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Chronicler of the West's fascinating natural history marks 20th anniversary

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 04, 2012

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Naturalist Trevor Beer has been writing his Nature Watch column for the Western Morning News six days a week for two decades. And he has never missed a day. Later this month a show of his art work opens on Dartmoor.

That Trevor Beer loves wildlife becomes obvious when you read his columns, books and look closely at his artwork. He invariably uses a fountain pen with which to write his daily column, and the majority of his wildlife drawings are produced using art pens. He began writing in the 1960s for the North Devon Snail, the local magazine, and moved on to newspapers and larger magazines from there.

Passionate about our British countryside, there is no doubt that Trevor Beer is a wildlife expert. Over the years he has worked for the BBC Natural History Unit finding filmable locations with wildlife. Natural History is his hobby, work and therefore his way of life.

It is incredible to think that 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of writing Nature Watch six days a week for the Western Morning News – and he has never missed a day. It is an extremely popular column and readers' letters and queries still flood in through his letter box.

Bill Martin, the current WMN Editor – Trevor has worked for four – said: "Trevor Beer's deep understanding of the natural history of the Westcountry and his ability to communicate his respect and concern for wild creatures, and the habitats in which they thrive, has made him one of the best loved and longest serving columnists the Western Morning News has ever had."

A collection of his pictures that focus on nature watching have been collected together for a travelling exhibition.

Trevor said: "I always loved drawing with pencils at school and soon discovered my favoured medium, pen and ink, which I use to this day. I also love using watercolour and have included some new works for this exhibition that incorporate pen work. I wanted to add a splash of colour to the exhibition."

Nature Watch has already been put into books, and Nature Watch III will be launched to coincide with the travelling exhibitions and will also be available directly from the publishers, Halsgrove. Simon Butler, of Halsgrove, said: "Trevor's dedication to wildlife over so many years, his books and paintings, have made him a local treasure."

As a boy, Trevor was always interested in wildlife. He used to roam the fields and woods searching for flora and fauna, learning about it at the same time from his observations.

Over the years he has had a variety of jobs including working as an Education Officer for local government. He finally spread his wings to pursue his ambitions to work in conservation, writing and producing art work in the late 1970s.

In 1979 he won the Gavin Maxwell Award for the Conservation of Otters in the wild. He founded the RSPB North Devon group, the Taw and Torridge Estuary Forum, the Taw and Exmoor Branch of the British Naturalist's Association (BNA) and was a founder member of the Society for Wildlife Art for the Nations. (SWAN)

He has served on a host of committees, ran field clubs for youngsters – to teach them about Natural History, and was one of the pioneers to champion nature conservation work in North Devon years ago, when it was deemed unfashionable and thought of as unimportant. Today of course we know otherwise.

He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship to the British Naturalists Association in 2008, but among his many awards for his work, Trevor was awarded an MBE in 2002 for his services to the Environment and Journalism.

So what is he like? He is a quiet and diffident countryman, yet ask him about Natural History and he will have a tale to tell.

See Trevor's work at the Highmoorland Visitor Centre, Princetown, from September 14 to October 31, celebrating 20 years of the Western Morning News Nature Watch Column.

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