Zach Haynes, Wildlife blogger, writes about what he does.
Living around the Yorkshire Moors and Dales makes me a very lucky person. I think it’s one of the most beautiful places on Earth, which is why I spend so much time there! There are so many opportunities to learn about everything to do with nature and the environment; the reason I started up a blog back when I was 10. All I did was go out into the wild and see what I could find, and it didn’t take long. I would look for pretty much anything that caught my eye: birds, insects, plants, reptiles and so on, and I would find out as much information on them as I could, either from books, the web or directly from experts. I’ve learned so much in the two years that I’ve been doing my blog.
I’ve also got so much out of it in terms of a wider education. For example, I didn’t know anything about bird ringing when I started, but after I started going to my local nature reserve and talking about it, I met the owners of the reserve, who asked if I wanted to do ringing with them. From that point on I got so many amazing close-up experiences with birds, and met some really nice people. I am also involved in moth trapping at the reserve, and could easily recognise at least 30 species of moth now. Something I certainly couldn`t have done a couple of years ago!
I get to go to competitions and events such as Birdfair, which have many knowledgeable people there who have talks that have taught me so much about physics, chemistry, biology and so much more, like the effects that the decline of bees is having on nature, the effects of grouse shooting on the environment and so on. I am aware that the majority of children these days aren`t that interested in nature and the protection of the environment, which is worrying, both because school doesn’t have much about nature in lessons and because the future of the environment is in our hands….
Things like these have lead me to campaign for things such as keeping the EU wildlife laws when Britain leaves Europe and being more careful with how we use plastic, particularly considering its effect on marine life. I would never have been aware of these things if I hadn’t have got involved with nature, which is why I am so relieved that I did.
One of the reasons I started up my blog was to not only teach myself, but to share that knowledge with others and help people care about the environment more. And I think I’ve done a good job of it! I get people saying that they’ve learned something new on every post and it feels amazing to know that I’ve helped people open their minds more to the importance of conservation. There are always news articles and scientific experiments that say technology is bad for you, this may be true, unless you use technology for good, like I do, and balance it with going out into the wild and have a great time outdoors. It really is the best of all worlds!
For more information, please click here.
This article was first published in NAEE’s Autumn 2016 journal, Environmental Education (Vol. 113). To read more articles like this, you can join the Association and receive three journals a year.