Trees A Crowd


Astrid Goldsmith: Puppets, politics, and The Wind in the Willows with extra Wombles

Season 1, Ep. 4

Astrid Goldsmith is an award-winning stop-motion animator. After tuition from Great Uncle Bulgaria and 12 years of hand-making models for other people - including Garth Jennings (for “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”), the boy band Blue and the unrelenting Duracell Bunny - she made her debut solo film, “Squirrel Island”. Astrid’s animations question the impact of human policy on the natural world, and her latest commissioned film, “Quarantine”, was nominated for the Debut Director Award at the Edinburgh TV Festival’s New Voice Awards. In this in-depth conversation, we talk grey squirrels vs. red squirrels, badgers as a focus for nationalism, how “good and bad” animals are an unfair human construct, and how anthropomorphic animation lends itself perfectly to deeper reflection about us and about our diverse ecosystem.

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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: