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Nature Magic

Author: Mary Bermingham

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A positive voice for nature, from Ireland.
31 Episodes
Today Mary is talking to Janie Chodosh, author of 'The Elephant Doctor of India'. She is an undergraduate at the University of Michigan and majored in biology, ecology, natural resources management, creative writing, and poetry. After college, she moved to Yosemite National Park where she worked as a naturalist and educator and learned to rock climb and backcountry ski.For her thesis as a graduate student in the University of Montana's environmental studies she traveled to a rural community on the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico to develop an environmental education program focusing on neotropical migratory songbirds (a fancy title for birds that breed in the north and winter south of the border). She moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico to work as the education director for the state Audubon Society and later as a teacher.When not writing she loves to hang out with her family, rock climb, try to grow a garden in the arid southwest, bird watch, muck around in cool places, travel, and attempt to play Klezmer music on her violin!Contact Janie through her website with links to all her books friendly teahttps://www.elephantorigins.comRecommended books: The Soul of an Octopus By Sy MontgomeryH is for Hawk Vesper FlightsBy Helen McDonaldBeyond WordsBy Carl SafinaEarth's Wild MusicBy Kathleen Dean MooreContact Mary at mary@burrennaturesanctuary.ieThe elephant whisperer whose name I couldn't remember in the podcast was Lawrence Anthony.'No one knows how, but the elephants travelled from one corner of the vast game reserve to the other, and came to Anthony’s home, and stood right outside of it, in the same way as they mourn the passing of one of their family members. They stood there for nearly two days, after which they dispersed again.'
Today Mary is talking to Dr. Claire Warden. Claire is an advocate for outdoor learning. Among many achievemnts she is Founder of Living Classrooms, the International Association of Nature Pedagogy and the Mindstretchers Academy.Claire is also director of the wonderful Auchlone Nature Kindergarten in Scotland where children spend 80% of their day outside.She received the international award 'Exceptional Master Leader' for her work on the Floorbooks Approach and she has written many other educational books including ‘Nature Kindergartens and Forest schools’ Get in touch with Claire at https://www.Claire-warden.comCheck out Auchlone Nature Kindergarten at in touch with Mary at Recommended booksThe Little Grey MenBy: B.B.
Today Mary is speaking to Warwick Schiller. Warwick is a You tube superstar with over 20 million views of his horse training videos. Warwick moved from his home country of Australia in his 20s to the United States. He became NRHA Reserve World Champion representing Australia at the 2010 & 2018 World Equestrian Games. Warwick's ever-evolving training philosophy places the horse's mental well-being at the forefront of every interaction. He now spends his time helping people create deep and meaningful relationships with their horses, by helping them to change their perceptions about their horses and themselves. Warwick has over 600 training videos on his online video platform, designed to create a relaxed, connected and skilled equine partner.His podcast Journey On digs deep into the soul of the horse and the human.Warwick Schiller is changing the way we train the horse and the way we think about ourselves.
Today Mary is talking to Professor David Sobel as a contributor to the nature educators series within Nature Magic. David is a Professor in the Education Department at Antioch University New England. He consults and speaks widely on child development and place-based education with schools, environmental organisations and the National Park Service in the US. He has authored eight books and more than 70 articles focused on children and nature for educators, parents, environmentalists and school administrators in the last 30 years. His published books include Beyond Ecophobia and Place-based Education:: Design Principles for Educators and Wild Play, Parenting Adventures in the Great Outdoors,. His most recent book is Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens published by Redleaf Press. He was recognized as one of the Daring Dozen educational leaders in the United States in 2007. This interview investigates David’s deep connection with nature and how he believes we can foster the innate spiritual connection that children have with the natural world and how this benefits humanity and our planet. Recommended books The Last Beautiful Days of AutumnBy: John Nichols The Ecology of Imagination in ChildhoodBy: Edith CobbThe Magical ChildBy: Joseph Chilton PearceAn Indian Boyhood By: Charles A. EastmanThe Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game By: Paul ShepherdFind books by David Sobel here: David: mailto:dsobel@antioch.eduContact
Professor Temple Grandin is professor of Animal Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University. She is a prominent proponent for the humane treatment of livestock for slaughter and author of more than 60 scientific papers on animal behavior. She is a consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior, and an autism spokesperson. She is one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to document the insights she gained from her personal experience of autism. In the 2010 Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, she was named among those in the "Heroes" She was the subject of the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning semi-biographical film Temple Grandin. Professor Grandin has been an outspoken proponent of the autism rights and neurodiversity https://www.templegrandin.comSome of the recommended books by Professor Grandin:Improving animal welfare- a practical approach- 3rd edition Animals in TranslationThe Autistic BrainAnimals make us humanCheck out Burren Nature Sanctuary at www.burrennaturesanctuary.ieContact Mary at
Today Mary is talking to Professor Jan White. Jan is a leading thinker and writer on outdoor play and advocate for nature-rich outdoor provision for services for children from birth to seven. She works as an early childhood consultant across the UK, Ireland and internationallyJan has over thirty-eight years’ experience in education and has developed a deep commitment to the consistently powerful effect of the outdoors on young children. With a childhood love of rocks and soil, leading to a degree in Soil Science, a masters in Ecology and post-graduate teaching certificate in Science and Outdoor Education, she realises that she has always been, at heart, a committed mudologist! Jan co-authored the globally influential booklet Making a Mud Kitchen (available in 12 languages) and is author of Playing and Learning Outdoors, now in its 3rd edition. She is honorary Professor of Practice with the University of Wales Trinity St David, and founder/co-director of Early Childhood Outdoors, the national organisation for play, learning and wellbeing outdoors. Making a Mud Kitchen can be downloaded as a free PDF from Muddy Faces’ Outdoor Hub at Sign up for the weekly ECO blog at Recommended books:My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell Tarqa the Otter by Henry WilliamsonSharing Nature with Children by Joseph Bharat CornellGrandfather Twilight by Barbra BergerFrederick by Leo LionniFrog and Toad by Arnold LobelEars and the Secret Song by Meryl DolleyBiophilia by E.O. WilsonThe Goodness of Rain by Ann PeloBraiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall KimmererQuotation by Kahlil Gibran:“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”Contact Jan atwww.earlychildhoodoutdoors.orgContact Mary atmary@burrennaturesanctuary.ieCheck out the Burren Nature Sanctuary, the home of Nature Magic atwww.burrennaturesanctuary.ieBuy the book Nature Magic- How you can engage everyone with biodiversity at
Today Mary is talking to New York Times bestselling author Sy Montgomery. Sy is a multi-award winning nature writer and author of 28 books including ‘The Soul of an Octopus- A surprising exploration into the wonder of consciousness.' It is a deeply touching and enlightening personal storySy writes for adults and children, for print and broadcast, in America and overseas in an effort to reach as wide an audience as possible at what she considers a critical turning point in human history. “We are on the cusp of either destroying this sweet, green Earth—or revolutionizing the way we understand the rest of animate creation,” she says. “It’s an important time to be writing about the connections we share with our fellow creatures. It’s a great time to be alive.” She speaks frequently at schools and museums, libraries and universities.Sy’s 28 books for both adults and children have garnered many honors. The Soul of an Octopus was a 2015 Finalist for the National Book Awards. The Good Good Pig, her memoir of life with her pig, Christopher Hogwood, is an international bestseller. She is the winner of the 2009 New England Independent Booksellers Association Nonfiction Award, the 2010 Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award, the Henry Bergh Award for Nonfiction (given by the ASPCA for Humane Education) and dozens of other honors. Her work with the man-eating tigers, the subject of her book Spell Of The Tiger, was made into in a National Geographic television documentary she scripted and narrated. Also for National Geographic TV she developed and scripted Mother Bear Man, about her friend, Ben Kilham, who raises and releases orphaned bear cubs, which won a Chris award.Contact Sy and buy her books at: the bookNature Magic- How you can engage everyone with biodiversityBy Mary Bermingham at: with Mary at:mary@burrennaturesanctuary.ieCheck out the Burren Nature Sanctuary
Today Mary is talking to Dr Paddy Madden."How far we adults have retreated from childhood" Paddy worked as a primary school teacher for three decades before becoming a lecturer in SESE education. He presently works as a Heritage in School Specialist and delivers CPD courses. He constructed the first school wildlife garden in Ireland in 1984 on which his thrice printed book Go Wild at School is based.In 2010 he co-founded SEED, an organisation which seeks to promote school gardening on the island of Ireland. To date, SEED has organised 6 school garden conferences and has planned and constructed 7 school gardens at Bloom.In 2019 Des Murtagh and Paddy launched a new website www.engagewithnature.ieHe owes his interest in nature to his parents and a primary school teacher in Lakyle N.S, Whitegate, Co. Clare.LinksListen to Paddy on the Inside Education podcast's website www.engagewithnature.ieVideos on gardening and information on nature in general and Paddy's weekly blog.An Exploration of the state and status of nature awareness, appreciation and education in the Irish primary school system by Paddy Madden. Available at ( the World through Nature Journaling by John Muir Laws, Emily Breunig, Emilie Lygren, Celeste Lopez. Available to download free at books:Go Wild at School By Paddy Madden. Available from Looking at Nature By: Elsie ProctorWildflowers of OffalyBy: John FeehanGardeners WorldBy: Geoff HamiltonLast Child in the WoodsBy: Richard LouvHow to Teach Nature Journaling: Curiosity, Wonder, AttentionBy: John Muir Laws.PoemsBy: WordsworthThe Living Countryside Magazine (out of print)Connect to Mary Bermingham at mary@burrennaturesanctuary.ieCheck out Burren Nature Sanctuary Also on Facebook, Instagram and TwitterFollow Nature Magic Podcast on Instagram
Welcome to 2021 and a Happy New Year to our listeners!Today is the start of a series of Nature Magic podcasts talking to inspirational people who are dedicated to nature education. Today Mary is speaking to Michelle Lawton. Michelle founded Stretch the Imagination in 2002. Stretch is a program where children are free to explore and delve deeply into their experiences. Michelle has a passion for connecting children to the natural world and she started the Natural Classroom in 2010 bringing children out of the classroom and into nature during their weekly school days.Over the past 10 years, the Natural Classroom has developed into a respected preschool program grounded in nurturing children’s development through creativity, inquiry and connecting to the natural world.Michelle is also invested in supporting professional development and encouraging the growth of educators who come to work at Stretch.She continued her own education in 2014 by studying with Jon Young and the educators of the 8 Shields Institute and she recently finished studying with Dan Siegel at the Mindsight Institute in Los Angeles.We were so lucky to speak to Michelle who has such a deep understanding of the hands on approach to engaging children with nature and also the logistics of setting up programs such as the Natural Classroom. Thank you for listening to Nature Magic. Please subscribe to the podcast to help with our reach and give us a rating. Each month in 2021 we are running a draw and the prize this month is a selection of beautiful Irish gifts from the Burren Nature Sanctuary gift shop including a stunning original Burren Flower Fairies print by local artist Susan Meaney. To be in the draw simply review the podcast and send a screenshot to Recommended Books:Our Wild Calling By Richard LouvBraiding SweetgrassBy Robin Wall KimmererConnect with Michelle Lawton at:michelle@stretchtheimagination.comCheck out the website
Today Mary is talking to Brigid Barry. Brigid coordinates Farming for Nature since its inception in 2018. This was set up to encourage and inspire farmers that farm or wish to farm more for nature. Prior to this initiative, she was the manager of the landscape charity Burrenbeo Trust for 9 years, biodiversity officer for Clare County Council and a project officer on numerous conservation projects abroad for the previous 10 years in the Amazon, West Africa and the Zoology Dept in Cambridge. Brigid lives in Kinsale, Co.Cork. She can be contacted on info@farmingfornature.ieRecommended book Wilding By Isabella Tree Check out farming for nature at www.farmingfornature.ieCheck out Burren Nature Sanctuary atwww.burrennaturesanctuary.ieContact Mary at
Today I am speaking to Melanie Croce, Melanie is the executive Director of Seal Rescue Ireland. Seal Rescue Ireland (SRI) is a charity organisation that works around the clock to rescue, rehabilitate and release native seals found sick, injured or orphaned from across the coast of Ireland. Melanie studied environmental science at Virginia tech university and went on to do environmental consulting work on the BP Oil Spill Response on the Gulf Coast, before becoming an Animal Care and Education Intern for SRI back when it was known as ‘Dingle Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary’ in 2013. From there, she went on to gain further wildlife nonprofit experience as Research Associate for the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, followed by a long term post doing sea turtle and endangered primate conservation and ecotourism work on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea. With this new diversity of international skills, she was invited back to Ireland as SRI’s Operations Manager in April 2017, later to become Executive Director, a role she has held since. Her passion for wildlife and environmental conservation and tireless commitment to SRI has been fundamental to the organisation’s growth.Recommended bookGorillas in the MistBy: Dian FosseyCheck out Seal Rescue Ireland out Burren Nature
Today Mary is chatting to Edward Dee. This was the hardest interview to set up as Eddie was not keen to get in front of the microphone!Eddie is the phenomenal plantsman at Burren Nature Sanctuary. A truly passionate nature lover he has been planting a forest garden at his home for the last 33 years and in 2012 became the gardener at Burren Nature Sanctuary. Eddie has single handedly developed the collection of Burren Flora in the Burren Botany Bubble, which is now an important resource for the new National Native Seed Bank in the National Botanic Gardens, in Glasnevin. With initial forecasts of success thin on the ground he has propagated and managed to display even the most fragile of our Burren Orchids. The collection is important for conservation and education and in 2019 over 30,000 people visited the Burren Botany Bubble to learn about and experience, in a 'Leave No Trace' fashion, the flora of the Burren- the most biodiverse place in Ireland.Recommended bookThe Great British Year By: Stephen MossRecommended video:Reversing desertificationBy: John D LiuCheck out Burren Nature Sanctuary atwww.burrennaturesanctuary.ieEmail screenshot of your review to enter the competition to
Today Mary is chatting to the inspirational Susan Kerwin. Susan is a wildlife Rehabilitater based in County Limerick with a special focus on bats. She found her love for bats when suffering from insomnia after her cancer treatment. She is founder of Bat Rehabilitation Ireland and has just opened a fully dedicated bat hospital. Happy Halloween!Connect with Susan on facebook at: book Wild IrelandBy: Eamonn de BuitlearCheck out Burren Nature Sanctuary at www.burrennaturesanctuary.ieCheck out Ireland's eden at Connect with Mary
Today Mary is chatting to the super talented, Kinvara local, Irene Graham. Irene is a writer, story editor and photographer. From 1998 to 2008 she was a full-time photographer signed to Getty Images in NY, with an image speciality in portraits, nature and architecture. In 1991 she founded The Creative Writer’s Workshop, which has become an international success in fiction and memoir writing. Irene’s writing workshops and courses provide innovative writing techniques based on right-brain/left-brain learning exercises that evoke recall and enhance creativity. She is Author of The Memoir Writing Workbook and I Am A Hare! Hanna and the Hop Family.Irene lives in the West of Ireland, writing, taking photographs and tending her rock filled Burren garden!Recommended book My Heart Soars By:Chief Dan GeorgeConnect with Irene GrahamWebsite:I Am A Hare! Creative Writer’s Workshop Memoir Writing Club website with Marymary@burrennaturesanctuary.ieCheck out the Burren Nature Sanctuary at www.burrennaturesanctuary.comInstagram, Facebook and Twitter
Mary talks to Jenny Lloyd-Strovas about getting children off their devices and outside learning about nature. Dr. Jenny is a biologist, researcher and educator. Her passion is connecting people with nature so they become stewards of our natural resources. She does this by helping parents get their kids off screens, outdoors, and learning about nature in their own backyards while building STEM skills and confidence. Her program, Nature Matters Academy, embodies the moto “You love what you know. You care for what you love.” Through Nature Matters Academy she provides STEM-based nature curricula and online programming to give parents the tools and resources they need to confidently get their kids outside and learning about the world around them.App recommendation: iNaturalist Book recommendations:Any books By: Richard Louv Desert Solitaire By:Edward Abbey Contact Dr Jenny at https://www.naturemattersacademy.comFacebook at'Getting kids outside and learning about nature.'Contact Mary atmary@burrennaturesanctuary.ieCheck out Burren Nature
Today Mary is chatting to Raquel Noboa from Fifty Shades Greener. Raquel has worked in the Hospitality industry for the past 23 years, working in hotels around the world since the age of 17. She knows the industry well, the challenges it faces and the mind-set barriers to greening a Hospitality business.Raquel started her own green journey at Hotel Doolin, in Ireland. She was working there as the Sales & Marketing Manager in 2012 when the Hotel decided to start a Green Hospitality programme and Raquel was chosen as the new Hotel Green Manager. Within 2 years of implementing Raquel’s green actions, they reduced their energy by 30%, waste by 40% and water by 25%. They also won every green award in Ireland and she positioned the Hotel as a leader in the Sustainable travel market.Raquel believes in small wins, and going at your own pace, because greening should not make people jump through hoops, it is about knowing the environmentally sound options that are available and applying those actions that make sense to each business. Starting small, get the big wins, and then look at possible investment projects to become even greener. She is a fountain of common sense!Recommended book Ethical Business- Fifty ways you can help protect people, the planet and profitsby Sarah DuncanContact Raquel at www.fiftyshadesgreener.ieContact Mary
Mary Bermingham, cofounder of Burren Nature Sanctuary and host of the podcast Nature Magic- A positive voice for nature from Ireland- talks to Simon Cocking of Irish Tech News about the new Burren Nature Sanctuary book-Nature Magic- How you can engage everyone with biodiversity. The kindle version was best seller on launch day in many categories on Amazon including Green Business and Botany. The print version is due out on Amazon on 1 September Contact Mary at mary@burrennaturesanctuary.ieContact Simon at
We talk to Gordon about treating the planet as a gift, planting trees and his recent book The Breathing Burren.Gordon is a civil engineer but has spent most of his working life as a freelance environmental author, artist and educator. He has had 17 exhibitions featuring his nature artwork, has contributed to many magazines and has published 9 books: The Birds at Lough Beg, The Guide to the birds of Ireland, The Pocket guide to the birds of Ireland, The Pocket guide to the animals of Ireland, The Natural history of the Burren, Irelands lost birds, The Burren Wall, Narture- a nature art manual for primary schools and most recently through Collins press The Breathing Burren which has been so successful it is currently going to reprint. He has also taught many educational programmes and designed concepts for visitor centres and nature display boards in 20 venues in Ireland.Recommended booksPadraic Fogarty- Whittled AwayGordon Darcy - The Breathing BurrenJames Fairley – An Irish Beast Book 1975 Blackstaff Press Contact Gordon through his website at out the Burren Nature Sanctuary atwww.burrennaturesanctuary.ieContact Mary at
Today I am talking to Sean McCormack. Sean is a life long naturalist, a vet by profession and a self-confessed nature nerd. He studied Animal Science at Agricultural College in Essex followed by Veterinary Medicine as a graduate in Dublin at UCD. Having been involved in wildlife conservation in various volunteer capacities over the years, Sean set up his own local conservation organisation where he lives in West London, Ealing Wildlife Group. He regularly leads bat and bird walks, speaks on nature conservation and biodiversity and runs volunteer-led habitat creation and management task days in key local habitats. He's particularly fond of reptiles, amphibians, bats and birds of prey. Excitingly EWG has just received funding to develop their very own nature reserve on a derelict allotments site, work on which will be starting as soon as lockdown lifts. Sean also hosts his very own podcast, Sean's Wild Life where he discusses wildlife, farming, sustainability, rewilding and our connections to nature. He has ambitions to start a new rewilding project in future."Recommended bookRewildingBy: Isabella TreeInstagram: Twitter: Wildlife Group:'s Wild Life podcast: also available on Spotify and iTunesMedia bookings:
Patrick McCormack is an organic farmer from the Burren, Co Clare, in the West of Ireland. If you are lucky you can join one of his occasional guided walks and learn about the history, biodiversity and culture of this special landscape. Patrick is one of the strongest voices in Ireland speaking for nature and a return for sustainable land management. He also lives, with Cheryl his wife and family, in Father Ted's house! Recommended books So Shall We ReapBy: Colin TudgeArctic DreamsThe Crow and the Weasel By: Barry LopezAnam Cara By: John O Donohue The author John Moriarty.
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