Trees A Crowd


Dr Jess French: Two legs, good – six legs, better! One woman and her many minibeasts

Season 1, Ep. 14

Dr Jess French is a veterinary surgeon, writer and television presenter. She fronts the CBeebies show Minibeast Adventureand has recently published the book, How to Help a Hedgehog and Protect a Polar Bear, both aimed at getting our younger generations excited by the world they have a part share in. Unflinching when it comes to handling insects, as a child she didn’t realise her love of tiny creatures was unusual – but it eventually earned her the nickname ‘the bug girl’, and ultimately a career she loves. Prodding David with an “Are you scared?” as she unveils the millipedes, this fascinating chat is full of many wonderful moments of distraction, from a tarantula in a box firmly labelled ‘do not open’, to a leaf insect climbing onto the microphone.

More Episodes


Dr William C. Tweed: The secret histories of John Muir’s Giant Redwoods

Season 2, Ep. 18
Dr William C. Tweed is a lover of Big Trees - the Giant Redwoods of California to be precise. An historian and naturalist, he has a career spanning over 30 years working for the US national park service, and after holding several roles at the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, spent a decade as its Chief Naturalist. Whether it’s describing what a Giant Redwood is through a comparison to the miniscule mosquito, or a deep dive into numerous secret histories of mankind's fascinations with these trees, William will have you captivated, falling in love with, and longing to hug, the giant sequoia. In exploring the tree’s many wonderful evolutionary features, and the serene images he paints of the Sierra Nevada, William explains that our passion for sequoias starts with our love of that which is “big, and old, and rare”, and then continues to grow tall. William explores the history of the “Father of the National Parks” himself, John Muir - how his religious upbringing inspired his writing (his works serving as a “secular Bible” for those devoted to nature) - and how the Sierra Club is still following firmly in Muir’s footsteps today. Among William’s teachings are plenty of digressions and distractions - charming moments of a mind as fascinated by nature today as he has ever been.For further information on this and other episodes, visit: