Jan Stannard.jpg

I fell in love with nature in the old way: childhood forays to ponds with a net and a jam jar, and days spent messing about in the garden of our family home watching ants scurry and herding woodlice. Our neighbours' children were members of Young Ornithologists, a now-defunct but invaluable gateway for young birders, and my lifelong interest in birds began in their company. A tawny old made from a stuffed sock was one of my finest achievements in the Brownies.

After university (Geography), I had a decade of fun and hard work in international PR consultancies in the heart of London. 

I co-founded a PR consultancy in 1991, then a digital agency which I led from 2005-2013. In 2017 I became involved in a start-up, Bookmycharge (dubbed 'Airbnb for electric cars') which is set to grow as we wean ourselves off fossil-fuelled transport. 

For work I'd had my writing published in national and international newspapers and magazines, but always under client bylines. ​I began writing fiction in 2017 and my first short story, The Undiscovered Tribe, was shortlisted for the LoveReading Very Short Story Award 2019 and was voted the 'People's Choice'.  It's set in a future in which nature has recovered, which I now understand was a call sign coming from deep within. I've also finished one novel and have a wonderful story in draft for a second, also set in nature.

But the climate and environmental emergency had to take precedence. I helped co-found Heal, putting me back in the midst of nature. My life has gone full circle.  

Nature and wildlife

I know the precise moment I became a wildlife activist and campaigner.


A JCB stood poised to demolish a huge old house where I knew lots of swifts were nesting. I called the police, the council ecologist and the local bird expert, and the site was shut down for three months until the young swifts had fledged. The new building was then named 'Swift House'. 

The flame was lit: I set up a swift group, I ran a big project to help stop toads drowning in drains, I was asked to co-found a local wildlife group, I got stuck into biodiversity action planning and rewilding our town garden. I watched swifts take up residence in special boxes built into Swift House. But nature in our country continued to struggle and I couldn't sit by and do nothing. So I decided to get into rewilding in a big way....a really big way. The idea for Heal was born in 2019 after a long period of mulling about how best to make a difference and the charity was launched in March 2020. 

Trying to make a difference to nature is how I'll spend the time I have left on this beautiful, beleaguered planet, until I'm permanently horizontal and putting my carbon back into the system.