Stewart McPherson is an acclaimed British natural history writer and presenter as well as the founder and owner of the Redfern group.
Steward began life obsessed with the natural world, creating a zoo in his bedroom made up of insects, fish, reptiles, spiders, frogs and giant millipedes. Like many others, he was completely inspired by David Attenborough’s wildlife documentaries and idolised 19th century naturalists such as Richard Schomburgk, Henry Moseley, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.
He visited the Natural History Museum and Royal Botanic Gardens yearly, further inspiring his dreams of becoming a naturalist, and after being hospitalised at the age of 16 he began writing his first book about the diversity of American pitcher plants.
He studied, naturally, Geography at university and received scholarships to study for a year in Germany and another in the United States. During this time, he organised a helicopter expedition to some South America’s most remote mountains – the result was a rediscovery of species that had been lost for decades. When at Yale, he also completed two natural history books as well as setting up Redfern Natural History Productions.
He went on to climb over 300 mountains after concluding that he needed to write 25 books to cover the world's key carnivorous plant genera. After receiving grants, he set out across the likes of Africa, South East Asia and South America, co-naming 35 species of plants, two of which are some of the largest pitcher plants ever found. He named one after Sir David Attenborough as Nepenthes attenboroughii, attracting a lot of media interest, later ranked as the top new species of 2010 by the International Institute for Species Exploration.
Stewart has been the face of numerous broadcast wildlife documentaries, and one of his most recent feats was an epic 70,000km journey where he visited every single one of the UK Overseas Territories. After countless attempts to get grants his luck finally changed and he headed on a voyage to explore the wildlife, cultures and history of Britain’s most remote islands. He was granted access to sites where the public cannot normally venture by many of the conservation teams and authorities, such as Boatswain Bird Island, Gough Island and dozens of other locations. He recounts his biggest honour, however, as being given permission to visit the islands of the British Indian Ocean Territory by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a place where no private film-makers had been allowed to visit for decades. His four-year journey saw him stepping onto unnamed islands and sailing unexplored waters, the result being a three-part series for the BBC, named Britain’s Treasure Islands.
Stewart founded Redfern Adventures to share his passion for natural history with a broad audience, and wants to offer trips to make experiences accessible to a wider audience. Through Redfern Natural History, he has now written and published thirty books. He's also received international awards for his conservation work, including the IUCN David Given Award for Excellence in Plant Conservation.
His natural history book that accompanied Britain’s Treasure Islands was sent to schools across the UK. Now, Stewart enjoys leading worldwide expeditions and raising money to converse wildlife, as well as continuing to work with TV channels, running Redfern and publishing further books, splitting his time between London and Sydney. See our interview with Stewart here.
Stewart McPherson is the author of:
• Britain's Treasure Islands: A Journey to the UK Overseas Territories
• Dionaea: The Venus's Flytrap
• Field Guide to the Carnivorous Plants of the United States and Canada
• Field Guide to the Pitcher Plants of Sulawesi
• Field Guide to the Pitcher Plants of Borneo
• Field Guide to the Pitcher Plants of Australia and New Guinea
• Field Guide to the Pitcher Plants of Peninsular Malaysia and Indochina
• Field Guide to the Pitcher Plants of Sumatra and Java
• Sarraceniaceae of North America
• Field Guide to the Pitcher Plants of the Philippines
• New Nepenthes: Volume One
• Sarraceniaceae of South America
• Carnivorous Plants and their habitats
• Pitcher Plants of the Old World
• Lost Worlds of the Guiana Highlands
• Glistening Carnivores - The Sticky-Leaved Insect-Eating Plants
• Pitcher Plants of the Americas