REMINDER: Do not forget to watch the 3rd in the series of Halcyon River Diaries on Sunday 30th May at 7pm.

 You can catch up on BBC IPlayer if you have missed the previous episodes.

 You can also purchase the book that accompanies the series of the same name “Halcyon River Diaries” from  Amazon.

Sunday 23rd May 2010
BBC 1 6:10pm     

The Times 15/05/10 wrote:

 “This was the wonderful surprise of the week. The wildlife photographer Charlie Hamilton-James has spent a year filming the wildlife on the mile-long stretch of river directly in front of the home where he lives with his wife Philippa Forrester and their three small boys. The photography is filled with beauty and drama, while his attempts to get his children to share his passion for the natural world might as well have come straight out of Outnumbered. Not to be missed. “

Saturday 22nd May 2010
Natural History Museum, London

Free Entry

Join Martin and the other Spring Watch presenters for a special celebration of the International Day for Biological Diversity, alongside other UK partner organisations in the International Year of Biodiversity. Share the day with scientists and artists. The new Young Darwin Prize will be unveiled.

Most of the day’s events will take place in the Orange Zone area of the Museum, mainly around the Darwin Centre and in the Wildlife Garden.

 Events happening throughout the day include

  • Science roadshow in the Darwin Centre cocoon building – meet Museum scientists and ask them about their favourite specimens.
  • Nature Live talks in the Attenborough Studio – topics range from the biodiversity of the food on your plate to our search for new creatures across the world.
  • Live link-ups in the Attenborough Studio to other festivities in the UK.
  • Public launch of the new Young Darwin Prize to find the best nature news videos. The prize is open to school or community groups in age groups 7-11 and 11-14 years. More details are on the Young Darwin Prize website.
  • Creation of a special biodiversity day elephant sculpture, to join our two decorated elephants already on display on the West lawn and on Museum Lane, part of The Elephant Parade in London.
  • Family drawing workshop on the variety of specimens in the Museum and the special biodiversity day elephant.
  • Theatre and arts performances throughout the day.
  • Nettle Weekend in the Museum and the Wildlife Garden with talks, activities crafts and refreshments.

Remember to watch our Chris Beardshaw presenting at the Chelsea Flower Show on BBC 1 and BBC 2 during the week commencing Sunday 23rd to Sunday 30th May.

As a celebration of the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) 2010, award winning garden designer Chris Beardshaw has set a challenge for his 2009 mentoring scholar Paul Hervey-Brookes, to create a show garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show which highlights how gardeners can create a desirable and stunning environment which works successfully for both people and wildlife.
Chris has been mentoring Paul since he was awarded the Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship, sponsored by Bradstone, an Aggregate Industries business, at The Malvern Spring Gardening Show in May 2009.  Since then Chris has devoted time to working alongside Paul and assisting him in developing the diverse range of skills required to create a successful career in garden design. 
Following the challenge set down by his mentor, Paul’s show garden at Chelsea will highlight many of the key messages of the IYB by defining how a garden can provide a space for the gardener to relax and enjoy, whilst also providing a rich habitat and ecosystem for a variety of at risk garden insects and mammals.
Paul’s stunning design combines a variety of sustainable landscape materials and includes specially designed features such as a portico for birds to nest and log walls for insect habitats.  The richly planted borders include a diverse range of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals which the team envisage will be buzzing with insects throughout the show.
As a signed up partner of the IYB, Chris Beardshaw is passionate about biodiversity and as part of his commitment to the campaign he has provided a regular update of information on his website to advise gardeners on how they can engage with the campaign and promote greater biodiversity in their gardens.
He said, “I feel very strongly about educating people on the need for biodiversity within gardens and landscaping.  I am delighted that Paul has embraced the challenge of creating a biodiverse garden so effectively.  His design illustrates why gardeners have no need to compromise on the beauty of their open spaces when creating valuable habitats for wildlife.  As gardeners we can all do a huge amount in our own backyards to help support a wide range of species.”
 He continued, “Paul has been an excellent scholar and we have thoroughly enjoyed working with him throughout 2009.   We are extremely proud of what he has achieved during his scholarship year.  As this is his first show garden at Chelsea, I have given him guidance throughout the development of his design, but this is very much his garden and it will mark the culmination of a tremendous year for him which we hope will be a springboard for his future design career. “

 Through the kind support of the scholarship sponsor Bradstone, Paul has received bursaries throughout the year to fund his Malvern Autumn Show garden, this Chelsea Flower Show garden and also to assist him with course fees for a Landscape Architecture degree course at University of Gloucester.  Paul has also enjoyed a week with Hillier Nurseries where he met with Robert Hillier and many of his senior staff who gave him a fascinating insight to one of our most respected and reputable plant nurseries.
Paul said, “I am really looking forward to implementing the design at Chelsea. We want to show gardeners how, without compromising the beauty of their space, they can use a few simple features to create a wonderfully biodiverse environment for many species.  For me a garden without wildlife is soulless.  So I hope people will be able enjoy our garden and take away some ideas and introduce them into their own gardens.”
He continued, “This Chelsea garden will be the grand finale of my Mentoring Scholarship which has been a very positive and challenging year for me.  Working with Chris has been a once in a life time opportunity and it has provided a huge creative stimulus.  It has been a fantastic and intense experience and I am very proud of the journey I have been part of.  I now have a wonderful platform from which to go on and develop my design career.”

 New chief executive of Aggregate Industries Alain Bourguignon said: “We are always keen to support new talent in the landscape gardening industry and champion cutting edge design, which is why the Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship is an important partnership for Bradstone.”

 Aggregate Industries, Bradstone’s parent company, is at the forefront of developments to increase sustainability of garden landscaping materials. It is the first company in the world to achieve the BES 6001 Responsible Sourcing Certificate from BRE Global.

 For further information about the Bradstone range visit

Halcyon River Diaries secures family prime-time slot commencing Sunday 16 May 2010

 BBC1 4 x 60 minutes 6.10pm Sunday 16 May – 6 June 2010

 Halcyon River Diaries, filmed and produced by award winning wildlife cameraman Charlie Hamilton James and Philippa Forrester will be transmitted on BBC1 at 6.10pm (60 minutes) from Sunday 16 May 2010.  The 4 part series, which was filmed over 12 months, features Charlie, his wife Philippa and their sons Fred (8), Gus (5) and Arthur (2).  From beautifully shot sequences of kingfishers battling in the mating season, to tracking otters at night with five year old Gus, this new series is everything you have come to expect from BBC Natural History and so much more.  It’s a documentary series made by a family, for other families.

 The results are moving, informative, chaotic and sometimes hilarious and with more than a hint of the popular comedy series ‘Outnumbered’, it was fitting that comedian Hugh Dennis narrated the series.  The family saw things people have never seen, discovered things scientists never knew and learned an awful lot about the river, and themselves.

Make sure you catch Mike Dilger on the One Show this Friday 14th May at the usual time of 7pm to see him searching through the snow in Scotland for the elusive bird- The Capercaillie.