Chris Packham hails Lochaber’s Holly as ‘very special young person’

Chris Packham and Meggan McCubbin chatting to Holly via internet link on Monday. NO F19 holly and chris 02
Chris Packham and Meggan McCubbin chatting to Holly via internet link on Monday. NO F19 holly and chris 02

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Well-known naturalist, wildlife conservation campaigner and broadcaster Chris Packham has heaped praise on Lochaber’s own teenage climate and wildlife campaigner, Holly Gillibrand.

Holly, a pupil at Lochaber High School and an environment correspondent for the Lochaber Times who has garnered a national profile from her school strikes every Friday to highlight the climate emergency, appeared on Chris’ daily online Facebook programme, Wild Mornings with Chris/Self-Isolating Bird Club.

Holly was invited to appear via internet link from her home near Fort William to talk about her role in helping raptor expert Lewis Pate ring two osprey chicks on Loch Arkaig.

Holly speaking via internet link from her home outside Fort William to Chris Packham on his live online Facebook show on Monday. NO F19 holly and chris 01
Holly speaking via internet link from her home outside Fort William to Chris Packham on his live online Facebook show on Monday.

She told the Lochaber Times how the special guest appearance on the show fronted by Chris and his zoologist step-daughter, Megan McCubbin: ‘Basically, Chris sent out a message to various people, inviting them to appear on the morning livestream.

‘I was one of the people that received an email, so I got back in touch to say that I would like to talk about the Loch Arkaig ospreys because I helped Lewis ring the two chicks, Mallie and Rannoch, last year. I then got hold of some footage from the ringing and was given a date to come on.

‘I’ve been in touch with Chris for about a year, but he’s been a hero of mine for a really long time, so in a way it’s a bit surreal to know and work alongside him.

‘I was delighted to appear on his and Megan McCubbin’s morning livestream because it is really important that we stay connected to nature during and after lockdown and the Self Isolating Bird Club is a way for people to engage with the natural world from inside their homes.’

Introducing Holly on the show, Chris described the Lochaber youngster as having a ‘forthright approach to everything’, saying she said what she thinks and what she thinks is always carefully thought through with absolute clarity.

And he added: ‘I would say she is a remarkably intelligent, go-getting young woman with a great future in environmental conservation – and now I have probably embarrassed her!’