Patrons of Birding For All
Thanks to all our Patrons for their continuing support and encouragement…
Dr Mark Avery
Mark Avery is a scientist by training and a naturalist by inclination. He writes about and comments on environmental issues. Mark worked for the RSPB for 25 years until standing down in April 2011 to go freelance. He was the RSPB’s Conservation Director for nearly 13 years. More recently he was co-founder of Wild Justice He is also Chairman of the World Land Trust.
Wildlife TV presenter Nick Baker is an amateur naturalist who remains in a state of perplexity at the fact he cannot really use that title anymore. He has somehow turned a childhood passion for living things into a livelihood and therefore really should be described as a professional naturalist. All the same, to this day, he continues doing what he did when he was ten years old … and he has no intention of stopping!
Garin Baksa is a partner at Opticron; an English company that markets specialist optical equipment such as binoculars and telescopes to enable birdwatchers, wildlife enthusiasts and others that enjoy the outdoors to get the most from their hobbies and leisure time.
Dawn Balmer started at the British Trust for Ornithology in 1992 and is now Head of Surveys. A keen birder since a child, she is trained bird ringer for over 20 years. Living in in Thetford, Norfolk she enjoys local birding & other wildlife, with regular trips to the coast. Her special interests is migration and gull ID. She was the Coordinator for the Bird Atlas 2007–2011. She is on the Rare Breeding Birds Panel, the BOU Records Committee, the Editorial Board of British Birds & writes regularly for British Wildlife.
Clinton Bradbury is an artist. He graduated in Graphic Design then became a Chartered Designer. When the first recession came he changed tack & stopped calling himself a graphic designer & built a portfolio of drawing. He started illustrating books including a children’s guide to the Old Royal Observatory. A Series of graphic novels for adult readers followed as did illustrations for BBC Music Magazine; ‘Creepy Crawlies’ for The Natural History Museum; and several children’s guides and much more.
Dan Bradbury is Communications Director of the World Land Trust an international conservation charity that protects the world’s most biologically significant and threatened habitats acre by acre. Through a network of partner organisations around the world, WLT funds the creation of reserves and provides permanent protection for habitats and wildlife. Partnerships are developed with established and highly respected local organisations who engage support and commitment among the local community.
Dr Mike Clarke
Mike Clarke was CEO of RSPB where he worked for 30 years. He joined in 1972 and very soon became a volunteer, sparking his lifetime commitment to nature conservation. In 2020, after a long, and very fulfilling career (he was CEO for ten years), he stepped down & return to his roots, supporting the charity as both a member and volunteer. As CEO, he was instrumental in driving significant growth in membership, while modernising their mission and fostering a new era of collaboration on behalf of nature conservation.
Dominic Couzens is a naturalist and writer with more than 30 book titles to his name. He is also a birdwatching field trip leader (since 1988) organising & leading birding trips in the UK. He loves meeting people and sharing with them the things that excite him about nature, especially his main area of expertise, bird behaviour. He believes passionately in communicating greater understanding about the natural world through his Books, Magazine Articles and occasional Television work.
Richard Crossley is an internationally acclaimed birder, photographer and award winning author of ‘The Crossley ID Guide’ series. Crazy, wildly passionate, driven and single-minded are just a few of the words used to describe his love of birding and the outdoors. Born in Yorkshire, Richard first visited Cape May, USA after graduating, and moved there in 1991. After 20 years in the business world while raising his family, Richard co-authored The Shorebird Guide, after which the Crossley ID Guide series was created.
Mike Dilger is an ecologist, natural history TV presenter, director & writer and author. He has a life-long passion for British and tropical flora and fauna, and a profound experience and encyclopaedic knowledge of both. He is committed to bringing the beauty of the natural world to a broader audience with enthusiasm and insight, rather than sensation or gimmicks (or those he’ll do that if needed!).
Charlie Moores has been a birder for over forty years and is a cyclist and vegan. He works for LUSH on their The War On Wildlife Project having worked for an airline travelling extensively & birding continuously (in one year he recorded 1900+ species, while raising money for parrot conservation). He has been writing about conservation & animal welfare issues since the 1990s. He is known for his Talking Naturally podcasts having made well over 100 podcasts interviews with conservationists around the world.
Neil Glenn is a writer and birding tour leader. He lives in Nottinghamshire where he has been a keen birdwatcher since his teens. His childhood holidays were spent in Norfolk engendering a love of that county, culminating in him writing the critically acclaimed ‘Best Birdwatching Sites in Norfolk’ many years later. He is a regular contributor to Bird Watching magazine and his birding has taken him to five continents. His other passions/obsessions include football (Notts County!), films and music.
Ian Griffiths is a professional artist who specialises in wildlife including birds as well as illustrative and expressionist mixed media work. He was winner BBC wildlife artist of the year, among other awards. Water holds a fascination for Ian who lives on the Lizard peninsula with the stormy Atlantic on one side and the peaceful creeks of the Helford River on the other. Having lived throughout the UK and travelled the world he has wide knowledge of Wildlife and the landscape.
Sheena Harvey is a freelance editor, editorial consultant, writer and project manager. Before becoming an independent consultant she was Editor of the BBC Wildlife Magazine for four years, one of the six national titles and five associated websites that she has edited including Bird Watching and Wild Travel. He particular area of focus is Natural History.
David Lindo known as the Urban Birder, is a broadcaster, writer, naturalist, photographer, public speaker, tour leader and birder! Born & raised in London, he loves all nature, but birds have been his particular obsession. His main passion is for urban birds. He now travels the world encouraging citizens and organisations to step outside wherever they may be to enjoy urban birding. Through his TV appearances, writing, talks and tours he tries to inspire people to re-look at their urban environments.
South African born Chris Lotz is the founder of Birding Ecotours. His doctorate was on African sunbirds, & he has taught university zoology and did post-doctoral research on hummingbirds at the University of Wyoming. For the last 10 years he has been guiding and scouting across Asia, the Americas, and especially African. He has a burning passion for bird conservation and volunteers for BirdLife South Africa and other organisations. Chris currently lives with his wife Megan in Norfolk.
Nigel Marven has been interested in Wildlife since a very young age. He studied at Bristol University then began a career with wildlife joining the BBC Natural History Unit. After working alongside Sir David Attenborough for 12 years he presented episodes of Walking with Dinosaurs and then Prehistoric Park before forming his own production company in 2003. Since then he’s travelled the world looking at some of the most amazing animals.
Philip Merricks MBE
Philip Merricks owns and created Elmley Nature Reserve on the Isle of Sheppey (the only privately owned National Nature Reserve) and Cheyne Court Nature Reserve on Romney Marsh. He was appointed. MBE in 2001, for Services to Conservation in Agriculture and was, until 2019, Chairman of the Hawk & Owl Trust. He is also a Deputy Lieutenant of Kent.
Stephen Moss is a Natural Historian, birder, author and TV producer and President of the Somerset Wildlife Trust. He is best known for producing wildlife series, many of them presented by Bill Oddie. He has written around 30 books. He left the BBC in 2011 to work as a freelancer. He lectures at Bath Spa University and is a visiting professor at the University of Nottingham. In 2009, he was one of the first recipients of the British Trust for Ornithology’s Dilys Breese Medal, at a ceremony at the House of Lords.
Bill Oddie OBE
Bill Oddie is a birder, conservationist, author of a dozen books, artist, composer, musician, comedian, actor and a radio and TV presenter. He is best known as one of the ‘Goodies’ and as presenter of Spring Watch and many other TV wildlife documentaries. He makes no secret of the fact that he is bi-polar and suffers from depression. He was recently referred to by a journalist as “The wizened Godfather of Nature”. Which is fine, but he would prefer to be known as Green Grandad.
Chris Packham CBE
Chris Packham is a naturalist, television presenter, writer, photographer, conservationist, campaigner & filmmaker. He is presenter of BBC’s Springwatch, Autumnwatch & Winterwatch series. His autobiography ’Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir’ revealed he has Asperger’s syndrome. A vociferous opponent of badger culling & driven grouse shooting he co-founded Wild Justice A recipient of many awards, he is trustee or of many organisations, and is an honorary Doctor of Science.
Lord Randall of Uxbridge
Sir John Randall is a Conservative Life peer since 2018. His full title is The Rt Hon. the Lord Randall of Uxbridge. Prior to joining the Lords, he sat in the Commons as an MP (1997-2015). He was an RSPB Council member, is a trustee of the Bat Conservation Trust and is President of the Colne Valley Regional Park and Hillingdon Natural History Society. He was Theresa May’s Special advisor on the environment. He is also very active as a patron of BFA offering support at meetings to promote countryside access.
Tristan Reid is a Wildlife & Conservation YouTuber, public speaker, tattooed naturalist and mental health advocate. He has run or walked thousands of kilometres raising money for conservation causes. As the ‘Inked Naturalist’, he aims to encourage and inspire people to love the wildlife around them!
Angela & Jonathan Scott
Angela & Jonathan Scott are award winning wildlife photographers & authors of 34 books, who have made documentaries of lions, leopards and cheetahs in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, recording every aspect of their lives in their drawings, photographs and wildlife television programs. They are the only couple to have won the Overall Award in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition as individuals. They are best know to many for the TV series Big Cat Diary.
Howie Watkins His best known for presenting BBC1’s Really Wild Show, a job which allowed him to, in his words ‘put off growing up’ for seven years and indulge his passion for wildlife – travelling around Britain and the World. He now divides his time between: multimedia production projects, science writing, lecturing, campaigning on behalf of various conservation organisations, and running the Art Alert Project (an environmental art co-operative.)
Iolo Williams is a Welsh naturalist, broadcaster, public speaker and writer who’s worked in conservation for over 30 years. He is most widely known as a popular member of the BBC ‘Springwatch’, ‘Autumnwatch’ and ‘Winterwatch’ presenting team and for presenting other series. After obtaining his degree in ecology he went on to work for the RSPB for almost 15 years as Species Officer for Wales, working with some of the country’s rarest breeding birds. In the late 1990s Iolo left the Society to work full-time in the media.
Stuart Winter is a birder, journalist and author. The journalism pays the bills, but birds make life worth living. He is Nature Editor at Express Newspapers and has been on national newspapers for 33 years. He has won awards for animal welfare, conservation and nature journalism. He has also written a number of books on birds and birdwatching. He was awarded the British Trust for Ornithology’s Dilys Breese Medal for communicating science to new audiences.
Patrons Endorse Birding For All
“I have just turned 79, and some days I feel it! Especially when I am trudging up Parliament Hill to get to the “viz mig” watch point. Everyone overtakes me : joggers, dog walkers, kids on scooters, and people in wheelchairs. Hampstead Heath is managed so that everyone can get around. The paths are smooth and there are plenty of benches to rest on. You could call it ‘outdoors for all’, and if it weren’t so you can be sure that the citizens of North London would soon demand it. All Nature reserves should have such facilities -not just wheelchair ramps to the hides, but obstacle free trails, regularly spaced rest places and thoughtfully positioned viewing points. Oh yes, plus something Hampstead Heath doesn’t always have – lots and lots of birds“. ~ Bill Oddie, TV Presenter & Naturalist
“It’s not all about wheelchairs and walking sticks, Birding For All, is just that, whether you’re disabled, pregnant, with kids in tow or just unwell – birding for all is there to help you and let’s face it you might be leaping around like a mountain goat on Tartrazine now but at some point, at best you’re going to slow down and become less able, it’s the only certainty in life – we are all going to get old and birding for all will be there for you.” ~ Nick Baker, TV Presenter & Naturalist
“What’s the use of great urban transport links if, when you get to a reserve or park you just can’t get around easily? Maybe you find distance a problem, have a pram to push or are under the weather, the last thing you need are soggy paths and barriers in your way. That’s where ‘Birding For All’ comes in, pressing for improvements to make great birding places available regardless of your physical needs. Whether in town or country, ‘Birding For All’ is helping to make birding available for EVERYONE!” ~ David Lindo, TV Presenter & Naturalist
“My own story and experiences as a bird watcher, artist and parent’s made me a BFA supporter. My eleven year-old son Thomas has very complex ‘additional needs’, whatever that means – we all have additional needs one way or another. What BIRDING FOR ALL wants to achieve is just that ‘birding for all’ so the phrase ‘additional needs’ is obsolete in the birding world. Thomas has learning difficulties, no speech, difficulty walking, behavioural issues and more. But, he loves going out and has made up signs for certain birds including blue parrots, which are scarce in Cornwall.
We used to go and park in a layby opposite to one RSPB reserve until the council closed it off. When Thomas was walking we used to visit our local reserve, which was wonderful, but his mobility deteriorated so I bought a 3-wheeled buggy, which certainly does the job even in water and rough terrain. However, the boardwalks are too narrow to use as both rear wheels hang over the sides. Another 3 inches would have opened up another world for him and other users. Moreover, no hides are accessible and general access is poor. Just think, 3 inches can make a difference and change people’s love of and access to nature. We need to create and share such memories as a family before its too late.” ~ Ian Griffiths, Wildlife Artist & Parent
“As a Birding For All patron and a board member at the famous Hawk Mountain in the USA, I am proud that we have just opened the ‘Accessible Trail’ that allows everyone to traverse to the South Lookout. The smooth pathway with a gentle gradient will accommodate wheelchairs and people with small children and prams and there is bench seating along the way for people with limited mobility.
The hefty investment is already paying dividends in increased attendance from positive press and increased accessibility. It’s a great thought that everyone has the opportunity to see the stunning panoramic views and the days when the skies are full of birds. My days of overzealously chasing balls and birds are also coming to an end and it is nice to know I will also have a perch to sit on – even if I need a hand to get there.” ~ Richard Crossley, The Crossley ID Guides, Birder and Conservationist.
“When I was younger, I was a sporty type; not very good mind, but sporty nevertheless. I was always out on my bike, running half marathons or playing 5-a-side with a few games of badminton and squash thrown in for good measure. Now I don’t. After years of battering and mistreatment, my knees tell me they need a rest! It’s one reason why I was for the name change from Disabled Birders’ Association to Birding For All. After all, we all need a sit down now and again!
When I am out researching reserves for my ‘Best Birdwatching Sites’ books on Norfolk and Yorkshire, I urge reserve managers to include seating plans on reserve maps. Friends tell me it’s make or break for them – they can only visit a site if there are regular stop off points along paths. Friends with children regularly contact me to see if reserves they intend visiting have paths suitable for pushchairs. Easy Access isn’t just wheelchair access; it’s about making facilities accessible to as many people as possible. It doesn’t just mean putting a ramp to the visitor centre door, it means levelling access paths and putting regular seats for the elderly and not-so-good-on-their-feet.
We all become more decrepit as we age; just ask my knees, so the next time you visit a reserve, just take a peek at how many rest points are along the way because you might need them one day!” ~ Neil Glenn, Tour Guide & Author