Meet Stewart McPherson

Stewart McPherson founded Redfern Natural History Productions in 2006 to produce focused natural history products that did not then exist. Books he wished he could have read. Expeditions he wished he could have joined. And wildlife documentaries he wished he could have watched. 

Fascinated with wildlife from a very early age, Stewart spent 6 months undertaking research in Latin America and Southeast Asia as a teenager, and he wrote his first two wildlife books at the age of 20 whilst studying at the University of Durham, England, the University of Tuebingen, Germany and Yale University, USA.

On graduating from university, Stewart set up Redfern and set out to establish the company by writing a series of 25 books on carnivorous plants. At the time, there was a glaring lack of available information on hundreds of species of these extraordinary plants that capture and kill animals. Many had never been photographed in the wild nor studied in any detail, and some had never even been seen since they had been discovered a century or more before. Stewart resolved to document each species in full detail in its natural habitat, and began seven years of intense travel to climb 200 mountains across Southeast Asia, Africa and South America. He spent a cumulative total of two and a half years in the field to complete his observations. Many of his journeys were relatively simple, lasting just a few days or less, others required more extensive effort, and in a few cases, he spent two weeks or more exploring a remote mountain for a single species of carnivorous plant.

About thirty of the mountains that he climbed had not been explored before, and in these remote wildernesses, he discovered and named thirteen new species of carnivorous plants, including two of the largest pitcher plants ever found (which he named Nepenthes palawanensis and Nepenthes attenboroughii after his hero, Sir David Attenborough). Stewart also re-discovered and re-described a further twenty seven species, varieties and forms of carnivorous plants, many of which had been lost from science for over 100 years (see the ‘New Species’ pages of this website under the About menu).

Whilst writing his series of books, Stewart raised and donated more than US $10,000 from sales to support conservation of carnivorous plants. And concerned that many of the species which he himself discovered face imminent extinction, Stewart set up Ark of Life to conserve species on the brink of extinction.

In recent years, Stewart filmed a conservation documentary on the lost world tepuis of Venezuela, and featured in several documentaries relating to carnivorous plants produced by the BBC, SkyVision and others broadcasters and production companies.

In 2012, Stewart began an ambitious filming project to undertake the first journey in history to all 14 of the UK’s Overseas Territories – Britain’s remote islands scattered across the seven seas. The territories are globally important wildlife centres and harbour an incredible diversity of wildlife which is chronically under-appreciated in the mainland UK. The project involves filming and producing a four part natural history documentary series and collaborative natural history book. The journey has taken Stewart to the most remote inhabited islands on earth, using Royal Airforce planes, the last working Royal Mail postal ship, steel-hulled ice ships, trawlers and cargo vessels. Along the way, Stewart and team visited 19 major locations to film colonies of half a million penguins on South Georgia, follow the mass-march of the land crabs on Ascension Island, observe Pitcairn and Henderson Islands’ unique birdlife, and document blue iguanas on Cayman and the exquisite coral reefs of the Caribbean territories. Below is a small selection of production stills from the 9 months of filming completed so far.

As Redfern continues to expand its exciting range of books, expeditions and documentaries, Stewart’s commitment to serious natural history remains. His mission, and the company’s stated goals are the production of products that facilitate the study, observation and description of the natural world, to share the beauty and diversity of the planet’s natural heritage with 21st century naturalists to further understanding and inspire protection and preservation.

 

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Observing a green turtle lay eggs on Ascension Island.

 

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Following the march of the land-crabs on Ascension Island.

 

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Amongst Sooty Terns on Ascension Island.

 

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On location in the rainforests of Montserrat Island.