The launch event was at the rather wonderful Books on the Rise bookshop, well worth a visit. I bagged myself a copy of the recently published Patrick MacGoohan biography, which was an added bonus.
If you are in Richmond, check out @BooksontheRise where you can purchase a copy of West London Wildlife, an amazing book about some of London’s most interesting wildlife habitats published by @AuroraMetro pic.twitter.com/dbh35aM3iD— Roger Tichborne/Rog T (@Barneteye) December 12, 2022
There were two panels consisting of four and then three of the authors. The event was sold out which was most heartening.
Thanks to everyone who joined us today for the launch of West London Wildlife! We were thrilled to be joined by an amazing panel, from nature writers to conservationists🌳🌊🦇 @WWTLondon @FRPTweets @Ethnobotanica @Barneteye @FriendsRivCrane @ThamesEstPart @_BCT_ @WWTLondon pic.twitter.com/7UFBONQTKe— Aurora Metro Books (@AuroraMetro) December 10, 2022
Lisa Woodward is the General Manager for London Wetland Centre, looking after the visitors and wildlife, ably supported by an incredible team and over 200 volunteers. Lisa’s background is in charity and visitor attractions, having worked for iconic names such as Kew Gardens and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Her expertise is in commercial operations, but wildlife has a special place in her heart, and running London Wetland Centre is her dream job.
Wanda Bodnar is a marine geospatial data scientist. She currently works at the Thames Estuary Partnership where she applies spatial data in the context of aquatic habitat conservation, restoration and climate resilience within the Greater Thames Estuary. She also leads stand up paddleboarding (SUP) sessions at a Kew based paddleboarding club called Active360 on the upper Thames Estuary.
Philip Briggs has lived in the borough of Richmond-upon-Thames all his life and developed a love of wildlife from an early age. He has volunteered at the WWT London Wetland Centre since 1998, leading wildlife walks and assisting with wildlife monitoring, particularly bats. Since 2003 he has worked for the Bat Conservation Trust where he manages the National Bat Monitoring Programme, a long-running citizen science project.
Susanne Masters is a botanist specializing in edible plants and their trade around the world. She works with distilleries on ingredient selection and sourcing. Susanne has run workshops and spoken about plants in beverages for organisations including the Boutique Bar Show, Royal Horticultural Society, and Chelsea Physic Garden, Author of Wild Waters and contributor to Kew's Teas, Tonics, and Tipples', she has written features for publications including the New York Times, Guardian. Her academic research on wild species in trade is listed on https://orcid.org
Ian Alexander has been in love with nature all his life, having at various times been fascinated by lichens, birdwatching, fossils, and dragonflies. He enjoys practical conservation work, gardening, and photographing nature. He lives in Chiswick, blogs about nature, and volunteers at his local nature reserve, Gunnersbury Triangle.
Roger Tichborne - Me.
The first panel discussion was fascinating. Such events, with experts are always worth a listen. I learned of the problems of wet wipes in the environment and how they are devastatating wetland habitats. On one spot on the river Thames, there is a 1 metre deep build up. Both Lisa and Wanda were keen for us all to simply stop using them and use a more sustainable form of wipe instead. Gary contributed a fascinating passage about the River Crane, which I'd not even heard of previously. He explained how the space had been opened up and the dumped fridges removed. Phillip spoke about his work with bats. I was interested in this, as I once had a job making bat detectors for Queen Mary's College global bat survey in 1982.
I was on the second panel. Susanne gave an interesting talk, explaining how she'd discovered how you could make money writing about subjects you are interested in. Something that had't previously occurred to her. Ian spoke about his work and his previous book. I finished up. Given that everyone was an expert of sorts, whereas I was a blogger with an interest in a local nature reserve, I spoke more about how blogging and social media can be used to bring campaigns together, something I am far more an expert in. I made sure to credit Samuel Levy , who did much of the heavy lifting for my section of the book.
I also got to chat after to a couple of the photographers who contributed, including the rather wonderful Amanda Boardman. There are some wonderful pictures in the book.
Lovely to meet the contributors to the West London Wildlife book, I am thrilled that 3 of my photos are included 😀@WWTLondon @AuroraMetro @Ethnobotanica @Barneteye @FRPTweets @FriendsRivCrane @ThamesEstPart @_BCT_ @BooksontheRise #photography #photographylovers #richmondpark pic.twitter.com/OluDvDrZBt— Amanda Boardman (@Mandsby) December 10, 2022
The habitats covered in the book include Richmond Park, Ruislip Woods, a Bushy Park, London Wetland Centre, Kew Gardens, Gunnersbury Triangle, Crane Park, Chiswick House and of course Darlands. I realised that these are areas of London that deserve some proper exploration and I will be covering them in my London Symphonies series at some point over the coming year, exploring the area and giving my own take on them. When you think about London you think of buildings and people, but as Wanda pointed out, the River Thames is the largest open space in London.
When Allen Ashley was in the False Dots, we recorded a song about The River Thames called "Be The River", but the event and the book made me realise that there is far more to the river. If you are interested in our environment, I'd strongly recommend buying the book, for three reasons (CLICK HERE TO BUY THE BOOK)
1. It's a damn fine book, with some very interesting content.
2. The photo's are beautiful
3. We should support independent publishers such as Aurora Metro.
For me personally, it was interesting writing for the book. When I blog, it is very much a stream of consciousness. For the book, I had to do the job properly, do my research, correct my grammar and spelling (thanks to my Daughter Lizzie who proof read it) and write with discipline, which is something I am not normally inclined to do, but if people have faith in me, I try and do things properly. I thank Aurora Metro for asking me. It was an honour and a privildge.
This blog runs a series called Environment Monday, where we highlight environmental issues. Contributing a chapter, attending the event and speaking to the panel has only reinforced why we must keep these issues in the public eye. And please chip in a donation for Darlands Lake conservation.