Nature has been my calling for as long as I can remember. It's not an interest or a hobby – it's a way of life. Early on I had a passion to be not an astronaut or fireman, but a conservationist – and I have an essay I scrawled at primary school to prove it. I have gone on to work in international conservation – sometimes at the heart, but mostly on the fringes – for the past quarter century. I have worked at the most basic, grass-roots level and also managed major conservation programmes and worked as a consultant for the principal inter-governmental organisations. Be careful what you wish for!
I have spent 30 years living and working throughout Latin
America, and occasionally as far north as Alaska and as far south as Antarctica, but for the moment
I'm based in rural Norfolk. There could not be a bigger contrast
between the lush, primary forests of the Amazonian foothills, with
their mind-boggling biological diversity, and the totally
anthropogenic agricultural landscapes of south Norfolk, where we humans
have done our best with machinery, chemical agents and lead shot to
eradicate any trace of the natural environment. But nature is
irrepressible, and wherever you are, there is always some fascinating
natural phenomenon to observe and admire. The Curious Naturalist is
just a series of jottings from my field notebook. Some of my more
formal publications are on ResearchGate or Academia.edu. I am also an editor of the Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW Alive), Senior Editor of Neotropical Birding magazine, Associate Editor of the Red Data Book of Venezuelan Fauna, Research Associate of the NGO Provita, and a member of the Venezuelan Bird Records Committee of the Venezuelan Ornithologists' Union (CRAV-UVO). I am regularly asked to carry out consultancy work on the conservation status of Neotropical birds. This year I facilitated a workshop to identify priority sites for shorebird conservation in Venezuela for the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, and am currently researching the status of Neotropical threatened birds for BirdLife International as part of the IUCN Red List update. I have led over a hundred bird tours in Latin America and the USA, and have recently embarked on a programme of free local nature walks and wildlife events in Norfolk aimed at raising awareness of our natural environment.
I hope you find something to enjoy.
Chris Sharpe, The Curious Naturalist.