Me, with tansy beetle friend.
Me, with tansy beetle friend.

The Short Version

Amateur natural historian by inclination, teaching assistant and research student in ecology and wildlife conservation by profession. Can write a bit. Have been known to sing.

The Long Version

Welcome to my self-indulgent corner of the internet. Although self promotion is not something that comes naturally to me, and certainly isn’t something I enjoy, it only seems sensible to attach a name to my engagement with the natural world. Especially since I am entirely open about the fact I wouldn’t mind making money from it! So, this is Chris Foster Nature, named as such if only to differentiate me from the millions of other Chris Foster’s out there.

You could say that I’ve always been interested in natural history in the broadest sense, but that the outworking of that has varied throughout my life. As a child I was pretty keen on astronomy, but also enjoyed poking around at wildlife in the peaceful garden of our family home in Hampshire. Comets in the night sky and tadpoles in the garden pond: from millions of miles to millimetres.

Never sure whether I was keenest on writing (words and music) or science, I oscillated between the two before settling on the slightly esoteric choice of Meteorology for an undergraduate degree. That’s weather of course, not rocks from space, though I am surprised to this day how many people get this wrong.

A few years further on and my initial intended career as a forecaster dead in the water, I turned – as so many do – to watching birds for solace and release, and around the same time recalled that I’d been part of a conservation group at college and that this seemed like a worthwhile use of time.

Before long ‘Birds + Conservation’ seemed like a fine choice of second career, and after spells volunteering for the then BTCV (now TCV) and working in university administration, I eventually ended up back at the University of Reading, this time to study for an MSc in Wildlife Management & Conservation.

During that year I was delighted to find that my prior science training had not all been for naught, but also rediscovered a long neglected ability to write tolerably well. The rest of nature kind of snuck up on me during the course – birds having acted as a kind of ‘gateway drug’ – and by the time I finished a short contract as a fieldworker for the RSPB in 2012 I was beginning to feel as much a ‘naturalist’ as a birder.

The course director of my MSc was kind enough to suggest I apply for a hybrid teaching assistant / PhD position at the tail end of that year (more information on my research is on this page) back at the School of Biological Sciences in Reading, where I’ve now been happily employed for over two years.

In my ‘spare’ time I have been working at establishing a profile as a writer, supported by the fantastic folk at A Focus On Nature, the young naturalists network.

These days I am apparently somebody who ‘knows about insects’ and even get referred to as an entomologist! All I know is that wildlife is my lifeblood, and whatever I do I’m ultimately trying to reflect people’s attention back to the wonders of the wild world.


3 thoughts on “About

  1. Dear Chris,

    I like your writing and I wonder if you might be interested to write an On the Ground piece for Biodiversity Conservancy International. We have published an international quarterly journal: Biodiversity, Journal of Life on Earth since 2000. The aim of Biodiversity is to raise an appreciation and deeper understanding of species, ecosystems and the interconnectedness of the living world and thereby avoid the mismanagement, misuse and destruction of biodiversity.

    We are looking for an author to write an On The Ground piece. This can be anything from 500 – 2,000 words about an experience working in the field of conservation, biology or environmental action. I am afraid it would not be a paid piece, but you would receive a complementary copy of the journal.

    Please get in touch if this sounds of interest.
    Vanessa Reid


  2. Hello Chris
    As secretary of Newbury District Ornithological Club, I am trying to arrange speakers for next winter (2018-19) and one of our members showed me your website thinking that you might be able to help us. We need a speaker to come to our meeting hall in Greenham, south of Newbury, on a Thursday evening either in October 18 or March 19. Our meetings start at 7.30pm, and a subject in some way connected to birds would be ideal. We could offer you any of the following dates – October 18th or 22nd or March 14th or 21st. We do hope that you may be able to come.
    Kind regards
    Lesley Staves


    1. Hi Lesley,

      Thanks very much for your message and to whoever it was that had me in mind! I gave a talk at BOC on Wednesday entitled ‘A Birder’s Guide To Insects’ which gratifyingly seemed to go down very well. Would that be suitable? It is in two sections, on diversity and identification of insects in a way that I hoped birders would find useful and the second half on interactions between birds and their insect food. This version was about 40 minutes for each half but I can easily expand or reduce either to suit your timings and preferences.

      Either of the October dates would suit me (presuming by 22nd you mean Thursday 25th).

      Do email me on c.w.foster @outlook.com to confirm.

      Best wishes,



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