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17 September 2014
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Nature's Calendar

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Sanjida O'Connell

Sanjida O'Connell

Sanjida O'Connell has always been passionate about animals and nature.

Sanjida talks about how she caught the nature bug, and some of her favourite moments from the Nature's Calendar television series.

Sanjida caught the nature bug from an early age

A passion for wildlife

I've always been passionate about animals.

When I was five we were living in Africa and I remember looking into long grass (much taller than me) and thinking, 'I must go in there and find some bugs', but being just a little bit too frightened to go for it!

I studied zoology at university and went on to do a PhD on chimpanzee psychology, where I compared chimp minds with childrens'.

The real difference lay between male and female chimps: the girls paid attention to my experiments and did well, but the boys, sadly, chucked things and peed on me.

They failed the tests.

Right now, as well as presenting, I direct science documentaries and write novels, as well as non-fiction books and articles on science and the environment.

Brilliant nature

Young cygnet c/o WWTNature's Calendar has been a real pleasure to work on over the last few months.

I've travelled to places I wouldn't otherwise have gone to - it's always brilliant to visit places in this country as, like many people, I tend to travel abroad for holidays.

My favourites are the Bitterns at Lee Valley, where you can sit very close to the birds and observe these incredibly shy creatures up close and personal.

I was so close I could see the green of a Shag's eye, and lay in a patch of nettles nose to beak with a nesting Tern - what a treat!

World wildlife

Teal c/o WWTAs well as presenting, I also write books.

My latest is called 'Sugar: The Grass that Changed the World'.

It involved travelling to terribly difficult places like Barbados.

In the meantime you can see me back on home territory presenting Nature's Calendar on BBC Two.

I hope that you'll join me and my fellow presenters.

Nature team

Meet the rest of the Nature's Calendar team:

Chris Packham
Mike Dilger
Janet Sumner

Meet the web team:

Sue Wilkinson

Photo credits

All bird photographs are copyright and courtesy of WWT.



Watch and Listen

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Today's clip:

Seal safari

Nature's Calendar


Activities (Image: Red Squirrel)

Mark your Nature Calendar

Discover autumn activities. It's a great season for nature watching before winter's chill sets in.

Breathing Spaces

Make a difference for people & wildlife in your neighbourhood.

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