About Earth Calling
We are a leading provider of inspirational, hands-on environmental education; nationally recognised, bespoke grounds development and wildlife fun and experiences for young people. With our unique and proven mix of knowledge, training, experience and passion, we can bring wildlife and the environment to life for you.
Established in 1999, our ethos is simple… through the passion and motivation of our team we encourage children and young adults to get involved in the future protection and conservation of their local environment. Gus chose the name Earth Calling after the obscure spacey electronic opening track on Hawkwind’s awesome 1972 classic ‘Space Ritual’ album….not a lot of people know that.
Meet the team
Gus started Earth Calling in 1998. He training as a chef, ran a pub and worked in a laboratory before he chose to follow his true calling. He studied conservation management at college, and becoming a senior leader with the Wildlife Watch, and through this initial involvement in environmental education that led to the formation of Earth Calling, and he hasn't looked back since. Gus loves beaches, boogie boarding and snowboarding, old trees, foraging, JRR Tolkien, science fiction movies, tattoos the mighty Hibees and above all his gals (Lisa, Nomey and Feebs). Trivia fact...Gus once played bass in Edinburgh punk band 'State Oppression', has been chased through the dense Sumatran rainforest by 2 extremely large adult male orangutans and looked into the eye of a very large humpback whale...
Over a decade ago Ben was part of Earth Calling as a schoolboy and learnt there to really appreciate being outside, and has come full circle to become a member of staff and instil that same love of the outdoors in others. Having been fortunate enough to work and live in the jungles and savannahs of South America, Ben has fully embraced the wealth of Scottish woods and wildlife. His favourite wildlife encounter was being (deliberately) stranded with half a million puffins on a set of uninhabited islands in the Hebrides and his favourite Earth Calling activity is building fires and wild cooking.
Gonda was born in the Netherlands where she was introduced to all year camping just after she was born. She enjoyed the sight of nature from the kid carrier on the back of her mum. When she was seven she moved to Scotland. A real Mecca for outdoor lovers. She enjoyed all the corners of Scotland., excavating a dolphin skeleton, bouldering on Shetland, watching Gannets, Puffins, Eagles and Cetaceans. She loves wild swimming and outdoor cooking but still hates uphill walking due to her Dutch flatland roots. And she loves to hang out with her 5 chickens.
Jaima loves a good adventure! Originally from Flagstaff AZ where she grew up amongst the beautiful ponderosa pine forest, she made her way to Edinburgh via San Diego CA - where she went to university for her BA & MA in Anthropology; Portland OR - she worked as a conservation educator at the Oregon Zoo and some of her fondest memories are of her adventures wandering through old-growth forests and along the Oregon Coast with her wolfy dog, Luna; and then to Oxford for her PhD where she studied the highly endangered Javan gibbon - she’s helped release three pairs of Javan gibbons back to the wild! She loves all things related to forests, folklore, fantasy and the supernatural, and especially loves exploring the wilds of Scotland that drew her north. She is happy to have found her place with Earth Calling where she hopes to inspire others to love the natural world and all of its inhabitants (wolves!) as much as she does. She is also a CATurday teacher at Edinburgh Zoo, so you might see her there as well!
Anna will generally be found on, in or under the sea. She loves snorkelling, paddleboarding, wild swimming, rock pooling and SCUBA diving, particularly in the cold waters of Scotland. Anna joined Earth Calling in 2021 after completing her master’s degree in Marine Biology at the University of Edinburgh. As well as all the marine creatures, Anna loves bugs, and can’t wait to do some insect ID sessions with her Earth Calling groups. In her spare time, Anna loves to read and go camping on the beautiful beaches around Edinburgh. Her favourite wildlife encounter was swimming with manta rays in Indonesia over a reef of colourful corals.
Ant’s childhood in the Scottish Borders meant hills, castles, and rugby. After university he travelled the world working as a chef, notably New Zealand, where there are less castles but plenty of hills and rugby! He was lucky enough to be involved in conservation and the release of a kiwi back to the wild. Now back in Scotland Ant is an amateur rugby referee and can regularly be found hill walking(there’s a bit of a theme here). His favourite animal encounter was swimming with a whale shark, the biggest fish in the world, off the coast of Australia.
Alix’s Earth Calling journey started way back in primary school. She always enjoyed the woodland break as a change from the city with the interesting activities such as shelter building. In high school Alix did the Duke of Edinburgh Award which saw days of walking and camping which further ignited her interest in the outdoors. Alix loves the opportunity to explore the woods and has even found her new favourite animal: maggots. Her hobbies include long walks (especially on the beach) and colouring. Her favourite wildlife memory is having an instructor intentionally capsizing her canoe as part of a safety lesson to then pull it back up all whilst in the water. She joined Earth Calling in 2021 and is very excited to learn even more about the wildlife.
Fearne joined the club when she was in Primary 5. She had fun learning about nature and playing wildlife games. She had always said that she wanted to help at Earth Calling once she went to high school and eventually volunteered in S3. She is now working towards her Silver Duke of Edinburgh award and using her wildlife club hours for her volunteering section. She loves helping the younger members of the club with their learning and activities. Her favourite activities involve creating things, and thinks its great fun to help the members build shelters and make artwork when they visit the woods, beach and river. In her spare time she loves to draw, paint and sew and when she leaves school she'd like to study biological science then go into medicine or forensics.
People say the nicest things
I have been a part of – or connected to – earth calling for 13 years now. I can honestly say it is the most positive, caring and funny group I’ve ever been a part of and I’ve loved every minute. Not only has it taught me so much about nature and the wildlife I live so close to; but the people working, volunteering and taking part in the clubs have helped me be a happier, kinder and more considerate person. Waiting excitedly for the next time I can run around, climb a tree and get myself covered in leaves with the club.
Earth calling is an extremely supportive and inclusive club where children’s emotional and physical needs are considered. My boys have consistently loved going for many years and their knowledge of local wildlife and nature is amazing thanks to Gus and his team.
I have worked with Earth Calling for many years across a range of schools in Edinburgh both in developing our grounds and educating pupils. Earth Calling are a great asset to have as part of the school community, unique in what they do. Pupils always look forward to the EC sessions, whether it be identifying flora and fauna or building small fires. They have become part of our school curriculum which all pupils experience.
We have been doing some amazing stuff with Earth Calling over the last school year. We have built fires, put up and down tents, map read, paced, put up trangias and cook on them. Learnt about plants and much, much more. The staff have a wide range of knowledge on many different aspects of nature and the outdoors and have a great rapport with the children. Earth Calling is inspirational, exciting, challenging and the most important part ..it’s fun!
Earth Calling was always great fun and encouraged me to care about the wildlife in my local parks and woods. The club instilled in me a curiosity about nature and it’s lovely to see that same curiosity being sparked in children across Edinburgh. I look fondly upon my time with Earth Calling and all the fun stuff I got to do.
Earth calling lets you get outside, have fun and get dirty!
Taking part in Earth Calling clubs and holiday activities is always such a joy. Gus and his team do an amazing job of getting the best out of every child and inspiring a love and curiosity for wildlife. It’s amazing to watch them gain an appreciation for the natural world that is often right on their doorstep.