Hello, welcome to Common By Nature – my humble blog, online diary and sightings board. It’s name derived from a half-hearted witticism involving my surname and interests that, over the years, appears to have stuck.
I’m James! A naturalist, conservationist, nature writer, environmental blogger, commentator and now, amateur editor from Northumberland. My interest in wilderness and wild things stemming from childhood: from long wildlife-fueled rambles around my home county, often in the company of my Grandmother, Vera. The lady to whom I owe the vast majority of my current interests and, if I may say so myself, a mighty fine naturalist in her own right.
In terms of my specific interests, it is difficult to pinpoint just where my affections lie, as, truthfully, all aspects of the natural world fascinate me. From birds and botanicals to fish, butterflies and our own relationship with the natural world and the ecosystem in which we live. Truly, I prefer to think of myself as somewhat of a generalist, though if I had to pick I would suggest my foremost interests lie in the realms of avian conservation, biological recording, human/wildlife conflict, field skills and communication. But who likes labels anyways? And I am equally happy grubbing about on all-fours in search of newts and beetles as I am interpreting ecological happenings for others to enjoy. I know it is common practice to specialise, and thus ascertain a niche, but I see no harm in dabbling in all areas of interest.
My studies and work to date (covered here in greater detail) have, somewhat recently, ignited a blossoming interest in nature writing and communication: skills which, one day, I hope to utilise as a means of inspiring interest in nature and encouraging others to stand up and protect it. At present, and in my spare time, I am working to better myself as both a writer and environmental communicator. Something which, at at glance, appears to be going rather well: with recent opportunities including the chance to contribute to two editions of the divine “An Anthology for the Changing Seasons” book series by Melissa Harrison and the Wildlife Trusts. My pieces here centred on the Chiffchaff and the Farne Islands – one of my favourite birds and places, respectively.
Elsewhere things appear to be progressing nicely, with recent articles in Fieldsports Magazine, the Harrier, Dragonfly News and the Northumberland Gazette: in addition to a number of online sources. Indeed, until recently, I held a regular column on the website of Conservation Jobs and managed the popular Wildlife Articles website. In addition to contributing to the blogs of Blasting News, Environment South Africa and now, Northumberland Wildlife Trust – for whom I am now writing regular articles regarding my region and her fantastic assortment of wild critters. I also recently established my own e-magazine – New Nature – which aims to provide an outlet for the creative talent of young naturalists. The latter involving no end of editing, social media, promotional and administrative work, yet rewarding given my belief that young people are horribly underrepresented in environmental media.
Ultimately, I hope one day to combine my dual passions for wildlife and media into a viable career. One which allows me to get out and about, so to speak, to enjoy the natural world, but also allows me to inspire and motivate others to do the same through written word. This may be a pipe-dream (I am aware that not many roles involve elements of both) but I hold out hope regardless. Until this miracle comes to fruition, I will continue on my current trajectory: one which sees me enjoying nature daily, learning from it, studying it and, later, writing about it when I get home.