Episode 123: MPA Management Plans with Amie Williams, David Stevenson and PJ Maguire

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts

A Marine Protected Area (MPA) designation is one of the most potent tools for protecting a wide range of marine habitats. A layman interested in marine conservation might think that an MPA would be completely excluded from any activities, either commercial or recreational. The reality is much more complex and, depending on what any given MPA is set to protect, a variety of activities can take place inside its boundaries. That’s why developing MPA management plans based on scientific evidence, as well as feedback from local communities, is critically important.

To discuss this important part of the MarPAMM project our guests today are Amie Williams, Project Officer at Argyll MPA Planning & Data at Scottish Natural Heritage, Dr David Stevenson, MPA Management Policy Officer for Northern Ireland and PJ Maguire, MPA Management Policy Officer for Ireland.
If you’re interested in this topic I would encourage you to check out other episodes of my podcast where we discuss various work packages of the MarPAMM project which is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme.

Episode 122: Eco Defense Group with Nathan Edmondson

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts

Once again I had the pleasure to talk with Nathan Edmondson, co-founder and President of Eco Defense Group, an organization that supports frontline wildlife rangers who face danger from direct conflict with poachers. In the episode, we get an update from Nathan about the latest situation in Africa and the state of affairs in wildlife conservation and poaching prevention.

Eco Defense Group doesn’t engage poachers directly but rather acts as a support, training and consultancy organization for anti-poaching operations. Its focus is on developing solutions to the problems identified while working in close cooperation with local communities.

For funding and logistical help they rely on the support of their partners as well as donations. It is important to note that, unlike some environmental organizations, Eco Defense Group, to use Nathan’s words, “is fundraising for solutions, not for problems”.
If you’re interested in the ongoing battle against poachers and wildlife traffickers I’m sure you will enjoy our conversation. And if you want to donate to the cause you can do it by clicking here.

Episode 121: Cries of the Savanna with Sue Tidwell

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts

In this episode, once again, we’re going to take on the subject of hunting in Africa. Our guest is Sue Tidwell, the author of a wonderful book titled “Cries of the Savanna” that I reviewed in last week’s blog post. And since I really liked the book I was itching for the opportunity to talk with Sue.

We chat about a number of things. Why Sue decided to write and publish her first book. (Yes, as impressive as it is, it was Sue’s first publication even though she had always been, in her own words, a hobby writer.) We also discuss how she researched and marketed the book. Something that, as you can imagine, was a completely new experience for a hobby writer.

However, the bulk of our conversation focuses on stories from the book and the experience of a remote encampment deep in the Tanzanian bush. Sue shares how these events changed her perception of many important issues such as poaching and land management.

Do yourself a favour and buy “Cries of the Savanna” using the link below. And remember, buying books (or any other items) through the links provided here is the best way to support my work on Tommy’s Outdoors podcast.


Waking to her husband’s alarmed whisper, “Honey, get ready to run” was never in Sue Tidwell’s vision of Africa. Nor was skulking through snake-infested terrain or lying terror-stricken as the cries of lions and hyenas cut through the walls of her tent. Tidwell, a non-hunter deeply troubled by the concept of hunting Africa’s iconic wildlife, finds herself a reluctant sidekick on an epic 21-day big game hunting safari deep in the wilds of Tanzania

Tommy’s Outdoors is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk

Episode 120: Seabed Habitat Mapping with Alex Callaway, Chris McGonigle, Andy Wheeler and Ger Summers

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts

Once again I have the pleasure to host scientists from the MarPAMM project. This time we discuss the Seabed Habitat Mapping and Modelling work package. Our guests are Dr Alex Callaway from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (who was our guest on episode 104), Dr Chris McGonigle from the School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Professor Andy Wheeler, Chair of Geology, from the School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences at University College Cork and Ger Summers also from the from University College Cork who is a PhD researcher in the MarPAMM project.

In our conversation, we discuss the importance of seabed mapping with a particular focus on so-called “species of interest”. We explore novel technologies and techniques that are being applied, such as autonomous underwater robots used for gathering data and the artificial intelligence models used for analysing it. We finish with my guests expressing their general views about the future of the oceans and our planet.

To learn more about the MarPAMM project visit their website or follow their Twitter feed.

MarPAMM is an INTERREG VA funded project.

Episode 119: Land and Deer Management in Scotland with Megan Rowland

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts

For many of you, Megan Rowland needs no introduction. She is a Deer Management Officer for NatureScot, Scotland’s nature agency. Before that, she worked as a surveyor for RSPB Scotland where she surveyed the entire suite of Highland bird species. She has also been a volunteer for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, a local Raptor Study Group, the Scottish Mink Initiative, and the British Red Cross. Megan is a founding member of the Scottish Crofting Federations’ Young Crofters. Moreover, she’s The Youth Ambassador for the Highland branch of the British Deer Society and a Lantra Scotland Game & Wildlife Industry Champion.

That is a really impressive resume and I am excited to bring you my conversation with Megan. We started our chat with a general discussion about the red deer situation in Scotland and related land use and land management issues. From there I asked a few questions related to deer stalking in the Highlands. So, those of you who dream about a Highland stag might pick up some useful tips. Finally, we ended up talking about rewilding since no podcast about land management in Scotland would be complete without this topic.

You can find more from Megan by visiting her website Wayfaring and Wandering or by following her on one of the social media platforms: Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Episode 118: The Tick Terminator with Brian Anderson

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts

Tick bite season is about to start both in Europe and in the US. Since we haven’t spoken about this important subject for quite a while (we discussed ticks and Lyme disease back in 2019 in episode 55), I thought it was high time to talk about ticks and tick bite prevention once again.

Our guest, Brian Anderson, is a Lyme disease prevention specialist, top speaker and educator who is known as The Tick Terminator. We had a fun and educational conversation about ticks, tick bite prevention, and Lyme disease. And yes, it turns out you can have a fun conversation about those subjects! During our chat, we share our first-hand experiences with ticks and proven methods to protect yourself from tick bites. I also ask Brian all the important “what-ifs” and “how-tos” that any outdoor worker or enthusiast, or hunter and camper wants answered.

After listening to this episode you should check Brian’s website where you can find a huge library of articles, videos, tick prevention guides, product recommendations and more.

Episode 117: Commercial Fishing in Alaska with Sena and Rich Wheeler

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts

This week we continue with our Alaskan theme by taking a closer look at commercial fishing practices, fisheries management and the life of fishermen in Alaska. So, today I talk with Sena and Rich Wheeler, a third-generation fishing family. Sena and Rich run a family business, Sena Sea, whose goal is to consistently deliver premium quality seafood. They also operate a fisherman-owned custom processing facility to ensure that they have complete control of the entire process, from the sea to the client’s doors. The Wheelers see fishermen as custodians of the pristine waters of Alaska and they make sure that their seafood is produced in the most sustainable and ethical way possible.

In the first part of this podcast, we discussed in detail fisheries management practices in Alaska. We also delved into the subject of human-wildlife conflict, a very interesting segment, not only because of the differences but also because of the similarities to the situation in our neck of the woods. In the second part, we discussed fish handling techniques and how to ensure that the fish you catch (I’m looking at you recreational anglers) is of the best quality and taste possible. It’s a fascinating episode that will give you a look at how some familiar issues are dealt with in another part of the world.

Episode 115: Coexisting with Large Carnivores with John Linnell

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts

Large terrestrial carnivores, like wolves, bears and lynx, are the poster children for conservation and rewilding efforts. Also, they are usually right in the epicentre of the human-wildlife conflict which always sparks emotions. That makes it easy to use them to politicize conservation.

In many previous podcasts, our discussions about rewilding inevitably led us to talk about the issues surrounding large carnivores. But this episode is solely dedicated to our coexistence with these predators. And that’s because today’s guest is Dr John Linnell, who conducts interdisciplinary research on the interactions between humans and wildlife to mitigate conflict.

John works as a senior scientist at the Department of Terrestrial Ecology at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research and as a professor at the Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management at the Inland Norway University of Applied Science.

Episode 114: The Implausible Rewilding with Steve Cracknell

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts

It’s no exaggeration to say that this was the most anticipated book of the year for me. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since, as regular listeners know, I’m keenly interested in rewilding and the conflict surrounding it. Therefore, it was my pleasure to chat with the author, Steve Cracknell, about the book, how it came to be and some particular situations portrayed in it.

In his book “The Implausible Rewilding of the Pyrenees” Steve takes the reader into the middle of the conflict surrounding the reintroduction of bears in the French Pyrenees. He travels across the Ariège in southwestern France and beyond to interview people on both sides of the conflict. The shepherds, who are suffering livestock losses, argue that bears are a threat to their way of life. The environmentalists point to the need to protect the environment.

That immensely interesting and complex story is painted against the backdrop of the beautiful mountain landscapes and culture-rich scenery of rural France. It turned out to be not only the most anticipated book but also the best I’ve read on the subject. And I haven’t even mentioned how beautiful it is, with stunning photos and high-quality paper.


The return of large predators might help to reinvigorate nature. But are wild animals like wolves and bears compatible with livestock farming? Will their arrival destroy mountain communities? Unable to decide on the issues, Steve Cracknell climbs up to the isolated summer pastures of the Pyrenees to talk with those most concerned: the shepherds. He also meets hunters and ecologists – and goes looking for bears…

Tommy’s Outdoors is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk

Episode 113: Coastal Processes with Melanie ​​Biausque and Edoardo Grottoli

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts

If you are a sea angler or just like to walk your dog on the beach, you might have noticed how the coastline changes from year to year. Some of us who have frequented the same spots for years might even have noticed changes that have occurred over a greater time span. Sometimes up to decades.

Whether it is a channel in the sand that deepens each year after the winter storms or a soft sandy beach that becomes increasingly stony, these changes are driven by coastal processes. Understanding these might be important for angling and recreation. But it’s even more important for understanding the economic impact on, or even the very survival of, coastal communities.

To discuss this interesting and important topic I have welcomed two scientists from project MarPAMM which we introduced in episode 104. We had a fun and thought-provoking conversation from which you will learn about their work and the importance of coastal processes.