Dennis Furnell

Dennis Furnell

DFurnell_thumbnailA prolific writer, broadcaster and photographer, Denniss Furnell has gain a vast amount of experience in the industry. Specialising in natural history and conservation, he has published numerous book and worked with the BBC, RSPB and the Barclays Environmental Librabry to name a few. Dennis takes some time out to talk about his career and showcase some images taken on his Sigma equipment.




  • The country Book of the Year
    (Written & illustrated)
    Published 1980
  • Britain’s wild larder
    Published 1980
  • Health from the hedgerow—A Naturalist’s Guide to Medicinal Plants
    (Written, illustrated & photographed)
    Published 1985
  • The Green guide to Amphibians, Mammals and Reptiles
    Published May 1992—Northern & Shell
  • Nature Reserves of Great Britain
    (Written, illustrated & photographed)
    Published May 1992
  • Contributions to the Living Earth Compendium
  • Reader’s Digest – The Nature Detective
    Published Spring 2000
  • The first two in a series of regional environmental tourism guide books to the countryside and wildlife of France.  Called ‘Nature of France’ (a) Brittany – published autumn 2003   (b) Western Loire & Vendée – to be published summer 2010
  • Presently researching the third in this series – Normandy & Picardy


  • Birdwatching Magazine – (Emap Pursuit) Best-seller
  • Monthly for the Country Magazine (CGA)



  • Autumn countryside feature for Woman’s Weekly Treasury
  • Natural history content for Hertfordshire County Handbook
  • Travel features for the magazine Connoisseur’s France
  • Travel features for the Tourist Board of Pays de Loire, France
  • Travel features for Brittany Ferries On Board magazine ‘Voyage’
  • Natural history features for Green magazine
  • Natural history features for the environment award winning ‘ME’ magazine
  • Thatched Living
  • Agalinks (internet)
  • Birdwatching magazine—Wet & Wild (Supplement on Reservoirs –
  • specially commissioned by the Water Authorities)
  • Natural history features for Redwood Publishing
  • (Swarovski International Magazine – also published on the Internet)
  • Features for Birding World Magazine


  • October 1981 to February 1986 compiled, presented and co-produced a weekly natural history programme for Chiltern Radio
  • March 1986 joined BBC Radio Bedfordshire (now Three Counties) to compile and present ‘Country Seen’
  • 1990 broadcast on the long-running Radio 4 programme ‘The Countryside in Spring’
  • Contributions to The Local Network and The Natural History Programme on Radio 4
  • 1994 Chiltern Gold morning programme—a once a month ‘phone-in’ about wildlife and the environment
  • February 1995 – presenting a regular weekly natural history feature
  • ‘A Walk on the wild Side’ for London News (97.3FM) commenting on the environment of
  • Greater London (illustrated with own wildlife sound recordings)
  • ‘Phone-In’ programme on LBC 1152MW
  • Currently – BBC3cr (Three Counties Radio) fortnightly natural history features – outside broadcasts.  Also providing copy and pictures for BBC’s website on reserves visited for the programmes.


  • Appearances on Anglia Television in connection with general wildlife subjects
  • Research for a 15 part BBC Children’s Television Educational series
  • (Opposites Attract) screened autumn 1991/spring 1992
  • Research for the BBC Children’s Television series Animal World -screened January 1993
  • September 1992—Nature’s Way for Anglia Television (a series of 30 programmes compiled and presented)
  • Compiled, presented and produced for WTN ‘Earth File’ (Green Ghettos) first screened April 1994. Subsequently broadcast in over 30 countries
  • Research for BBC Natural History Unit Bristol
  • Production of ‘Signposts to nature’ video—compiled from the ‘Nature’s Way’ series—specially captioned and hand-signed for people with hearing impairment
  • March 2000—BBC 2 ‘See Hear’ Compiled and presented a programme about WWT Slimbridge

The requirement within industry and local government for environmental advice has led increasingly to a demand for information and guidance on industrial impact and responsibility

  • Production of an information pack ‘Green Lines’ (a totally new look at environmental education giving teacher guidelines for middle and junior schools) Commissioned by Westminster City Council.
  • Collection Consultancy – Barclays Environmental Library / Marylebone Library
  • Lectured at Lucy Cavendish College Cambridge on Environmental Libraries
  • French National Tourist Board
  • EEC Project Advisor—Sierra Leone, West Africa
  • Visited Sierra Leone in 1992 to advise on the potential for eco-tourism
  • This was negated by the Civil War.  However, during this time (1993 – 2002) arranged support for the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone to run a yearly Children’s Wildlife Week – financed by the Rainforest Action Fund through RSPB representatives.
  • Re-establlished personal contact with the present Minister of Tourism and General Manager for Tourism in November 2004.  The Manager is Cecil Williams – still the same person that was Manager in 1992.
  • Pacific Asia Travel Association—Environment Committee 1997 – 98
  • Moderator at the 8th International PATA Chapter Congress in Thailand (1996)
  • Consultant on Wildlife Issues for BT Involvement with the “Hear for All Campaign”
  • Part of BT’s overall campaign for Care in the Community.
  • Consultant for Swarovski Optik, Austria.
  • Created UK operation for new internet-based division, including design and content for Swarovski Optik’s new website – – published on the net – August 2003
  • Pooles Cavern, Buxton, Derbyshire
  • Award-winning (Heart of England Tourism Access Award) Summer 2003
  • Access Training for Cheshire County Council Countryside Officers 2005/2006
  • Access Training for British Waterways at 11 different venues 2005/2006


  • Patron and Trustee of the Cat Survival Trust, a charity for the protection and study of the world’s wild felines and their natural habitats (The Cat Survival Trust incorporates The Earth Trust and The Mission Rainforest Project in Argentina)
  • Fellow of the R.S.P.B.
  • UK PATA Chapter Environment Committee 1997-98
  • (The Pacific Asia Travel Association represents all aspect of tourism in south east Asia and
  • Australia)
  • Honorary member of the Henry Doubleday Research Association for Organic Agriculture
  • Co-founder of the Visual Language Media Group
  • (The first Television Company run by and for people with hearing impairment)
  • Elected in 1986, by public election, to be a lifetime Trustee of the Box Moor Trust –
  • a 400 year old common land Trust at Box Moor (nr. Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire
  • Currently—Environment Chairman
  • Patron of the Rainforest Action Fund and Froglets Club incorporating the Sierra Leone Forest Project with Birdlife International and the RSPB.  The Rainforest Action fund supported CSSL (Conservation Society of Sierra Leone) throughout the conflict. Other societies supported are IOSF – The Hairy-nosed Otter Project in Thailand and the Cat Survival Trust project with snow leopards.
  • Joint President of the International Otter Survival Fund
  • Member of the Dacorum (West Hertfordshire) Environment Forum

A keen traveller, Dennis and his wife Ann, have researched, designed and led natural history environmental holidays in the Dordogne and Menorca.
In January 1992 Dennis made a trip to Sierra Leone on behalf of their government and the EEC to investigate the potential for sustainable tourism—to look at the destruction of rain forests in the region and advise on alternative strategies.  Since then Dennis has helped to raise funds to allow CCSL to conduct regular ‘Wildlife Weeks’ for children in Freetown. (Now that the situation his more settled Birdlife International and the RSPB are currently exploring the creation of a protected area “Gola Project.”)  Dennis will be taking an active part in this project.
Lectures on the countryside and conservation at West Herts. College, to schools, charities and many other groups, including the world-renowned health resort of Champneys at Tring in Hertfordshire.
The study of organic pollution control methods for water and solid wastes.
Alternative energy and transport technology particularly the practical applications of Solar energy to supply electricity to power hearing support equipment and remote video cameras in bird observatories and hides.
Environmental impact assessment.
June 1997 – Designed and organised ‘Sounds natural’ – an electronic supplemental system funded by BT for hearing impaired visitors to wildlife sites.  Systems have been installed so far at:

  • Strumpshaw Fen (R.S.P.B. reserve in Norfolk)
  • Welney (WWT reserve in Cambridgeshire)
  • Rutland Water (Wildlife Partnerships/Anglian Water
  • Leighton Moss (RSPB reserve in Cumbria)
  • Slimbridge (WWT headquarters in Gloucestershire)

Inventor of world first solar-powered Hearing support system at Cley Marshes Nature Reserve, North Norfolk