Joe Blossom obituary


My buddy Joe Blossom, who has died aged 83, was an skilled aviculturist, artist and educator, eager to encourage many individuals by way of his love of wildlife.

As assistant director of interpretation on the Wildfowl and Wetlands Belief, primarily based at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, from 1980 for 10 years, Joe had accountability for disseminating data for guests on the 9 centres across the UK. The then new function paved the best way for conservation organisations to speak humanity’s influence on the pure world.

This work drew on his earlier job as an training officer for the WWT, through which Joe devised and delivered the programmes that introduced visiting schoolchildren nose to nose with wildfowl, immersing them within the sounds, smells, colors and shows of the birds gathered spherical their ft. “Look! Watch! Observe!” he would say. “What are you able to study their lives? How are they occurring to reside on this altering world?”

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An illustration of topped cranes by Joe Blossom

Born in Loughborough, Leicestershire, Joe was the eldest of 5 youngsters of Sibyl (nee Rowbotham), who labored in catering and hospitality, and Joseph Blossom, the principal of an agricultural school. After Kirkham grammar college and an artwork basis course at Lancaster Faculty, he studied graphic design and illustration on the West of England Faculty of Artwork, Bristol (now a part of the College of the West of England), adopted by a PGCE at Leeds College.

In 1965, with Voluntary Service Abroad, Joe went to Kano State, Nigeria, to show artwork. On return, he taught the topic at Kirkham secondary college, and artwork and images at Rochdale Artwork Faculty. He married Jan McKie, a house economics instructor and the sister of a schoolfriend, in 1968 and gained his training officer place on the WWT 5 years later.

In 1990 Joe and his household moved to Ingham, Norfolk, the place he labored as a contract on conservation and visible communication tasks, for Norfolk Wildlife Belief and Thrigby Corridor wildlife gardens, amongst others, and continued his work as a wildlife illustrator and photographer.

Books and guides that he illustrated embody Wildfowl of Europe by Myrfyn Owen (1977), Man and Wildfowl, by Janet Kearney (1990), and The Norfolk Broads Exercise Ebook (2000). As a photographer, he travelled to locations as far afield as Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Ghana, and Madagascar, capturing footage of endangered species.

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Pink-footed geese flying over frozen farmland in Waxham, Norfolk, photographed by Joe Blossom in December 2009. {Photograph}: Joe Blossom/Alamy

Joe constructed friendships with fanatics all through the wildlife and conservation worlds. He was a member of the Herpetological Society, breeding a number of species of terrapins, and a council member of the Avicultural Society, the place he was recognised for his breeding successes of uncommon species of wildfowl and cranes, and the weak salmon-crested cockatoo. He gave invaluable help to the WWT’s Nice Crane undertaking – the cranes now breeding within the south-west are simply considered one of his many legacies.

Joe and Jan’s in any other case comfortable household life collectively was marred by the early deaths of their daughter, Becky, who was born with a coronary heart defect and died aged 11, and their elder son, Ben, who died of most cancers three days after his father.

Joe is survived by Jan, their son Theo, two grandsons and three siblings.


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