I’m wishing all readers of the Frightened Face of Nature (FFON) blog a wonderful 2018. Thank you for your support and kind messages.

2017 was a terrific year for the FFON team:

John and Margaret Cooper announced that a commemorative symposium to celebrate Maxwell Knight, the original “nature detective” and Second World War MI5 agent would be held at Birkbeck College, London, Autumn, 2018. Interest in attending the event has been strong and we expect a full house (date TBC) and terrific guest speakers.

The Coopers have continued to educate across continents – I admire their work and the spirit in which they enter into each arena to teach, to share what they know, and pass it on. Not for safeguarding, however – for it (the knowledge) to be used. Or else! What else should we expect from a Maxwell Knight student?

Following John and Margaret Cooper through the streets of London – as I did during a scheduled visit to The Linnean Society – is like following a speedboat in a canoe. I can see where they are, but it’s impossible to keep up with them.

I (Simon King) have continued to highlight some of the most pressing issues nature faces; the dangers of single-use plastics and specifically the damage it’s doing to oceans and beaches. My feeling is that manufacturers and retailers need to get together and take a more sustainable view of how they might deliver liquids to fast food fixtures. A bottle deposit scheme would help, but we all know prevention is better than cure.

I managed to find time to chat with Bill Oddie (see photo).

Interest in Maxwell Knight (Max, MK) has continued to grow. And rightly so. He influenced a great many amateur naturalists and played a significant part in (arguably) shortening World War Two. Those who’ve read Henry Hemming’s book will know Max wasn’t without fault; his penchant for basically ignoring MI5’s rules of engagement would today see him hung, drawn and quartered; however, opportunity makes the man.

We’ll bring you more information about the commemorative symposium as soon as we have a date set in the diary, and we’ll continue to highlight the plight of nature as we owe that to Max and his unpublished manuscript The Frightened Face of Nature – which will be discussed at the symposium in autumn.

Have a great 2018 and stay in touch.