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18 June 2014
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Hands on Nature

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Your Hands on Nature presenter

Chris Packham

Chris Packham

Hi and welcome to Hands On Nature…

After travelling the world and discovering different kinds of nature, it's great to be back in Britain looking at the wealth of wildlife on our own doorstep.

Chris Packham discovers nature

Hands On Nature is very close to my heart.

I have a profound interest in getting people off their sofas and into the wilds where they can look at animals, rather than just studying them on the television from afar.

Nature needs to be experienced first hand.

You have to be able to touch it, see it, smell it and exercise your curiosity. And that's what Hands On Nature is all about.

Sometimes we're so overwhelmed by TV images of glamorous animals in exotic locations, that we often forget that there's some really beautiful wildlife at the bottom of our gardens.

I want to destroy the mystique about wildlife. For me, home is where the heart is.

I've travelled all over the world but my favourite animals are right here at home.

BadgerOn your doorstep

It's a myth that you have to be an expert to watch wildlife. You don't have to be a life-long specialist.

You can be just like me and spend time watching and studying these animals just for fun.

Take Badgers, for example. Watching this nocturnal creature isn't a mystical art - it's practical common sense.

Anyone can go out and find a Badger sett and have great fun doing it.

When I was younger, I studied Badger excrement for five years, but you don't have to get quite so carried away with poo as I did!

I've been passionate about nature from an early age. As a child I transformed our home in Southampton into a menagerie bristling with a diversity of species.

Snakes, spiders, finches and foxes all soiled my parents' carpets!

DragonfliesPassion for wildlife

My ever-growing passion for wildlife has shaped my career. I studied Badgers for several years and this led to a degree in Zoology at Southampton University.

One of my early TV ventures was presenting the Children's BBC Wildlife programme, 'The Really Wild Show'. It was so good that it won a BAFTA.

My more recent BBC programmes include 'X-Creatures' and 'Watch Out' as well as 'Inside Out' which has included a number of wildlife features.

Manx ShearwaterMagical creatures

One of my favourite experiences during the filming of Hands on Nature was watching the Manx Shearwaters on Skomer Island in Wales.

It was just one of those complete experiences - the smell, the sound, and then the sight of these remarkable birds. It was completely awe inspiring.

Best of all, these birds aren't a million miles away - they're close to home. Anyone can stay on Skomer and experience the wildlife first-hand.

Another favourite moment during the series was filming Dragonflies.

It looks pretty but if you take the time to watch these animals and study their anatomy, they are truly extraordinary.

They can fly at 40 miles per hour. They're territorial, ferocious and fantastically pretty. These are super predators, and I'm a big fan.

WhaleWhale watching

Another highlight was whale watching in Mull, off the Scottish west coast.

It was truly amazing. We were filming for the programme, and this beautiful Minke Whale came along to investigate the boat.

I have never seen anything like it - the whale stayed with us for ages, criss-crossing underneath and really checking us out.

People from the UK travel thousands and thousands of miles for a sight like this without realising just what treasures we have on our own doorstep.

This is exactly what our new programme sets out to do - raise awareness of the depth and diversity of wildlife, fauna and flora around the British Isles.

GullWildlife through a lens

Working on Hands on Nature has been really good fun.

It's given me the chance to revisit some fantastic places around the British Isles as well as finding new ones that made filming a real treat.

I've stayed in some dodgy 'Fawlty Towers' style hotels, endured bouts of sea sickness, survived bad weather, and eaten some strange local delicacies, but it's all been worth it.

I wouldn't have swapped this experience for anything, and I hope that you will feel the same way too when you watch the TV series.
Most of all, I hope that 'Hands on Nature' will make you feel as passionate about nature as I do.

So get out there and enjoy the great British outdoors. It’s sure to satisfy the most curious of creatures!

Nature team

Meet the rest of the Hands on Nature team:

Janet Sumner
Sanjida O'Connell
Mike Dilger


Watch and Listen

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Today's video clip:

Manx Shearwater

Hands on Nature


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