Hello! James here. I am an amateur naturalist, conservationist and nature writer privileged to find myself living my childhood dream of a life and career in nature. I launched Common By Nature back in 2011 as a place to express my interest in the natural world, explore the topics which interest me and, more importantly, to enthuse others with regards to the world around us.
I hold a Masters qualification in Wildlife Management and a Bachelors degree in Animal Conservation Science. In the years since I have worked in both practical conservation, as an assistant warden for the National Trust for Scotland, and ecology, as a field assistant in the Scottish Highlands. Currently, I find myself lucky enough to work in communications for the Natural History Society of Northumbria.
Elsewhere, I have committed to voluntary work for myriad organisations including RSPB, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Red Squirrels Northern England and, most recently, A Focus on Nature, as their regional representative for North East England.
My core interests lie in the field of natural history – in the physical act of observing, recording and enjoying flora and fauna in the field – and in nature communications. I am an ardent advocate for youth involvement in nature and, in 2016, established New Nature Magazine as a place for young people to have their say on environmental issues, and express their collective passion for the natural world.
Unlike many nature bloggers, I suspect, I possess no formal qualification in literacy, journalism or communications, and boast no training in the written word – something I am actually quite proud of. Instead, any experience I do hold as a writer derives from trial and error [quite a lot of error], reading and personal interest.
To date, my written work has been published in two editions of the Anthology for the Changing Seasons book series, as well as in Research Features, The Entomologists Record, Fieldsports Magazine, Dragonfly News and the Countryman. Alongside a column in Roebuck – the regional publication of Northumberland Wildlife Trust – and various quotes and small bits of copy elsewhere, including in BBC Wildlife Magazine.
Online, I have maintained columns for Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Conservation Jobs and Wildlife Articles – the latter of which, although it beggars belief, has now been read by over 159,000 people. A full list of my written work can be found here.
My work in communications has won me recognition by BBC Wildlife Magazine on multiple occasions, as well as finalist positions at the Northern Blogger Awards and Living North Awards. More recently, I earned the highly commended spot at the UK Blog Awards 2018 (and 2019) and, in a bizarre twist, found myself featured on BBC Countryfile as a result.
Currently, I sit on the publications committee of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI).