indian Ocean, has remained beyond the reach of the mammals which dominate most other parts of the world. Instead it is ruled by a staggering number and diversity of crabs, which occupy virtually every habitat on the island. This talk looks at the crabs and other wildlife of Christmas Island, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth, and follows the spectacular but hazardous mass migration from the forests to the sea that the crabs must undertake each year in order to complete their life cycle.
In the Forests of Borneo
The tropical rainforests of Borneo are among the richest and most ancient on Earth, home to orang-utans, headhunting tribes (now semi-retired) and a wealth of colourful wildlife. Here we meet some of them, discover the threats that they face and see how their future will depend on us.
Isolated from the rest of the world for millions of years, Australia is rich in wildlife, much of it unique (and some of it uniquely poisonous!), living in habitats ranging from tropical rainforest to desert. Here we follow the journey that plants and animals made many millions of years ago from the coral seas to the dry interior, introducing some of the characters and looking at how they survive in some of the harshest environments on Earth.
Volcanoes and Dragons
Indonesia, a three-thousand-mile chain of more than 13,000 volcanic islands strung between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, boasts the world’s largest living lizard, the Komodo Dragon. A fearsome predator weighing over twenty stone, reaching nine feet in length and easily able to outrun and bring down a person, it lives on just a handful of small remote islands. Here we visit the Dragon’s home and meet some of the other animals and plants with which it shares its kingdom.
The Changing Wildlife of the Chilterns
From warm seas, through Ice Ages, tundra and forest to the farmland and beechwoods of today, we travel through a hundred million years to follow the story of the Chiltern landscape and its wildlife.
The Ridgeway can claim to be one of the oldest trackways in Europe, stretching nearly ninety miles from Ivinghoe to Avebury and over 5,000 years from the Stone Age to the present day. This talk offers a blister-free walk along this ancient chalkland path, describing both its prehistory and the rich wildlife that it supports today.
The Lost Forest of Bernwood
It has existed for over a thousand years and its very name conjures up images of the wildwood, but few people know where or what is was. Yet much of its ancient landscape and wildlife still survive, if you know where to look. Here we explore what it was like to live and work in the Forest in mediaeval times and look at some of the plants and animals that would have been familiar to forest people.
The Forgotten River
Discovering the wildlife and history of the tranquil River Thame, from source to mouth and from the Stone Age to the present day.
We take an insect's-eye journey through the life of this fascinating creature, from egg to adult, looking at how it hunts and feeds, how it defends itself and of course how (and why) it produces its magical light, as well as giving tips on how to see Glow-worms for yourself.
The World of Insects
Insects are the most diverse group of animals that have ever existed on Earth, with at least five million species and new ones being discovered every day. For every one of us there are a billion of them. This talk looks at how 400 million years of evolution has allowed the insects to become so successful and introduces some of the species to be seen locally.
The World of Fungi
As well as being colourful, beautiful and edible (except for the ones that are deadly poisonous!), fungi are the ultimate recyclers and without them most of the world's habitats would soon collapse. This talk explores the diversity of the fungal kingdom and how their often bizarre lives affect ours.
The World of Plants
By converting sunlight into the food and oxygen upon which animals depend, they form the basis of virtually all life on Earth, but there is much more to plants than that. This talk traces their life cycle from seed to flower, looking at how they grow, travel, breed and feed (including some that prey on animals), as well as the relationships that they form with animals, with each other and with us.
A tour of the plants and animals to be found in ponds, lakes and streams, looking at the ways in which, from marine land-loving ancestors, they have become so beautifully adapted to life on, around and beneath the water.
We follow the lives of the inhabitants of a typical English wood through the cycles that take place in the course of a day, a year and a lifetime.
Trees and People
From our earliest ancestors we have always depended on trees in countless ways. This talk looks at why we need them still and why - now more than ever - they need our help.
The Queen of the Woods - the Beech tree
The beech is without doubt the tree that gives the Chilterns so much of their character. We follow the life of a beech tree, discover the plants, animals and fungi that depend on and support it, look at its relationship with humans and see what the future may hold for it.
Making Space for Wildlife
With so many ancient habitats disappearing from our countryside each year, even the smallest garden can provide a vital sanctuary for wild plants and animals. We look at a range of simple ways to make a garden more attractive to wildlife (and more interesting for us), including garden design, choosing the right plants, building a pond, establishing a wildflower meadow and managing your garden in a wildlife-friendly way.
A tour of the ingenious and often strange structures that animals build for themselves, from humble hermit cells to teeming cities with thousands of inhabitants and all mod cons.
A look at the many and varied languages that animals and plants have invented to communicate with each other: what they say and how they say it, from courtship and aggression to downright lying!
A leisurely stroll through a year in the British countryside and a look at how and why our seasons are changing. Bring warm clothing!
The Countryside in Spring
After the cold, dark days of winter the countryside gradually warms and comes back to life, with new plants and animals re-appearing every day.
The Countryside in Summer
At this, nature's busiest time of the year, we discover some of our local summer wildlife.
The Countryside in Autumn
A tour of the wildlife to be found in this season of fungi, fruit and fog.
The Countryside in Winter
Even in the most challenging season of the year there is wildlife to be seen, if you know where to look.
Reading the Countryside
Once you learn how to spot the clues, a walk in the countryside can reveal so much more about its wildlife, history and prehistory. There are even signs that will help you to find your way and to forecast the weather.
If you have any suggestions for a natural history talk which you think would interest your group but is not covered here, I would be delighted to hear from you. Please click to let me know.