Apr 23

Helen Roddis, ARKive Species Text AuthorI’m originally from Manchester but I seem to be migrating slowly south – I did my degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Birmingham, before making my way down to Bristol to work for ARKive. In between I did some conservation volunteer work abroad with the RSPB. I’ve been with the team here for a year now, working as a Species Text Author.

Away from the office I love to spend time outdoors. I run, ski, and do lots of walking in the winter, and come summer hopefully I’ll be out cycling and climbing on the weekends too.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently writing texts for all sorts of species that are affected by climate change, as part of a project supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch to create some great new climate change pages on ARKive. At the moment I’m working my way through the mammals on my list and so I’ve just written the Vanauatu flying fox and I’m now putting together a text for Blyth’s flying fox – they should be live on the website soon! I’m also writing news stories for the blog, and any other text author-y jobs that get thrown my way.

What animal skill would you most like to have?

I think I’d like to be able to run as fast as the cheetah, the fastest land mammal in the world. Maybe I could join Ellie in the 2012 Olympics, or at the very least it would mean I’d get round my next half marathon a bit quicker!

Which three people would you invite to the ultimate dinner party?

I’ve had a pretty tough time whittling my invites down to just three people!

I love reading so I’d definitely invite one of my favourite authors to talk about the inspiration behind their books. Someone like J.K. Rowling perhaps – I’d love the chance to pick her brain about how she came up with all the ideas for the Harry Potter series! I also think I’d invite the Olympic heptathlete Denise Lewis, who was an inspiration to me when I was younger. The final person would have to be Stephen Fry – I think he’s brilliant and would be sure to have some fantastic stories to liven up the evening! 

Where in the world would you most like to go?

This is the hardest question by far. I love travelling, and I have a long, long list written down of all the places I’ve been inspired to go to. Hopefully one day I’ll get the chance to visit them all.

If I could leave my desk and jump on a plane right now though, the first place I’d be heading is to the mountains of Nepal to trek the Annapurna circuit.

Which celebrity do you most look like?

I don’t think I particularly look like anyone – but because of my red hair I’ve been compared to Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and apparently I looked a bit like the twins in The Parent Trap when I was younger!

What’s the best wildlife encounter you’ve ever had?

After finishing my degree I worked on an island in the Seychelles as a conservation warden. It was a haven for wildlife, especially seabirds and endangered species like the Seychelles magpie robin and the Seychelles warbler. I saw some pretty spectacular things – going snorkelling and coming face to face with a leatherback turtle was pretty amazing, as was waking up one morning to glimpse a female humpback whale and her calf swimming past the island!

What’s your favourite thing on ARKive?

I’ve had a lifelong obsession with penguins – at one point in my childhood I sat in my room and counted no less than 29 different kinds of penguin-related paraphernalia! I especially like Emperor penguins and King penguins. They’re just so majestic and beautiful, and the thought of how they endure the Antarctic winter always amazes me.

Tell us an animal related joke.

What do you call a penguin in the desert?


  • logan olsen (April 24th, 2011 at 3:47 am):

    lonesome gorge shold be on arkive

  • Yohan Philip (April 25th, 2011 at 12:18 am):

    Hi Helen,,I love your recoding of the fish species and other endangered animals on ARKive.

    I have a coffee shop in Sydney , Australia and I usually have a recordings of TV/ Entertainment programs at my Cafe for customers’ viewing.

    Because I am an animal lover I wanted to show the wonderful variety of rare species shown on your web to my Cafe customers. I wanted to find out if you will allow this.

    Will there by any copyright infringement if I do so and allow customer to view your recordings . These are purely entertainment to educate people on these animals.
    Yohan Philip

  • ARKive blog - Meet the ARKive Team – Liz Shaw (May 29th, 2011 at 10:01 am):

    […] Helen doesn’t mind, I’d also love to invite J.K. Rowling so I can find out how she came up with such […]