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45 minutes | Nov 6, 2018
Not walking on eggshells
Counting Manx Shearwaters on Skomer Island, Wales, in June 2018. An episode of Conservation Sound by Connor Walsh. Tweet @ConnorWalsh. This is a podcast but much of it will be inaudible in a typical podcast listening environment–earbuds of earphones, outdoors on the hoof or in public transport. Do be aware that this podcast does not represent the organisers of the census is any way; not the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales; the mega wardens Bee and Edd; the university and academics using the data; or the other volunteers. It is purely my own project. The making of; a.k.a. excuses excuses: The next day I would be starting a day-long journey to get to Skomer, a small, predator-free island in Wales. Mostly packed, but distracted by the jackdaws playing on the roof of my rooms in Gouda, the Netherlands. The sound is fun–so I decide to record it two ways, with on microphone up against the ceiling and another chucked out the window onto the roof. As I pull the mics back in–piuuu–the furry windshield of one blows away, across the rooftops, out of sight, maybe into a canal. I don’t have spare fabric to hand to make a new one, so I resort to a ‘technique’ described by a now long-retired radio journalist uncle: into the kitchen, get a knife and a sponge, slice a gap in the sponge to and jam the microphone in. The best I can hope for. Trying to go quasi-binaural looks daft at the best of times, but now I have an apparent rodent dangling from one side of my hat and a bright yellow rectangle dangling from the other. It barely works–the right ear has more wind noise and a brighter acoustic. So the recordings were never going to be good enough to share as field recordings, or for an installation or whatever. But probably good enough for radio. For all that, the listening experience is a smidge better on headphones that speakers. However the volunteering took precedence, meaning I recorded only two days out of more than two weeks; I hit record and forgot about it, not really trying to get good audio of anything in particular. And I chose not to make any interviews. So, there are the excuses.
12 minutes | Apr 8, 2018
Mary Colwell and Curlews
I started getting emails at the day job about World Curlew Day. It had a lovely logo. Curlews have such a distinctive call, the potential for a podcast rose gradually across the office Outlook screen. The emails came from Mary Colwell, and her website revealed her to be a very experienced broadcaster. Podcast tip: interview a radio producer; they know what makes a good interviewee! I made a point of getting this episode out, to be part of the hashtag #WorldCurlewDay. This is running across different social media platforms, with a bias of course for photos, so here’s an audible contribution. I’ve been avoiding actually describing the episode. And will continue on that path. This episode includes audio from Xeno-Canto, (which probably should be an episode in its own right); in this case, it’s XC344313 by Patrik Åberg, released under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0, and that means that this episode is covered by the same licence too. This is an episode of Conservation Sound, a podcast I produce. I tried to mix ‘for podcast’, in this case by doing the final mix on headphones sitting near some noisy roadworks. What a complicated thing that is: headache-inducing in another environment, and how do you fit in non-speech elements? Do without the latter, and the former matters less, perhaps, but doesn’t that limit the medium?
9 minutes | Mar 23, 2018
Hello. Remember this thing? I sort of do, and here is an episode. Indonesian conservationist Sasha tells me about gibbons (Sasha has a longer name but this audio is repurposed from something else and we didn’t involve her employer’s Communications team, so we’re staying on first name terms to keep it simple). The impetus to turn my chat with Sasha into an episode of Conservation Sound was the cheering take-up of two previous episodes at an event and on the radio. I had a grand plan of creating a delicious work from my Hainan gibbon recordings, with Sasha as a narrator, but I have accepted that if I try that sort of project again by myself it will never happen! So here, with reasonable speed, you can learn about the sound of gibbons. There is much more to a say about that subject, books, papers, even whole websites, so this is just a taster.
7 minutes | Jan 15, 2016
Take the Ten Million
You’re the world’s leading conservation group. A big oil company, with a big spill not far behind, is offering you £10,000,000 for conservation. Do you take the money? Out of the blue, a brief episode of Conservation Sound.
18 minutes | Oct 10, 2015
Conservation Sound episode… Hiatus. After five episodes over the summer, I’m putting Conservation Sound on hold. The workload was a bit too much for me by myself, alongside the day job and preparing for university, which was top priority (reasonably enough!). So with this episode I introduce some of the examples of sound in conservation which I was hoping to feature. The plan wold have been an interview and episode for each piece featured here. There are more out there – researchers studying primate sounds in Borneo particularly tickle me – and perhaps another series will emerge, hybridised and more robust, after I graduate in September 2016. Links for the audio mentioned in this edition: Running after Antelope Scott Carrier https://homebrave.squarespace.com/home-of-the-brave/running-after-antelope Out of Doors BBC Radio Scotland http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0074hjr/episodes/player Running the goat Chris Brookes/Battery Radio http://www.batteryradio.com/Pages/Golden.html Off Track http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/offtrack/ Other people and programmes who were on the cards include: Tree-climber James Aldred who has been in a couple of BBC Natural History Unit radio programmes such as James and the Giant Eagle and James and the Giant Tree. Taiwan-based sound artist Jannick Dauby. Marc Anderson of Wild Ambience. And Colette Kinsella whose Zoo Diaries (in particular ‘Birth’) pushed me to start the who project in the first place.
22 minutes | Sep 30, 2015
Leah Barclay & Biosphere Soundscapes
Episode four of Conservation Sound explores how conservationists use sound in biosphere reserves. Our guest is Leah Barclay, the musician and sound artist behind Biosphere Soundscapes.
12 minutes | May 3, 2015
C: Cheryl Tipp, Wildlife and Environmental Sounds Curator at the British Library
Cheryl Tipp is Curator of Wildlife and Environmental Sounds at the British Library. She talks about the conservation applications of sound, and the availability of sounds in the archive. This is Episode C of Conservation Sound. The natural history sounds are from the British Wildlife Recordings playlist, used under Creative Commons with attribution: soundcloud.com/the-british-library/sets/british-wildlife-recordings A recent blogpost by Cheryl about the audio being made available as Creative Commons. http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/sound-and-vision/2015/04/british-wildlife-recordings-on-the-move.html
21 minutes | Apr 20, 2015
B: Blunt, Sarah; BBC Natural History Radio Unit
Episode B of Conservation Sound is all about Sarah Blunt, Senior Producer at the BBC’s Natural History Unit in Bristol. She talks about the importance of knowing your audience, and the very wide range of programme-types available to her as part of the BBC Radio 4 output. She also tells us about her scientific background, and offers her contribution to our conservation sound manifesto.
17 minutes | Apr 6, 2015
A: Antoine and the Fox
Antoine Bertin decided to explore England’s forests through sound, in collaboration with a fox. Why? And How? This is Conservation Sound, Episode A. Hear the result in full on his website, anotinebertin.org.
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