Introducing Leif Bersweden, botanist, author and recent Springwatch presenter.

What does your role involve?

I’m a freelance botanist, or rather a freelance botanical communicator. For me, this means doing all sorts of different things that all come under the umbrella of raising the profile of our wild plants here in the UK. My income comes from writing, public speaking, social media, filming, and leading nature walks and plant identification courses. Having such variety within my work is brilliant – every day is different and it never gets boring!

What was your route into nature conservation?

I grew up loving our wild plants so I spent a lot of time as a teenager learning about as many different species as I could and the ways they live their lives. It brought me so much joy and made me realise I wanted to work with nature when I was older. I studied biology at university then did a PhD with the view of becoming a research scientist. However, as much as I enjoyed that, I decided that my skills would be better put to use in trying to communicate science to the general public. So I combined my deep love for nature with my scientific background and wrote a proposal for a joy-filled book that involved travelling around the country to find plants. I sent that off to a literary agent and, luckily, they liked it and it was published in 2022 as Where the Wild Flowers grow. Much of the work I have now has come off the back of the books I’ve written.

What advice would you offer to people seeking to work in nature conservation?

The thing that really worked for me was finding a way to let my natural enthusiasm shine through. People respond to passion, joy, excitement, enthusiasm – these emotions are infectious. For me it was writing, and whether it’s books, articles or Instagram posts, I just love capturing the excitement I feel in words and trying to share that with people who haven’t experienced the joy of plants before. So my advice is to find the medium that best suits you – it might be writing, it might be fieldwork, it might be campaigning. Whatever it is, your natural enthusiasm will shine through and that will take you a long way!

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