Chris Jarvis is one of the Education Officers at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Having spent his formative years in Nigeria where he grew up surrounded by wildlife and kept snakes, owls, bushbabies, bushpig and other animals as pets, he has been a keen amateur naturalist all his life. During his early teens he kept a room full of frogs that he collected on trips to different countries and stuffed his bookshelves with insects, bones and fossils.
At college he read Philosophy and History before taking a PGCE, having been put off Biology by the standards of secondary education teaching of the day, but continued to read widely and collect and observe nature for fun. For the past 15 years he has been in charge of primary schools and family education at the Museum, which received the Guardian newspaper’s ‘Family Friendly Museum of the Year’ award in 2005 and ‘Clore Award for Museum Learning’ in 2011, and teaches over 7,500 children a year the basics and beyond in Entomology, Zoology, Geology and Palaeontology, encouraging them to learn by handling and observing live and dead specimens in the hope of inspiring the next generation of naturalists.
Now also running the adult education programme at the museum, he also writes and draws cartoons based on natural history, is a Fellow of the Linnean Society and has acted as a consultant on various children’s natural history books and appeared on TV and radio science shows and at various literary festivals across the UK.
“I’m particularly pleased to support Wild Learning as I am passionate about encouraging the next generation of natural scientists and nurturing children’s inherent interest in the natural world. As a child (and indeed still as an adult) I was gripped by any book that took its inspiration from nature and now realise how effective that was in motivating and developing my learning. Literacy and scientific literacy are inherently linked and Wild Learning supports both, whilst also encouraging children’s interest in the endlessly fascinating world of nature.”