“Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart."
Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
Helen Evans (mother) author
Helen lives with her husband Graham in Portsmouth. Both are now retired so enjoy making regular trips to Cornwall and the odd trip to Gower. Their passion for the outdoors continues and, with a dog to walk, still takes them into the trees!
“I remember how I used to play in the woods opposite my home. I was such a tomboy! I had dens on the ground and hideouts in the branches of the trees and played pirates and cowboys and indians with my friends. I was in my element! I remember in one game I tied my friend John to a tree and then tortured him by plucking out the hairs on his legs! And we all loved to hide in the branches of the trees and drop twigs, worms and berries onto the heads of passers by. It was great fun!” Helen Evans
Sophie Lederer (daughter) editor and book design
Sophie lives in Southsea, Portsmouth, with her husband Talbot and their two children - Elias and Ines. Though living in an urban landscape Sophie does her bit for the environment - shopping ethically and recycling everything she can. And with a fairly large garden with lots of trees, her passion for climbing them continues - not so much to swing from the branches, but to prune and shape them!
“With my Father in the Royal Marines, my childhood years were quite magical, living as we mainly did in barracks. Our last posting was the Barracks in Southsea, Portsmouth. For me it was the most amazing place - so much to discover, so many adventures to be had and lots of trees! One of my favourite places was a huge oak tree that grew on the side of the embankment that marked the outer sea-facing boundary of the barracks. It made the best den, that we could climb down into and up. We called it The Haunted Tree, I don't remember why but like to think it was because we could sense a spirit, not of someone passed but that of the tree itself." Sophie Lederer
Lisa Guy (daughter) illustrator
Lisa lives on a farm outside Pendeen, Cornwall, with her husband Piers. Together they have three children - Ursula, Arthur and Leo. As a family they are particularly passionate about the environment: Piers works for a global renewal energy company; they have their own wind turbine on their land; and they all featured in, and attended the Premier of, The Age of Stupid - the British drama-documentary-animation film that asks the question Why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?
“I’ve always loved sitting in a tree. I remember the first time, high up in the branches of my nan’s pear tree, eating a pear I’d just reached out and picked. As I’ve got older my sense of wonder has increased and when I go into our woodland I feel like I am entering Narnia. We coppice and plant new trees every year. It’s hard, physical work and we get very muddy but its magical. We have the company of a fire to burn the brash and always a robin who makes the most of the exposed bugs. And at the end of the day a barn owl will often swoop out of the wood as I walk back to the farm.” Lisa Guy
Rhiannon Raitt (daughter) editor and business support
Rhiannon lives in Pendeen, Cornwall, with her husband Matthew and their three sons - Noah, Ludo and Amos. She spent most of her sons’ toddler years in a wood at the bottom of the lane where they then lived, in Dorset; and then went on to help run forest school sessions at both the boys’ playgroup and primary school. Driven by this passion to encourage children outside to play, learn and connect with nature, Rhiannon became a qualified Forest School Leader two years ago.
“When we went for romps in woods as children, it was like stepping through a door into an enchanted forest. I imagined fairies fluttered and danced behind foliage as they followed my trail. I would find the biggest tree, hug it's trunk and tell it a secret while it whispered an ancient story in return. If the wood was dark I'd stomp my trial, if it was sprinkled with glittery light I'd tiptoe, taking care to search out and squelch in every bit of mud I could find and I still do!" Rhiannon Raitt