We offer a range of illustrated talks based on natural history and exploration, often from our own travels around the world. We like to get beneath the skin of a country and look for the unusual, whether it is being confused for a mother by a baby Sea lion in the Galápagos, unwittingly botanising in the red-light district of Cuba; to sitting in a muddy hot pool watching bats drinking from the same pool. Talks often look at the ethno-botany (how people have traditionally used plants) of a country with everything from the source of a natural lipstick to plants that can ward off lightning.
Talks are suitable for Garden groups, Local natural history societies, U3A groups, schools etc. and it is often be possible to tailor particular to talks to your group (e.g. schools).
Talks typically last 60 minutes, and are usually followed by a short questions and answers section. Talks are a mixture of digital or slide. To discuss costs and arrange for a talk please contact us.
When booking a talk, please could you provide us with the following information:
Contact name / phone number / email
Location of talk (preferably with postcode)
Which talk(s) you are interested in.
Darwin the Botanist
An exploration of the many botanical discoveries Darwin and his contemporaries made. Starting off in Shrewsbury and his early years with family and schoolmates; and seeing how he developed his interests in natural history. We explore some of Darwin’s lesser known discoveries and comparing them to our current understanding. Along the way we answer questions including, was Darwin an active Botanist in Shropshire? What is Batology? Why do Primroses have two kinds of flowers? How does a Bat use a Pitcher Plant?
Find out about the weird and wonderful world of plants from around the world, journeying through the tropics, arid deserts and mountainous regions. Plants form more than the green backdrop to our understanding of the world around us and this talk shows how plants use others to spread their genes, distribute their offspring and even turn the table and consuming animals.
Never heard of Dominica? Well that’s probably a good thing, follow us as we explore this little known island in the Caribbean. With its lush tropical jungle full of orchids, bromeliads and other native tropical blooms; be inspired by the stunning scenery, boiling lakes and hot pools. Learn about the creation of a valley in 7 days, sounds biblical well it almost is, at least in proportions. Hear about how plants exploit birds and other animals to pollinate them, and distribute their seeds. Including a look at how the indigenous and settled people of Dominica used plants in their everyday lives. Expect to be booking a seat on the next plane.
What's in a Name?
A short romp through the science of naming the natural world. Learn when a Bluebell is not a Bluebell, how Mountain Ash can be many different trees. Starting with the history of naming plants, we journey across time sorting order out of the chaos, until arriving in the modern era. Through stories and quirky discoveries learn how plants (and animals) have been named and what their names mean, and why that is useful to you as a naturalist or gardener. Suitable for all interests. Oh and no it's not all in Latin either...
Steam, Sugar and Socialism
The sugarcane harvest or Zafra is an important time in the Cuban calendar. Unusually the cut sugarcane is transported by steam and this is the account of a visit to see the last days of steam in Cuba. Chasing steam trains gives you access to parts of Cuba that most visitors wouldn’t visit so expect lots of tales of meeting locals, crabs sunning themselves on bus shelters, native plants and exotics as well as exploring some of the weird and wacky plants to be found in the botanic gardens of Cuba.
Dragon Mountain: A botanical journey into the Drakensberg
A naturalist's journey along the Sani Pass climbing more than 1500m up the side of the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa. From the lowlands with their wet woodland and Streptocarpus, wild orchids and Begonia sutherlandii; on through the grasslands with Proteas, Pineapple Flower Eucomis, Drumsticks and Agapanthus. The alpine meadows abound with Red-hot Pokers Kniphofia, Diascia and Rhodohypoxis. Tales of herbal uses for plants abound from species used as charms, to those plants which can ward off lightning!
Journey with us to Uganda, a country with a varied flora and fauna, ranging from dry savanna with big African game, to the wet humid jungles of the southwest. Find out about the biodiversity of the Albertine Rift, in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest region.
As part of our travels we worked with Omushana, a charity aiming to improve opportunities for children in the Bwindi area of SW Uganda. The projects are based in the villages around the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Slovensky Raj: Exploring the Magnificent Meadows of Slovakia
Slovensky Raj means Slovak Paradise and it is true. This National Park is full of forests and meadows, which are immensely diverse, both for flora and fauna. Bear, wolves and lynxes roam, whilst the meadows contain a massive array of wildflowers. Slovakia lies on the Carpathian mountain range, from the High Tatras in the North to the forested hills of Slovensky Raj, with its limestone geology resulting in numerous caves and canyons as well as the diverse grasslands.
This talk will illustrate the wonders of Slovensky Raj, which is one of 9 National Parks in Slovakia.