Trees A Crowd


Dr Fay Clark: Ring-tails, Killer Whales and the history of the British Zoo.

Season 1, Ep. 7

Dr Fay Clark is an animal welfare scientist. A self-confessed “zoo geek”, she specialises in the assessment and enhancement of captive animal welfare in traditional zoos, safari parks, sanctuaries and aquariums. She is currently based at Bristol Zoo where she examines how the welfare of large-brained mammals can be enhanced through cognitively challenging activities. In this in-depth conversation, she reflects on how zoos have transformed from a victorian spectacle with “poking sticks” to educational conservations, describes how ring-tailed lemurs can adapt to habitats that differ from their Madagascan roots, and explains how technology is revealing how animals solve puzzles, including when they are playing us at our own game!

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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: