Number 29 – Dara McAnulty
Dara McAnulty (born 2004) is a Northern Irish naturalist, writer and environmental campaigner. He is the youngest ever winner of the RSPB Medal and won the Wainwright Prize for UK nature writing in 2020 after being the youngest author to be shortlisted for the award. In addition, he is being hailed by the likes of Robert Macfarlane and Chris Packham as a bright new conservation voice. He also talks about life with autism and finding peace in the wilds of Northern Ireland. In addition, this year has certainly been a challenging time to be 16 and, like his peers, Dara McAnulty had to endure a form of house arrest that means no seeing friends and no GCSEs. Unlike other locked-down teens, McAnulty is also dealing with the harsh mischance of having his first book, Diary of a Young Naturalist, published during the coronavirus crisis.
But mercifully, over the road from his modern housing estate is a wood where he takes his daily exercise. “If I didn’t have it, I would be utterly insane,” he says. “The ground there is alive with peacock butterflies”, and one morning, he saw a red squirrel “so that makes the day”, he grins. We find Dara’s passion self-evident and he is an exciting up and coming voice speaking out for the natural world.
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