My Research

How do we understand our place in the ‘natural world’ and our relationship with other animals, and how does this influence our wellbeing and that of other species?

My research as an academic, through the fields of psychology and anthrozoology, follows two aspects of this:

  • What can we learn from our relationships with wild animals; about us, about them, and about our collective wellbeing?
  • How we understand and manage the risks to our own safety and wellbeing through ‘natural hazards’.
“We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.”

Anaïs Nin

Caring Wildly™️

Since late 2023 I have embarked on a new research project, entitled ‘Caring Wildly’, funded by the Open University. I will be exploring multispecies relationships in the context of wildlife sanctuaries. As with my previous research, it is designed to inform how we can improve our own wellbeing, and those of our fellow animals and the environments in which we live.

A core driver for this is my own work in the rehabilitation and care of wild animals. I have experience across a wide range of species but my focus has become corvids (the crow family), and grey squirrels for which I have a licence as required by law.

To learn more about my work in wildlife rehabilitation you can follow my Nala’s Nook Facebook page.

 

Urban Wildbeing Logo
The Open University

Caring Wildly™️

Since late 2023 I have embarked on a new research project, entitled ‘Caring Wildly’, funded by the Open University. I will be exploring multispecies relationships in the context of wildlife sanctuaries. As with my previous research, it is designed to inform how we can improve our own wellbeing, and those of our fellow animals and the environments in which we live.

A core driver for this is my own work in the rehabilitation and care of wild animals. I have experience across a wide range of species but my focus has become corvids (the crow family), and grey squirrels for which I have a licence as required by law.

To learn more about my work in wildlife rehabilitation you can follow my Nala’s Nook Facebook page.

 

Urban Wildbeing Logo

The Open University

“What we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning.”

Werner Heisenberg

Volcán Galeras, Pasto, Colombia. Taken by José Camilo Martínez S. during a steam fumarole. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license, the image has been cropped.

Volcán Galeras, Pasto, Colombia during a steam fumarole. Taken by José Camilo Martínez S. Licensed under Creative Commons, the image has been cropped.

Humans & Natural Hazards

My early research career focused on risks posed to humans by natural hazards, including extreme weather, climate change, and volcanic risks. I worked across cultures to seek a better understanding of how risks are communicated by scientists and received by communities at risk, and how decisions are made and acted upon to manage those risks.

I explored a number of themes including different ways of knowing, the psychology of risk and resilience, human-environment relationships across cultures, and behaviour change; drawing primarily on health, environmental and social psychology.

“I’ve worked with Jacqui Wilmshurst on a series of documentaries for NBC and The Weather Channel about community and individual psychological response to severe weather, specifically tornados. She was extremely dedicated, passionate, and knowledgeable about the project and was an absolute asset to the films. I give her my highest recommendation and hope I will be able to work with her again in the future.”

Brent E. Huffman, Professor at Northwestern University & Documentary Filmmaker.

Nala's Nook

Nala’s Nook Wildlife Sanctuary

Wild animals belong in the wild, and returning sick, injured and orphaned animals to their natural environments should always be the first priority and aim of wildlife rehabilitators.

When this is not possible it is both my belief and my lived experience, however, that some species can and do have a good quality of life in captivity so long as their unique needs and characteristics are well understood by those who care for them. I hold the view that this is preferable to ending their lives.

This is why I now concentrate my learning, development and practice on creating the very best ‘plan b’ that I can, for a very small and select number of species and with individuals who are unable to return to the wild but who are healthy enough to live the rest of their lives in captivity.

My work in helping to rehabilitate, and create high welfare conditions for, captive wild animals has led to a great deal of learning. I use this learning both to benefit the animals themselves, and to inform my ongoing professional practice in helping my fellow humans to learn and thrive.

In 2022 I developed new learning programmes on this theme. For more information see my Wellbeing, Learning & Leadership page.

Please note that I am a small, private sanctuary and not a rescue centre. This means that I only take referrals from a small network of trusted official rescues, and do not take wildlife in from members of the public. If you wish to find help for injured, ill, or orphaned wild animals in the UK please look for a local rescue here: www.helpwildlife.co.uk.

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes