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On meeting Nigel Brown

I first met Nigel Brown on a Nature Writing residential week at Ty Newydd. He and poet Katrina Porteous were our tutors – and it was the most extraordinary week of my life.

Nigel-BrownNigel is the most wonderful walking-encyclopedia and gentle enthusiastic communicator. He can seemingly answer any question you throw at him, when you are walking through the countryside, day or night.

Every moment of each day at Ty Newydd was filled with unforgettable moments: Every morning, straight after breakfast we would help him open his moth trap. He gave us an hour’s talk, one day, that started with DNA and microbes and seamlessly stretched into the expanding Universe. His descriptions touch my heart – I wrote a poem about peregrine falcons by writing down the exact words he used when I asked him to describe the experience.

I am hoping you will enjoy his podcast and writing as much as I have enjoyed listening to him – at both Ty Newydd and Treborth. And that you might write poetry – with a scientific slant – on frogs !

Nigel Brown has been setting a moth trap every day for forty years at Treborth Botanical Garden – and keeping careful notes of the species, numbers, temperature, weather conditions.Treborth Botanical Garden itself is a hidden gem: It is a haven for the study of wild and cultivated species of plants and animals, with a diversity of habitats and soil types, supporting many native plants and animals, and part of the woodland is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is located by the Menai Strait on the edge of Snowdonia, and is a vital institute in scientific research. It is part of Bangor University, but is open and free to everyone 

Treborth Botanical Garden has the largest RHIZOTRON in the UK, and that is actually where we recorded these podcasts. You don’t know what a rhizotron is? Neither did I !! Listen to the podcast and find out…

Oh – and I have just asked Nigel – why there is only one native frog in the U.K., and here is his answer:

During the Ice Age it was too cold for amphibians in the UK and they only started to return c. 9000 yrs ago as the climate warmed, gradually migrating northwards from Continental Europe.However by 7500 yrs ago rising sea level created the English Channel and North Sea ruling out any further immigration of amphibs from the European mainland. So I think basically there wasn’t enough time for many species to make it back to the UK between the Ice Age and the formation of sea barriers.Amphibs don’t colonise new territory very quickly.

wild logo final copyMonies from each Poetry on Frogs ebook – available from from February 2016, will be donated to Froglife.



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