ALISON Steadman has agreed to become an ambassador for the London Wildlife Trust.
In her .leisure time, she loves walking in the capital's green spaces.
“My love of birds and nature started when I was you."she says.. "We had a small garden which was my dad's pride and joy.
"He grew rhubarb, and I remember looking under the leaves and finding caterpillars - I didn’t know the names of them but I loved them.
"I don’t really see caterpillars in the garden anymore and I find that quite worrying.”
She continues: "“I think it is really important to encourage people to look in the garden and turn over a stone or a leaf and see what’s there.
"With the internet, you can look stuff up immediately so you know what you’ve found. Once you get children interested in nature, it stays with them for the rest of their life.”
After finding fame with the 1970s TV plays Nuts in May, and Abigail’s Party, Alison began presenting nature programmes in the 1980s.
“I did a show for children,"she says. "One week it was about ants, and there was a boy of 11 who talked about how they lived, and how they were better organised than us!
"I loved doing that programme, my agent didn’t think I’d want it but I ended up having an absolute ball.”
In recent years, her enthusiasm for wildlife has seen her travel around the Shetlands for an ITV documentary.
“We had a great guide called Brydon Thomason who showed us puffins - they are the most wonderful creatures, I love the fact that they mate for life!
"It was fascinating to learn about how their bright beaks are used for courtship.”
The work of the Trust that Alison deems most important is getting children enthused.
“When my son was five, he brought a friend home for tea and there was a huge bumblebee at the window.
"His friend wanted to kill it with a newspaper. I said ‘no’ and he looked at me like I was mad.
"It was what he had been taught to do by his dad - children need to be taught that every creature is important and is not just something to be stamped on.”
Alison is also keen to ensure as much of London remains natural as possible.
"These big housing developments can be really unfriendly to nature and we need to do more to keep our green spaces,” she adds.
*Alison Steadman is the London Wildlife Trust's second ambassador for wildlife - the other is author and broadcaster David Lindo.
|Puffin (photo: CGP Grey/http://www.cgpgrey.com via Wikimedia Commons)|