The Short Version
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.
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.