Illustrated Talks by Pollyanna Pickering

Pollyanna is an award-winning and highly acclaimed speaker. All of her talks raise funds for her charitable Foundation which supports international conservation and wildlife rescue. All the talks are illustrated with slides.

A Brush with Wildlife

A Brush with Wildlife is an ideal introduction to Pollyanna’s work for audiences who haven’t heard her speak before. In this talk, Pollyanna takes a light-hearted look at her life and work in the beautiful Peak District of Derbyshire.

Pollyanna’s work as a wildlife artist has always brought her into close contact with real birds and animals, and for fifteen years she ran a small sanctuary at her home to care for and rehabilitate injured wildlife. It was initially intended that she would care for owls, hawks, and falcons, but over the years she looked after many other birds and animals including foxes, squirrels hedgehogs and many more!

In A Brush with Wildlife she tells the heart warming and often amusing stories of just a few of the many hundreds of creatures that passed through her care, and of course shows a selection of the sketches and paintings for which she is so renowned.

'Fascinating and warm-heated.......... Lavishly illustrated........ this talk describes with touching clarity how Pollyanna was able to draw on these experiences to develop her artistic talent.'
Countryside magazine

A Safari of Britain

Many people have heard Pollyanna's talks about the remarkable journeys she makes, in order to study her more exotic subjects in their natural habitats. Less well known are the journeys she makes within the British Isles sketching and studying our own native wildlife.

Join Pollyanna as she travels from rugged Devonshire Moorland to the spectacular and unrivalled landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. In Scotland, she searches for the Wildcat - although not much larger than a domestic cat this elusive animal is one of the most endangered species of cats in the entire world. Visiting wildlife hospitals to sketch, Pollyanna meets baby hedgehogs, badgers and otters. In this talk she also shares some new stories of the residents she cared for in her own wildlife sanctuary.

This charming account of her travels will open your eyes to the beauty that surrounds us - and bring a new understanding of the inspiration behind Pollyanna's award-winning paintings. (This talk is intended primarily as a follow-up for audiences who have already enjoyed ‘A Brush with wildlife’.)

“the audience were mesmerised a huge pictures taken during the month long expedition were projected onto the screen........ it's marvellous that an artist of Pollyanna's standard can spare the time to talk about her work. Pollyanna and her daughter are excellent public speakers” (Nottingham Post) Review of talk given during Gedling Borough Arts Festival

Giant Pandas and Sleeping Dragons

Pollyanna’s most famous talk tells the story of a remarkable journey into China to study and paint Giant Pandas.

Accompanied by her daughter and business partner Anna-Louise, she travelled into one of the remotest areas of the Tibetan Borderlands in her quest to paint one of the most iconic and elusive of all animals. The two became the first western women ever to travel into an isolated mountain reserve, where they were lucky enough to be able to work in a small hospital for sick pandas, bringing them into remarkably close contact with one of the rarest animals on earth.

This enchanting talk tells the story of their journey - from the hardships and frustrations to the lasting friendships made in this enigmatic and beautiful country, and shows the spectacular award-winning paintings which resulted from the trip.

A lavishly illustrated book about the trip has been published - and Anna-Louise was honoured to be a finalist in Cosmopolitan's Woman of the Year Awards for her writing and photography.

“An unforgettable and perhaps unrepeatable journey exploring a different culture and a different land. Pollyanna and Anna-Louise have illuminatingly shown us that if we love the panda as much as we say we do, we must allow it to be itself and live as nature intended” (Virginia McKenna, Actress and founder of the Born Free Foundation

The Red Wolves of Ethiopia

Join Pollyanna on one of her most challenging expeditions to date – to sketch and paint the rarest wolf in the world. Accompanied by her daughter and business partner Anna-Louise she travelled to the remote and inhospitable Bale mountain regions, where she stayed and worked with the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Project.

For many people Ethiopia may be most associated with the 1984 famine, but Pollyanna was drawn to the country by its unique wildlife. Abyssinian wolves are an elegant, long-legged species of wolf found only in a handful of scattered remote mountains in Ethiopia.

At heights of almost 5,000m above sea level Pollyanna and Anna-Louise had to contend with altitude sickness, thick cloud cover and freezing conditions as they searched for the wolves in their afro-alpine habitat. Journeying on to the walled city of Harar they risked their lives to hand- feed wild hyenas in a once in a lifetime night-time encounter. This illustrated talk is a humorous and gripping account of Pollyanna’s quest to sketch one of the least known and rarest animals in the world.

The Land of the Thunder Dragon

Join Pollyanna trekking and camping in the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, one of the world's last true wilderness environments. Pollyanna was granted a fellowship from Canada based society Artists for Conservation Foundation in support of this expedition - the first woman ever to be granted a fellowship by the group – and the first artist to be selected from outside Canada or North America. Her journey took her across the kingdom from the heat of the Indian border to the world’s only official Yeti reserve in the High Himalayas!

“Bhutan is spectacularly beautiful” Pollyanna says of the expedition “but our living conditions were incredibly tough – we camped above 4,500m and suffered from altitude sickness.” However her suffering was rewarded with sightings of a clouded leopard – a highly endangered big cat with a beautifully marked coat – as well as red pandas and golden langurs. This humorous and beautifully illustrated account of her travels brings vividly to life one of the remotest and least visited wilderness areas remaining on earth - and shows the inspiration behind Pollyanna's remarkable paintings.

Temples, Tigers and a Bear called Polly

New! Join Pollyanna as she works hands on with tigers and elephants, and treks through remote jungles in Thailand and Vietnam in search of endangered species.

The highlight of Pollyanna’s journey - and this brand new talk - is a visit to a wonderful sanctuary in Vietnam which is now home to Polly, the Asiatic moonbear rescued by the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation. Hear Polly’s heart warming story, and meet some of the other residents of this special place, high in the cloud covered Tam Dao mountains.

On Top of The World

If your image of a typical arctic explorer is of someone tall, butch, rugged and hairy, then this talk by Pollyanna will challenge your preconceived ideas! Accompanied by her daughter and business partner Anna-Louise Pollyanna, undertook the toughest of all her expeditions - a journey into the high arctic in search of polar bears. Travelling across the frozen arctic ocean by husky dog sledge, and camping in tents and igloos, the two women endured temperatures as low as -40ºc. Although they swore never to return, this recenly updated talk includes slides and painting from their second expedition, searching for migrating females and cubs!

"On top of the World is a fascinating account of two women's experiences in the high arctic.... this is a very personal account written with great insight and humour.
Wildscape magazine

An Indian Summer

Tigers are the largest, most majestic and mysterious of all the big cats.

Pollyanna has long held a fascination for painting this increasingly threatened species, and in 1990 she travelled to some of the remotest protected reserves in the jungles of Southern India. Accompanied by the world-renowned vet Bill Jordan, founder of the charity Care for the Wild, she braved the heat and discomfort to be rewarded with a sketch pad full of drawings.

In addition to the trials and tribulations of a journey through the dust of Southern India this talk also introduces the remarkable story of an orphaned sloth bear cub, and Pollyanna’s encounter with five tigers, rescued by the Born Free Foundation, now back in their natural habitat under the Indian sun.

The Eye of the Tiger

Pollyanna's talk about her second expedition into India tells the story of her travels into the foothills of the Himalayas in the North to paint the increasingly endangered Royal Bengal Tiger.

Here she stayed and worked with anti-poaching rangers in the heart of a project tiger reserve. In order to see and sketch her subjects first hand she was bounced, jolted, cut, bruised, scratched stung and bitten - and even charged by a wild tiger.

"I have had one or two scary moments over the years of travelling to paint endangered species" Pollyanna commented "but I have never experienced a fear like looking into the eyes of a snarling wild tiger from a distance of four feet."

"The slide show had superb photography, the talk had an exciting story line and it just held everybody spellbound" (Basil Foreman, Leicester Mercury)
(Review of talk given to Leics. & Rutland Trust for Nature Conservation

Temple Of The Jaguar King

Pollyanna braved her fear of scorpions and tarantulas as well as temperatures of 103ºf to bring you this talk about her quest to paint jaguars in the rain forests of Central America.

Travelling through Belize in a ramshackle assortment of four wheel drives and light aircraft - and even by canoe along crocodile infested rivers - Pollyanna was rewarded by sightings of many of the rain forests beautifully marked wild cats, brightly coloured birds - and a wonderful encounter with two orphaned howler monkeys, being hand reared for release back into the wild.

Pollyanna's primary quest however was to paint the jaguar, subject of Mayan Myths and Legend, which still roams through the ruins of the Mayan Temples, as it has for centuries.

The Company of Wolves

The very name Transylvania conjures up images of a mythical wolf-infested land of forests and gothic castles, the surreal backdrop to a spooky horror movie. In reality it is one of the last remaining strongholds of the highly endangered European wolf, an area rich in ancient folk lore, with medieval villages straight out of the pages of a fairy tale.

Join Pollyanna as she searches for wild wolves, bears and lynx in the Carpathian Mountains. Pollyanna was also able to spend time sketching two semi-tame wolves, rescued from a fur farm as young cubs, and hand reared by charity workers.

This amusing account of her travels will open your eyes to the beauty of a little known area of Europe - and bring an understanding of the inspiration behind Pollyanna's remarkable paintings.

The Land of The Snow Tiger

Pollyanna is pleased to present a talk inspired by her travels in the snowbound wastelands of Siberia, where she braved temperatures as low as -60 to paint Amur Tigers.

Pollyanna worked alongside scientists from the Siberian Tiger Project radio tracking this beautiful species - the world's largest tiger - which has been brought back from the very brink of extinction. In the 1940's only 30 remained in the wild. After a gruelling four day journey to reach a reserve in the inaccessible Sikhote Alin Mountains, Pollyanna lived in a log cabin in the forests, without running water or electricity. Here she had to walk out across the surface of a frozen river each evening to fill buckets of water through a hole in the ice - but all the hardships were worth it to get a sighting of a wild tiger. Pollyanna was also able to sketch a family of tiger cubs at a wildlife research station.

This account of her travels brings vividly to life one of the remotest and least visited wilderness areas remaining on earth - and shows the inspiration behind Pollyanna's remarkable paintings.

“Pollyanna drew a packed house.... and returns by popular request as one of the best speakers the society has been able to bring to the region” (South Holderness Gazette)

Beyond the Great Wall

During her first return journey to China in fifteen years, Pollyanna travelled far beyond the legendary Great Wall in search of some of the country’s most endangered species.

Initially Pollyanna braved temperatures as low as -29º, journeying to the rarely visited extreme North East corner of China, in search of wild Siberian Tigers

The most iconic animal to be found in China is of course the Giant Panda – designated a ‘National Treasure’ by the Chinese Government. Pollyanna’s main destination was The BiFengxia Giant Panda Base. Originally planned and built as a ‘training’ centre to prepare captive bred pandas for release into the wild, since the devastating earthquake of 2008 it has provided sanctuary for 53 pandas relocated from the breeding centre at Wolong. Pollyanna was fortunate enough to be allowed to work closely with the pandas, even sitting quietly inside their enclosures with her sketch pad.

This delightful talk traces her progress through China, the many fascinating people and animals she encountered, and of course shows the incredible paintings inspired by the journey.

Heard all of the Talks Listed Here?

If your society has already heard all of the talks described here, then please contact us for more information about these additional presentations – and for an update on any new talks available!