Hello, I'm Mark Joy. I have a great love of wildlife and all aspects of nature and the countryside.
As far back as I can remember, since I was a boy of 5 years old, I have always held the
countryside and nature, very close to my heart. I have grown up and lived all of my
life, in the farmlands of Lincolnshire. As a young boy, my father would take me around
the farmland hedgerows, dykes and fields and we would delight at the amazing variety of
birds, butterflies, other insects, flowers and trees that we would encounter.
On Sundays, as a family, in my father's car (my father's only full day off work), we would ride
along the country lanes, stopping every so often to observe eye catching flowers,
colourful butterflies and lots of species of birds and animals. I have my dad, Gus to thank for fuelling this interest and my mum, Rita for encouraging me at all times with excitement at what I had seen or found on my travels.
Those heady days, with the seemingly, never ending summers and relaxed pace of life
kindled a passion for nature which has never waned and will remain with me for the rest
of my days.
In my early Primary/Junior school years, at the age of 7, I took part in a bird identification competition held in lots of schools and our school (with myself and 2 classmates identifying the birds) were runners up in that competition.
My second earliest and very happy memory of achievement came in my last year at Primary school when on the School Sports Day I won the Athletics cup and also the Academic School cup. Being a very quiet and unassuming person, I just couldn't believe what had happened and it all seemed like a dream at the time!
In my latter school years I undertook and passed the Bronze, Silver and Gold levels of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and was very proud to be presented with the Gold award by Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace. At the Gold stage on the expeditions across the Lake District my project was all about the wildlife we encountered. This took my mind off the blisters, heavy rain and soaking wet clothes that were a feature of the final expedition.
In 1993 I was thrilled to be chosen as U.K Butterfly Photographer Of The Year, by Butterfly Conservation, for my photograph of 2 Silver Spotted Skippers.
For all of my working life I have worked as a Management Accountant and Finance Manager and escape the office surroundings, as often as I can, and go out into the countryside whenever work finishes for the day or weekend.
I am very grateful to my local farmers who have let me freely observe the wildlife on
their land. They are always very sympathetic to wildlife and have always listened to
conservation advice, whether it's delaying cutting a hedge or crop to give the birds
time to finish nesting or leaving 'rough' areas for flowers for butterflies, bees and
other insects to nectar and in some cases breed on.
The various conservation bodies, by creating and managing nature reserves, do a fantastic
job in preserving and creating new habitats which support birds, flowers, mammals,
amphibians, butterflies and other insects which would otherwise not be found in certain
areas or even in this country. Becoming a member of these organisations helps them to
continue with this essential work.