Nature expert and TV presenter Mike Dilger will be joining forces with an award-winning Somerset schoolgirl to give an entertaining evening talk near Bristol in February.
Mike – well known as the nature expert on BBC1’s The One Show – has appeared on the programme three times a week for the past 12 years – making a staggering 300 episodes. He has also appeared on many other wildlife programmes including Springwatch, Nature’s Top 40 and Wild Gardens.
His first talk in the Chew Valley, entitled ‘The Trials and Tribulations of a Wildlife Presenter’, will take place on Saturday 9th February 2019, alongside inspirational local schoolgirl Mya-Rose Craig, who blogs under the name of Birdgirl.
“Anyone who has seen Mike on TV will know that he is naturally funny and very entertaining,” says Mya-Rose. “There is no need to be interested in wildlife to enjoy his talks, as they are as much about his travels to South America and life in TV as about wildlife.” He will talk about some of his favourite filming experiences, alongside some hilarious stories from working in Britain and around the globe.
Mike will start the evening with a talk specifically aimed at school pupils and university students who are interested in subjects such as drama, media and film studies. He will talk about his journey into working in TV and give tips on getting into such a competitive sector. He will also be available to answer questions and give one-to-one advice.
Multi award-winning Chew Valley School pupil and nature advocate Mya-Rose has had her work published and has appeared on both TV and radio. She will be supporting Mike with a captivating talk, Born to Bird, giving an amusing insight into her travels and nature stories.
Aged 16, Mya-Rose hopes to be the youngest in the world to see 5,000 birds – almost half the world’s birds – and in 2019 will have travelled to almost 40 countries, across every continent. Her talk will include a rapid run through of her many near-death experiences, all before the age 10.
Mya-Rose’s most recent award was the 2018 UK Gilbert White Youth Award for Biological Recording, which will be presented on 9 February by Dr Jo Judge, CEO of the National Biodiversity Network. The Award is for bird ringing, nest recording surveys and bio-blitzes which she does at Chew Valley Lake and in her garden in Compton Martin.
Mya-Rose obtained her ringing licence when she turned 16 – the youngest age possible. “When I was nine, I heard about the Chew Valley Ringing Station – I started going and was lucky to have a fantastic trainer, Mike Bailey,” she says. “Although you need to be committed, I really recommend it to other young people.”
The evening event will raise funds for Black2Nature, which Mya-Rose set up when she was just 13 to increase the engagement of Visible Minority Ethnic (VME) people and those from the inner city with nature and the environment.
The organisation holds nature camps for children and teenagers from inner city areas of deprivation, as well as conferences and other events to promote the issue. “These children have often never seen a cow or sheep or even stroked a dog,” explains Mya-Rose. “We have never had a child or teenager attend one of our camps who did not engage with nature in some way.
“I believe it is important for community cohesion and managing mental health issues for young people of all backgrounds to experience going out into green spaces together. Please come along and support our event for these amazing young people.”
The event will be held from 7pm to 11pm in Compton Martin Village Hall, BS40 6JN. Tickets are £9.99 for adults and £6.00 for under 18s, and can be bought from Compton Martin and Chew Magna post offices or on Eventbrite (https://bit.ly/2zsdqx8). There will be a bar and cheese ploughmans available to purchase, as will Mike’s recent book My Garden and Other Animals.