I grew up watching David Attenborough. His programmes always inspired and they fuelled my teenage desire to visit beautiful places to see fabulous wildlife. The DVDs of his earlier series are now helping to open the eyes of my kids to the wonders of the natural world. It was, therefore, an unexpected joy to bump into his new series, Frozen Planet, last night.
As ever, the programme was a mix of the spectacular (icebergs forming) and the new (mating polar bears). It started with David (looking a bit cold it has to be said) issuing a portentous warning that 'we' would visit the frozen poles, perhaps for the last time. Without mentioning the impact of climate change, the message was clear - these natural wonders are at risk. So, we should do something about it.
And that is at the heart of our nature conservation mission - the need to act now to protect or restore a world richer in wildlife.
My excuse for watching telly last night was that I was in a Belfast hotel room. I'd been visiting our Northern Ireland team to hear about and see some of the work that we are doing across the water. And I was taken by the team to Lough Beg where we are trying to restore a floodplain grazing marsh for waders such as lapwing and redshank.
It's a stunning site and, according to some who know, was once the best site for waders in the whole of the UK. Change in land management practices has altered the habitat with rush and scrub taking over to the cost of the waders. Now, thanks to funding from the EU (European Regional Development Fund's INTERREG IVA Programme) and the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland, we have come up with a new project to do something about it. It's part of HELP - the halting environmental loss project - and it links work that we and others are doing across Ireland and in Scotland.
At Lough Beg we are working with famers to try to get on top of the rush and establish more sympathetic grazing regimes. With hard work and continuous investment, we intend to put back what was lost so the site can provide a wildlife spectacle once again.
I am sure that David would be approve.