Hannah Stitfall inspires us to become a wildlife filmmaker this summer
You’re never too young to tell animal stories and cherish the wildlife you encounter. That’s the message from passionate wildlife content creator for BBC Earth, Springwatch and Wild Cities, Hannah Stitfall.
From whales leaping out of the waves at close quarters to plastic pollution on our beaches, mobile phone footage shared online is an incredibly powerful tool in defence of the natural world. Why not film some of the wildlife you experience on the school run or beyond and make it the star of the show?
“It is very easy to get down about the state of our planet,” said Hannah, awildlife presenter who has worked alongside some of the world’s best naturalists and conservationists, has filmed around the world and worked on BBC Spring, Autumn and Winterwatch, “but the tide is slowly turning – and that is thanks to passionate individuals like the people reading this. “Whether it is through public speaking, TV, nature writing or simply through their own social media channels, the conservation movement happening right now is something we should all be proud of and is incredibly exciting! We can make a difference and already are, but only if we don’t give up.”
Sir David Attenborough’s BBC showWildlife on One was a must-see for a young Hannah who rushed home after school dance class to tune in. The filmmaker’s love of wildlife started very early, at playschool, where she pretended to be a flamingo and went on to develop an obsession with foxes. Hannahm is encouraging families to try making their own wildlife films from their mobile phones.
“Find something you’re passionate about and go film it – that could be anything from a house martin to a mayfly nymph – every single species has a story and why shouldn’t it be you who tells it? As mentioned earlier – if you only reach one person then they tell another person – that’s more people that now know about that species story.
“And it doesn’t matter if your content isn’t up to the standards of a BBC wildlife epic – you are still reaching people, and that’s what it’s all about! I have made some terrible films, but I have also made some good ones, it’s all about learning what works for your audience and if we don’t try we will never know!”
Hannah’s new four-part BBC Earth series filmed in South Africa is coming out later this year. She believes sharing stories about our natural world and the species we share our planet with is now one of the most important jobs on the planet.
“I see it almost as a domino effect when I’m working on a BBC production or making my own content – if I reach just one person, they will then tell or share the content with another person, then another person and another, which in turn hopefully reaches a huge audience. If every single one of us managed to change just one person’s mind about protecting our wildlife or hooked them into caring about nature then I truly believe our work as wildlife communicators would be done – and that is why it matters so much to me.”
Watching wildlife content on television or online is an important part of family life, in Hannah’s book, because it brings a whole newworld to people, aworld that is rarely seen.
“We would never have the privilege of being in the heart of a bird’s nest if it weren’t for our wildlife cameras on Springwatch. The majority of us live in such a fast-paced environment with a million things to do that going outside and birdwatching or wildlife spotting sometimes just isn’t achievable.”
Hannah will be at RSPB Birdfair, which runs from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 August in Rutland, and addresses some of the big issues of the day, including climate change and wildlife decline. For tickets and news visit: www.birdfair.org.uk.