Two years ago, masked men arrived at Chris Packham’s New Forest house, smashed a stolen car into his gates and exploded it.
It followed months of death threats and intimidation from people who were unhappy about his comments on the illegal persecution of birds of prey. (Packham has been in the news again this week after being assigned bodyguards while filming the new series of Winterwatch, due to threats made against his family.)
The blaze also burned to a crisp his wooden gates, and what Packham did with the charred remains says a lot about this issue’s cover star.
Seeing beauty in the burned wood, he carefully cut them up into three table-sized chunks and had them encased in resin. He gave one to a friend, is auctioning another off to raise money for charities who oppose the views of the people who burned the gates down and is keeping another as a memento. Why? “Because I knew I had to turn it into something positive,” he said.
Our interview is full of such details that divulge what makes Packham tick, from his passion for punk to his determined faith in young people and their planet-protecting instincts.
Image: Pål Hansen