Nicola Davies is an author and an ambassador for World Land Trust (WLT). On the eve of a WLT field trip to Armenia, she reflects on the Trust’s conservation work and describes how the visit to Armenia will inform her next book.
“I first heard about WLT from Sir David Attenborough, and I always liked the Trust’s simple, straightforward way of operating,” she says, looking back on her early contact with the charity.
“WLT’s conservation isn’t top down, but from the ground up,” she continues, by which she means that WLT puts its faith in people and NGOs working on the ground rather than parachuting in experts from outside the area. For Nicola this philosophy is not only morally correct but also the only approach that is sustainable.
She admires WLT for not dumbing down its conservation message, and for not patronising its supporters. Conservation is complicated and solutions are not clear cut. “WLT never shrinks from the truth, and chooses projects very carefully, avoiding initiatives that won’t work or will require compromising on principles.”
A long time supporter of WLT, Nicola was one of the first authors to sign up to Green Ink, a WLT initiative to encourage authors and illustrators to assign their public lending rights to the Trust.
She has visited some of the Trust’s projects, in a self-funded capacity. The first place she visited courtesy of WLT was the Garo Hills, where she researched the plot and characters of The Elephant Road, an experience that she found “utterly invaluable for writing the book”.
(Nicola Davies, Author and WLT Ambassador)
Nicola believes that conservation only works when people are at the heart of it. “We need to understand relationships,” she says. “In my books the narrative is the emotional vehicle for information about relationships between people and animals.” And children, she has learned, are quick to appreciate the importance of relationships.
In Nicola’s books, the story is told from the perspective of a child. “That’s why I need to visit the places I’m writing about, to talk to real people.” So the plot for her leopard book will remain a blank until she’s in Armenia. “I know that when I go there I’ll find the story right there in front of me.”
WLT has funded conservation in the Garo Hills, Meghalaya State, through WLT’s reforestation programme. WLT is also raising funds to protect of two elephant corridors: one in Uttarakhand, northern India, and the other in Meghalaya. You can support this work by donating to the Action Fund, and putting Elephant Corridors in the comments box.
In Malaysian Borneo, WLT is raising funds to protect wildlife corridors for Orang-utans and other endangered wildlife in the Kinabatangan floodplain, Sabah. You can support this work by donating to the Borneo Rainforest Appeal.
There are thought to be fewer than 15 Caucasian Leopards remaining in Armenia and WLT is raising funds for conservation to protect the habitat of Europe’s only leopard. A donation to WLT’s Save the Caucasian Leopard Appeal will help save the species in the wild.