I’m asking some important questions about the future of my podcast.
The Amazon rainforest is the largest and most biodiverse tropical rainforest in the world. It represents over half of the remaining rainforests. It is home to countless species of insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Not to mention the fish. Unfortunately, as we all can read and hear in the news, it is subject to unrelenting exploitation and destruction.
I decided that my podcast would never be complete without talking about the Amazon. So, it was my great pleasure to sit down with Dr Alex Lees who is a Senior Lecturer in Conservation Biology in the Department of Natural Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University. Alex spent a long time in the Amazon while working on various scientific projects. He has a deep understanding of the Amazon ecology as well as the land use issues which underlie the progressive destruction of this unique ecological system.
In recent episodes, I have presented a whole host of views and opinions regarding rewilding, land management, and the need to change the way we coexist with nature. In this episode, we continue on that path, but with a guest, Dr Cathy Mayne, who has a particularly interesting perspective. That perspective might not be entirely aligned with the usual rewilding approach, but it is very well thought out, balanced and realistic.
Cathy is an ecologist with vast experience in environmental management. She has a deep knowledge of the challenges and opportunities in land management. She also has a strong background in deer management and is a hunter herself. Currently, she is the Principal Ecologist at the Mountain Environment Services consultancy.
This episode is an absolute must for anyone interested in nature conservation, rewilding, and sustainable living. Cathy, without a doubt, is one of a kind and I am sure that our conversation will be as fascinating and informative for you as it was for me.
In this episode, once again, we are going to talk about ecological restoration and bringing back species that were extirpated from their native range. Our guest is Chris Jones who is the Restoration Director at Beaver Trust.
During our conversation, we discuss the history of Beaver Trust, how it was found and why. Then we discuss beaver ecology and the role of beavers in the ecosystem. Chris gives us some real-life examples of benefits that beavers bring, not only to the environment but also to humans.
We finish our conversation by discussing the future of beaver reintroductions and broader, the future of ecological restoration. This episode is a must-listen if you are interested in ecology and habitat restoration.
This time our guest is a wildlife biologist from across the pond. Matt Gould works for the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology at New Mexico State University. Matt is also an avid hunter. This combination makes him a perfect guest for my podcast.
Matt has done a lot of research and has written several papers on American black bears and that was the topic I was most interested in. However, we started our conversation by discussing birds of prey, their conservation status, and the impact the wind farm industry has on their mortality.
We had a great conversation, and by listening to it, you can learn a lot. Not only about black bears and eagles, but also about the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Enjoy!
In this instalment of the podcast, our guest is a young scientist, Adam Francis Smith, who lives in the Bavarian Forest National Park. Adam specializes in large terrestrial mammal monitoring and predator-prey interactions. He also works for the Frankfurt Zoological Society where he focuses on specific project areas in Ukraine and Belarus and where, with a team of ecologists, he tries to protect large wilderness areas.
During our conversation, Adam took us on a fascinating journey to, among other places, the Chernobyl Radiation and Ecological Biosphere Reserve where he and his team set camera traps to monitor predator and prey species. Of course, there was no way to avoid mentioning rewilding, a topic that is prominently featured in recent podcasts.
Peter Cairns is the executive director of the environmental charity Scotland: The Big Picture, the first organisation in Scotland wholly dedicated to championing rewilding. We started our conversation by discussing the controversy surrounding the term rewilding. Since rewilding (for want of a better, less controversial, term) is of great interest to me, the discussion started to flow from there.
After that, we discussed a wide range of related socio-economic and environmental issues. Finally, we ended up examining individual species that had been extirpated. Some of them, like beavers, have since been reintroduced. Others, like lynx, could be reintroduced in the future. And wolves… yes we talked about wolves too. But don’t worry, this conversation wasn’t about some fantasies. I feel like we had a very reasonable and balanced discussion. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.
Almost 10 months ago I posted my long-term review of the Garmin Instinct outdoors watch. It is by far the most popular video on my channel. To this day I’m still getting a lot of questions about issues that were not covered in the original video. So in this one, I’m going to answer your most popular and interesting questions.
I have wanted to record an episode about the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) and their work for quite a while now. Their excellent website, with a database where you can report sightings and strandings, was even mentioned in one of my vlogs. So today, it is my pleasure to bring you my conversation with IWDG’s Sightings Officer Pádraig Whooley.
We started with discussing at length IWDG origins and their current work. After that, we dug deep into a whole host of interesting topics related to cetaceans, starting with a discussion about cetacean species that can be observed and encountered in our local waters. That conversation included some interesting facts about how to behave in the presence of a whale and about the rules and regulations around it. We discussed whale watching techniques and the required equipment. We also talked about the unpleasant issue of whale strandings. And of course, I did not forget to discuss cetacean evolution, a personal favourite of mine.
This is an amazing episode and if you have any level of interest in whales or dolphins you will, without a doubt, find it deeply interesting.
Dear readers, listeners, viewers, followers and subscribers! This is the 4th annual housekeeping blog. I summarize the past year and outline my plans for Tommy’s Outdoors for the coming year 2021.
Last year, like those before, was mainly dedicated to the podcast. I published 26 episodes and this year the podcast will remain the core of Tommy’s Outdoors content. One significant change, made late last year, was to switch the category under which the podcast is listed from ‘sports’ to ‘education’. I believe we all feel that this change more accurately reflects the content.
Like many of us, in 2020 I moved almost all my activity on-line. Only 6 out of 26 episodes were recorded face to face, two of those were from the previous year. The explosion of the popularity of Zoom and other online communication platforms made scheduling remote podcasts much easier. As a nice side effect, now all the episodes of my podcast are also available in video on my YouTube channel.
Speaking about my YouTube channel… I hope you have all subscribed by now, but if not, please do it here. The simple act of subscribing helps me a lot. I will continue to experiment with various video genres: podcasts, vlogs, reviews and more. Please don’t forget to let me know in the comments which type of videos you like the most.
Overall, in 2020 Tommy’s Outdoors grew across all platforms 77% compared to the previous year. That’s a significant improvement from the previous annual growth figure of 45%. I am delighted to see that the growth of Tommy’s Outdoors is accelerating and I would like to thank you all for making it happen. After all, it’s you and your interest in my content that is driving this growth!
I wish you all the very best for the year 2021.