Back in 2006 I travelled to Canada to record material for a radio programme I wanted to make about a pioneer of conservation called Eric Collier. He published a book in 1959 called Three Against the Wilderness, which depicted the life he led with his wife and young son in the wilds of British Columbia in the 30s and 40s. It made quite an impact at the time and was chosen as book of the month by one of the big subscription book clubs. What interested me particularly was the way Collier had realised that man’s destruction of the natural environment has far-reaching consequences. He was one of the first to reintroduce an animal into an area where it had been driven to extinction – in this case the beaver. In doing so, he allowed nature’s water-worker to restore the landscape to what it had been before man destroyed it.
I was sure that broadcasters would be interested – especially as I had tracked down Collier’s son, Veasy, who was part of the whole project in the ‘wilderness’. Sadly, my enthusiasm for beavers and conservation was not shared by radio stations in Britain or Canada. That’s the risk of undertaking a project ‘on spec’.
But thanks to the web, all is not lost. I have now made the results of my research – complete with audio – available to anyone in the world who’s interested via the internet. It’s been an interesting experiment in web-casting. Though I will never get the financial return I had hoped for, at least I have the satisfaction of telling my story.
It’s all available at www.ericcollier.org.uk