Trees A Crowd


Maldives Underwater Initiative: Diving with Pearls

Season 1, Ep. 9

In this episode, David speaks to members of the Maldives Underwater Initiative based at the Six Senses resort in Laamu Atoll. The initiative includes members of The Manta Trust, Blue Marine Foundation, The Olive Ridley Project and other marine specialists. The team have a shared vision for preserving the marine environment in the Maldives and beyond, and have been monitoring the health of the reefs there since 2012. Their research and conservation work includes nurturing seagrass, turtles, manta rays, dolphins and sharks, as well as various education and community outreach initiatives, all whilst working in close proximity with the local tourism industry. In these often humourous exchanges, they discuss changing public perception towards swimming in the ocean, the impact of fisheries, argue that biodegradable plastics are merely a “step in the right direction”, and David witnesses first hand the devastating impact of ghost nets on the olive ridley turtles.

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Dr Helen Pheby: Sculpture for sheep, and rhubarb trains; the place ‘Extraordinary’ can happen

Season 2, Ep. 7
Dr Helen Pheby is the head of curatorial programmes at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Set in 500 acres of historic parkland, the park has provided a “gallery without walls” for artists such as Elisabeth Frink, Auguste Rodin, Giuseppe Penone, and local legends such as Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Helen has collaborated on projects in Iraqi Kurdistan, South Africa, India, and even Barnsley! Born in the so-called ‘rhubarb triangle’, Helen reminisces over “the rhubarb express”, a train which ran from her village in Yorkshire to London, and muses over how magical it was being able to see the contrast between rural and urban environments. In this insightful conversation, Helen explains how she believes creativity and art is a human right, how the YSP was visited by Henry VIII, and how another Henry, Henry Moore, believed it was the job of artists to show people the natural world and subsequently designed artwork for sheep. She explains how the Sculpture Park aims to be inclusive, free from the barriers of social standing, wealth and a gender imbalance that art is often associated with. Subsequently, the YSP is now home to brain-controlled helicopters, women on horseback steeplechasing through the landscapes of the First World War, and all of this second to the migratory routes of the Great Crested Newt. In her own words: “We are places the extraordinary can happen.” For more information on this podcast, including David's thoughts following this interview, head to: