Jess is a passionate zoologist, naturalist and entomologist. She has a first class degree in Zoology and is midway through a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She also loves working with children and spent a year working as a volunteer teacher in an underprivileged school in South America. Throughout her studies, Jess has been involved with natural history television by way of animal handling, scientific advising and facilitating interactions between children and animals. In addition to presenting Minibeast Adventures, Jess has worked on; Live ‘n’ Deadly (CBBC), Deadly Mission Madagascar (CBBC), Springwatch (BBC) and Micro Monsters 3D (Sky).
Jess’ expertise and fearlessness in the field of invertebrates comes from growing up surrounded by her father’s exotic insect breeding business. She also spent much of her childhood outside, muddying her clothes by climbing trees and looking under rocks and stones for creepy crawlies. “Nature Deficit Disorder” and the disconnection between modern children and their environment is a problem that Jess hopes to tackle through her education and media work.
Enthusing children about their environment and the animals it contains has been an issue close to Jess’ heart for many years. During her first degree, Jess founded a program in which university students taught workshops to primary school children about local and global environmental issues. For this work she was awarded the Jane Goodall Global Youth Leadership award in 2010. The program now runs in schools, universities and zoos all over the UK. Jess also encourages young people to spend more time outdoors by leading challenge events all over the world, including cycling through the Himalayas, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and trekking in Nepal.
When not studying, teaching or looking for bugs, Jess enjoys rock-climbing, kickboxing and playing the saxophone and drums. She is fluent in Spanish and can communicate in British Sign Language. She has travelled all over the world, living with Bolivian tribes, chasing gibbons through the Thai jungle and rafting the rapids in Africa. Besides bugs, Jess’ primary interest is primates and she has written two theses into the behaviour and biology of apes.