Since I came off Twitter, I’ve often mentioned on here that basically nobody from the conservation/nature/writing world has bothered to stay in touch with me. One person I’ve stayed in contact with is Alex White – well – actually, with his Mum. Just before Christmas, I asked if they would be willing to donate a copy of his book to my school, as I’d heard it’s a great resource for young people who are interested (even tentatively so) in Wildlife. I received a copy on Christmas Eve but have struggled to properly look at it, but, in the last few days I’ve finally sunk my teeth into it and it’s brilliant.
Alex knows full well, that if I didn’t think that, I’d say; and so I wanted to write a little blog about it as I feel suitably inspired. What’s refreshing about Alex is that he isn’t pretentious in the slightest, in fact, he’s the complete opposite and I think that’s why get your boots on is so engaging. Like Bird Therapy, it starts locally and at home before casting a wider net – a bit like a journey – from getting your gear ready to getting outside and beyond. This is such an important lesson when it comes to wildlife; home is where the heart is and all that. I particularly like this quote:
The book is peppered throughout with simple and practical ways you can engage with nature and to be honest, although aimed at teenagers, I took away some food for thought myself. It’s also interspersed with relatable blog posts and observations. There’s none of this ‘look at me and my incredible use of poetic language’ stuff, which in itself can be such a barrier to other young people, it’s just so real, accessible and refreshing to read. It bounces along and I like that.
In the latter stages of the book, Alex explores making connections through an interest in wildlife (another parallel with Bird Therapy). Useful here are some tips about positive social media use, which as something I struggle with, I found particularly poignant. Whilst helpful to those who wish to expand into the field, it isn’t evangelical about social media or online image. The book closes with some thoughts about future career ideas in the sector and will be inspiring for young people wanting to embrace this kind of work.
What struck me throughout this part of the book though, was Alex’s insistence on not forcing our connection with nature and instead, embracing and noticing it all the time. This is such an important message for those who are without ready access to green spaces. We don’t have to just focus on these so-called magical wildlife experiences – the gulls in the supermarket car-park can be just as inspirational. Every moment can be magic. As a final note, this is one of my favourite quotes:
You can follow Alex’s blog here and he is on Twitter and Instagram as @Appletonwild