Maxwell Knight Young Naturalists’ Library in the education centre of the Natural History Museum

Anti-pigeon spikes in Bristol trees

There's something sinister about seeing an anti-pigeon spike in a tree. If birds are unwelcome in trees, where exactly are they welcome? In the countryside? Our ancient woodlands? Amongst the UK's forests, woods and trees? (As long as no vehicles are parked nearby!). Or have changes in the wider countryside and intensive farming methods forced … Continue reading Anti-pigeon spikes in Bristol trees

Should there be a bottle deposit scheme in the UK?

Yes. We're way past all the other alternatives. Put a price on the head of plastic bottles, and guess what? Fewer bottles will find their way into our oceans. In an ideal world, manufacturers would use fewer single-use plastic formats. I can't see that happening without significant pressure - here's why: Delivering products through the … Continue reading Should there be a bottle deposit scheme in the UK?

MASTERCLASS: DR. JANE GOODALL TEACHES CONSERVATION

In 29 lessons, Dr Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism. Learn from the legendary naturalist Dr Jane Goodall in her first ever online class. Only available through MasterClass.  Take action “There is still a window of time. Nature can win if we give her a chance.” In her first ever online class, Dr … Continue reading MASTERCLASS: DR. JANE GOODALL TEACHES CONSERVATION

‘Insecticides blamed for migratory birds’ setbacks’ reports CAB. Effects reportedly ‘severe enough’ to ‘reduce their chance of survival.’

Blue Planet II: we “dump eight million tonnes of plastic into the sea” every year, and it “entangles and drowns a vast number of creatures”. Think about that when you next shop.

I'm not a fan of the word compulsory. Rules can bring out the worst in people. Make them feel grumpy or rebellious or, make them switch off. But I'm going to say that Blue Planet II should be compulsory viewing. We should all sit and watch that pilot whale carry its dead calf. And we … Continue reading Blue Planet II: we “dump eight million tonnes of plastic into the sea” every year, and it “entangles and drowns a vast number of creatures”. Think about that when you next shop.

Maxwell Knight and The Frightened Face of Nature manuscript

“Warning of ‘ecological Armageddon’ after dramatic plunge in insect numbers”

The Guardian reported in October that "Three--quarters of flying insects in nature reserves across Germany have vanished in 25 years, with serious implications for all life on Earth, scientists say."   It's funny how scientists often confirm what we instinctively know. Anyone who's driven a car this summer will have noted how few insects there … Continue reading “Warning of ‘ecological Armageddon’ after dramatic plunge in insect numbers”

‘Wildlife Forensic Investigation: Principles and Practice’

This book by Professor John E. Cooper and his wife Mrs Margaret E. Cooper, with contribu­tions from many countries in the world and a Foreword by Dr Lee Durrell, was published in May 2013.   It is published by CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group. The book provides an in-depth introduction to the rapidly-evolving field of wildlife … Continue reading ‘Wildlife Forensic Investigation: Principles and Practice’

‘Be a Nature Detective’ by Maxwell Knight (1968) – natural history tradecraft from Britain’s greatest spymaster and the original ‘Nature Detective’ courtesy of the BBC

It certainly wasn't appropriate for Maxwell Knight to share his spy training during his Sunday afternoon BBC broadcasts, or was it? Surely not? Perish the thought. But, what if his broadcasts and books contained the same basic training (the same 'tradecraft') he was giving MI5 recruits? As far as Knight was concerned, the two were … Continue reading ‘Be a Nature Detective’ by Maxwell Knight (1968) – natural history tradecraft from Britain’s greatest spymaster and the original ‘Nature Detective’ courtesy of the BBC

How Ocean Pollution Affects Humans: “The Devil in the deep blue sea”

"Oceans are fundamental to the health of our planet - the very lifeblood of Earth's ecosystem. To survive and prosper, mankind needs a harmonious relationship with our planet's oceans."

Trump administration’s stance on the environment is ‘willful ignorance’ says DiCaprio

According to The Independent, actor and environmentalist, Leonardo DiCaprio didn't mince his words during an encounter with Donald Trump. In an attempt to encourage Mr Trump to see the opportunity to make nature great again, DiCaprio tried to sway him to take another look at the Paris Climate Agreement. Reverting to type, Trump claimed that the Paris … Continue reading Trump administration’s stance on the environment is ‘willful ignorance’ says DiCaprio

It’s World Rhino Day today, who feels like celebrating?

If there is something to celebrate it's the dedicated people who commit their life to the protection of wildlife and make every day a World Rhino Day. These wonderful (underpaid) individuals deserve all the cake and tea in China; however, I've a feeling they don't have much of an appetite to party after spending 364.25 … Continue reading It’s World Rhino Day today, who feels like celebrating?

We need more naturalists, more 21st Century Nature Detectives

Maxwell Knight was amongst the first - if not the first - to coin the phrase 'nature detective' before the Second World War; however, he would have been the first to admit that his natural history forefathers had literally risked life and limb detecting fauna and flora as skilfully recorded in Richard Conniff's book The Species … Continue reading We need more naturalists, more 21st Century Nature Detectives

Smiley is back

John Le Carre's master spy is making what the author says will be his last appearance in a novel in A Legacy of Spies. If you missed James Naughtie's moving interview with John le Carré on the Today Programme at 07:40 this morning, it's available here. He referred to his colleagues "Max Knight and John Bingham". … Continue reading Smiley is back

Interview with John Cooper (2010) reveals the source of his clinical diagnosis skills to be Major Maxwell Knight, Britain’s greatest MI5 spymaster and the original ‘Nature Detective’

Q: Who has been the most inspiring influence on your professional career? A: THE BBC NATURALIST AND BROADCASTER, MAJOR MAXWELL KNIGHT, WHO - THROUGH HIS WRITINGS AND PERSONAL TUITION - HELPED ME TO APPRECIATE THE NATURAL WORLD AND TAUGHT ME THAT BEING AN OBSERVANT "NATURE DETECTIVE" COULD ASSIST IN CLINICAL DIAGNOSIS AND WAS THE FOUNDATION OF FORENSIC INVESTIGATION. Acknowledgements: John Bonner and … Continue reading Interview with John Cooper (2010) reveals the source of his clinical diagnosis skills to be Major Maxwell Knight, Britain’s greatest MI5 spymaster and the original ‘Nature Detective’

Commemorative Symposium: Maxwell Knight, the original “nature detective” and Second World War MI5 agent. Birkbeck College, London, Autumn, 2018

A half-day Symposium about Maxwell Knight, OBE, FLS, naturalist and Second World War MI5 agent, will be held at Birkbeck College, University of London, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD, on a Saturday (date to be decided) in the Autumn of 2018. The meeting will be hosted by the British Herpetological Society (BHS) and supported … Continue reading Commemorative Symposium: Maxwell Knight, the original “nature detective” and Second World War MI5 agent. Birkbeck College, London, Autumn, 2018

Greenpeace: Join the fight against plastic pollution

SAY NO TO OCEAN PLASTICS https://youtu.be/BakHzyn_6GY   A truckload of plastic waste enters the ocean every minute... Up to 12 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year and will take centuries to degrade. An area of plastic rubbish three times the size of the UK has been floating in the north Pacific for … Continue reading Greenpeace: Join the fight against plastic pollution

“The hand lens should be a weapon of mass education…every child under 10 should have one.” Dr George McGavin, 2017 Verrall Lecture

Green Brexit: Farm subsidies ‘must be earned’ – Michael Gove

Michael Gove, as environment secretary, has made Greenpeace UK's day by saying that farming subsidies must be earned and benefit the environment. Looking for a 'green Brexit,' Michael Gove may only be prepared to hand out payments when farmers agree to protect the environment and enhance rural life. "Huge news! Michael Gove has just said … Continue reading Green Brexit: Farm subsidies ‘must be earned’ – Michael Gove

BBC News: “Hundreds of butterflies released into the wild by schoolchildren”

Hundreds of Painted Lady butterflies have been released into the wild by schoolchildren in Cumbria who nurtured them from caterpillars in the classroom. Watch the video here.