We’re thrilled to announce our podcast, Curious about Nature, hosted by Buttercup founder, Rachel, will be released this March – available to stream for free on all major platforms!
In the pipeline for some time, our team’s been working hard behind the scenes to make this vision a reality.
The podcast will feature conversations between Rachel and a host of wildlife experts, environmental activists, educators and more.
Our first guest on the show will be Clare, creator of Twigs nature magazine – the first children’s magazine of its kind to be environmentally friendly and compostable. Twigs encourages positive mental health in children and solution-focussed care for the planet.
In advance of this month’s episode, we spoke to Clare about her motivations for starting the publication, her journey toward its release, and how she hopes to inspire children to develop a deeper connection with nature, through fun and engaging activities and stories.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what Twigs is.
Hello, my name is Clare and I am a mum from Blackburn, Lancashire. Last year I launched Twigs Magazine. Twigs is the earth friendly, plastic free and compostable children’s magazine which encourages positive mental health, enables solution focussed thinking and incorporates the permaculture ethics of earth care, people care and future care. Twigs focuses on how we are all interconnected and therefore what we do has an impact on everything around us.
Twigs believes that ‘If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it’ (Sobel, D 1996).
Clare and her son
What inspired you to create Twigs?
The idea for Twigs first occurred after I’d had my son in 2015, as my view of the world and also my knowledge of alternative ways of living (as opposed to the status quo) was changing and expanding. I‘m frustrated that I had been unconsciously in denial and angry that it had taken me until my forties to begin to see the world differently. Twigs has brought me a chance to do something, to help others via the younger generation and be an activist in my own way.
I’ve been working on this idea for a few years and it has now come to its fruition due, in no small part, to the dedication and outstanding services of Sally the illustrator and Mike the graphic designer.
Front cover of Twigs magazine
What qualities were important to you when designing the magazine?
The name Twigs was relevant as it is from twigs that buds, bloom and grow. I liked this idea, that something small, no matter where it is, will strive to grow well and to its full and true potential. Bebber Bee is our environment warrior who features throughout the magazine, helping provide information on each activity.
My son came up with Bebber bee and Zinga caterpillar as a toddler. It was a great way to reduce any fear that my son had about Bees. An important species, bees are often feared due to the buzzing and their potential to sting. So I used Bebber as the only anthropomorphic character, to try and help reduce fear. Bebber as a name is also an easier word for young children to say.
Bebber bee, an ‘environment warrior’ who features in Twigs magazine
How do your own interests and lifestyle feed into your work?
I have always been empathic and very conscious of wanting to do right and to do no harm. Since the birth of my son this has really been brought to the forefront: I need and want to help others
I’ve previously worked as a nurse and as a support tutor in a college, so the accessibility aspect of the magazine was a big thing for me. I want Twigs to be accessible to all. Also having mental health issues I wanted to add in mindfulness, resilience techniques and yoga. Throughout, Twigs aims to celebrate uniqueness and raise children’s self – confidence.
Myself and family are not perfect, but strive to make a difference in our own lives and that of others. I am very proud of Huxley. I love listening to him and how he views the world and all the solutions and ideas he has. I want to encourage other children’s solution focussed ideas and imaginings.
Also, my son is Myopic – he has severe short sightedness. When I researched it, one of the best things to help is to be outside in nature! There is an increasing amount of children being diagnosed with myopia due in part to increased close work, screen time and being indoors more.
Why d’you think it’s so important that publications like this exist?
“People need an alternative to the capitalist, money-making magazines that dominate the supermarket shelves, with their glossy thin paper and their single use plastic tat.”
Many of these magazines encourage more waste through packaging and their advertising of more commercialised products.
I noticed also that when my son used such magazines his colouring pens/pencils didn’t sit right on the paper and the glossy paper would reflect light making it too shiny for him with his glasses. There was too much information and lots going on on a page which made him just rush through each page, as it didn’t keep his interest. I wanted something different, accessible and engaging.
Through my research I realized there are lots of magazines that look at the environment and climate change, but there are no magazines that actually look at the interconnectedness of all living things and the impact we all have on each other. Many magazines educate about countries and species, but the individual is quite removed from it. Twigs aims to bring our awareness back and look at how we can all connect with nature, look after it and use the natural resources we have.
An example page from Twigs magazine
It seems that building community and championing kindness toward one another is very important to you, as well as encouraging respect for the planet. Would you agree?
Yes, wholeheartedly! Being kind and having respect for ourselves, others and our environment is so important. Showing these qualities to ourselves also means we can have boundaries and know what feels right for us. That way, we can hopefully all find our community/ tribe and be with those that support us and show us kindness and respect in return.
I think the permaculture ethics sum it up well: people care, earth care and fair shares.
What’s next for Twigs?
I have too many ideas! I would love for Twigs to be affordable for all – so I am looking at implementing a pay-it-forward scheme and subsidies, or even a pay-what-you-feel scheme. I’d like Twigs to help schools too and twin schools to help share costs and resources.
I’d like to give it a greater community feel, so I would like to look at different counties and countries adding their own pages to the back so that it is relevant to the places where people live.
I’d like Twigs to become a viable alternative in more places so that an informed choice can be made by the public.
A massive thank you to Clare for her inspiring words and wisdom. Follow Buttercup’s Instagram page for updates on the release of the podcast episode!
The Buttercup Team