My Wild Life campaign is inspiring people to share how important Cornwall’s nature is to them, writes Chris Betty, Communications Officer for Cornwall Wildlife Trust...


My Therapy

Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s campaign to increase awareness of the importance of Cornwall’s unique natural environment and precious wildlife, asks personalities to explain what is important about Cornwall to them. My Wild Life features them in portraits used on posters seen in various locations throughout the county.

Now in its third year the My Wild Life campaign continues with three more contributors; a journalist and campaigner, a filmmaker and a sportswoman, all renowned in their own fields

National newspaper journalist Kris Hallenga was only 23 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has lived with terminal cancer for the last seven years and gains great strength by connecting with nature in the Cornish landscape.


Living with cancer means adapting to a new normal’, says Kris. Some days this can be easy, manageable, and doable. But sometimes I need to escape everything, every thought about having cancer, every aspect of my life, and the one place I have managed to do this is in Cornwall.

You can’t beat a blustery walk on the beach to clear your mind of frightening thoughts and nothing is more therapeutic than a fresh stroll through woodland when summer says good bye and autumn colours burst into life. Cornwall has always been a very special escape for me and I feel lucky that it’s part of my life with cancer.’

Most Read

Kris’s portrait entitled My Therapy features her at the Trust’s Kennall Vale Nature Reserve and was taken by Cornish photographer Jack Johns.

Kris was told three times that she was too young to get breast cancer; as a result she and her twin sister Maren launched the CoppaFeel! breast cancer awareness charity aimed at young people. She received public attention after being profiled in Kris: Dying to Live, a BBC documentary.


My Focus

Although not personally in the public eye, the work of Ian McCarthy will be well known to thousands of television viewers. Award-winning wildlife filmmaker Ian has been behind the lens of some of the BBC’s biggest nature programmes, and has worked with David Attenborough in some of the earth’s most remote wildernesses on series such as Life in the Freezer, awarded a BAFTA for his camerawork for Blue Planet and awarded an Emmy for Planet Earth and Frozen Planet.

Now he features in front of the lens, in a portrait entitled My Focus, taken by Alastair Sopp at Gribben Head near Fowey. This is one of Ian’s favourite places in Cornwall and where he spent long days filming a pair of peregrines as part of his upcoming Cornish wildlife film which displays the wonders of Cornwall’s wildlife and wild places like never before.

Throughout his childhood Ian would visit Cornwall every year and would wander for hours on his own hoping for the chance of seeing a grey seal, peregrine falcons, ravens or maybe even a dolphin.

As a child I loved Cornwall with a passion, now I live here I still love Cornwall,’ he says. Cornwall is where sea, sky and land meet, where I can still feel the rhythms of wild nature in the pulse of the tides, in winter storms battering against the shore or the wild ringing cry of a peregrine falcon as she displays over her ancestral cliffs. Cornwall is where my love of nature really began.’

The seas around Cornwall have always inspired artists, writers, photographers and poets, but for some the only option is to actually be on the water.

My Adventure

Sea kayak adventurer Erin Bastian has undertaken epic adventures to the likes of Patagonia, Peru, Nepal, Norway, Tanzania, Mexico and Sardinia, but more than anything she loves to return home to Cornish waters.

Cornwall is like the holy grail of coastal adventure to me,’ she says. I have kayaked all over the world yet love returning to my home, paddling stretches of the Cornish coast always teaming with wildlife, and crystal clear waters. Kayaking for me is the best way to see nature. You can glide silently up to observe wildlife in their own habitat without disturbing it, I even get to see nesting bird colonies from a totally unique perspective which other people rarely get to experience.

Nature is the primary reason I started kayaking and it is a huge part of the adventure. We need to try our best to preserve what we have, it is beautiful and humbling.’

Erin’s My Adventure portrait for My Wild Life was taken at Cadgwith Cove, The Lizard by Cornish photographer Alastair Sopp.

We are so grateful for all the support these personalities have given our My Wildlife Life campaign,’ adds Chris Betty, Communications Officer for Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Through our posters we are sure that many people will have been inspired to get out and enjoy the landscape around them”.

My Wild Life has been supported by the likes of celebrated Cornish artist Kurt Jackson, wild food expert and TV presenter Thom Hunt, Cornish-born and bred Olympians Helen Glover and Annie Vernon, surfer Jack Johns and Cornish fisherman Francis Harris.

Their portraits were taken in each person’s favourite wildlife location by Alastair Sopp, a talented photographer, before his tragic

death in June last year at the age of 30. His role was taken over by his friend Jack Johns, a well-know surfer, photographer and film maker who was featured at the start of the campaign.

Alastair was an incredibly talented photographer as the photographs he took for the trust demonstrate,’ adds Chris.

Undoubtedly they will have attracted the attention of many hundreds of people throughout Cornwall and continue to inspire them to connect with our amazing wildlife and wild places.’