Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Visiting Writer from England

Amanda Banks, a freelance writer from England, is volunteering with and writing about Laurie Murison and Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station (GMWSRS) throughout July. Below is Amanda's account of how and why she is here:

I guess you could say I am not your usual suspect to be staying at the GMWSRS. I am not a researcher, am not studying to be one and cannot claim to be an expert on anything with a dorsal fin.

Instead, I am an ex-dancer and ex-teacher who has always dabbled in writing and conservation. In July 2010, I decided to branch out into a new career in writing. With my factual work, I am interested in exploring conservation and psychology related themes, plus the inevitable links between them.
I worked for nine months with, compiling a global report on whale and dolphin conservation organisations worldwide. Part of my job entailed encouraging over 100 organisations to participate. You could say that I was thorough and tenacious in this role, Laurie preferred the term 'cybernag', which certainly made her stick in my memory!

While working with Planet Whale I dreamed up a bold venture to embark on a three and a half month writing trip, volunteering my time for three cetacean conservationists and while doing so write about their lives, work and passions. I believe that conservationists are truly inspiring people and I wanted to share to their stories as encouragement to others to follow their dreams. I contacted three individuals whom I had established a connection with through Planet Whale, and guess what, Laurie was one.
Amanda Banks
I have been involved in this project since mid-April, writing stories about conservationists on my blog: I began in California writing about Peggy Stap of Marine Life Studies. From there I travelled to Peru and wrote about Stefan Austermühle and Nina Pardo of Mundo Azul. I have also been fortunate enough to interview other whale conservationists along the way, such as Bob Talbot, Pieter Folkens and Bob Bowman. And now I am on Grand Manan Island, on the last leg of my trip, writing about Laurie Murison. When I return to England in August I will be fashioning some of the blog posts into magazine articles.

I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying myself writing about Laurie. Laurie's life, work and knowledge are truly fascinating and she is a wonderfully clear and descriptive interviewee, all of which makes my task of turning her words into an engaging read an easy one! To read the first post on Laurie, visit:
From there you can scroll forwards to read the following posts on her, and backwards to read about the other conservationists I have been writing about.

I hope you enjoy reading about this incredible woman, and do feel free to leave a comment about her when you visit!

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