A word in your ear: Our favourite nature podcasts

A word in your ear: Our favourite nature podcasts

Informative, soothing, or a mixture of both, these nature podcasts are well worth a listen.

Whether you’re looking to add an element of education to your commute, or just want to make folding the washing slightly less tedious, nature podcasts can be a salve for the mind.

Nature Guys

Like sitting back on the porch and chatting with your dad or your favourite uncle about the natural world, Nature Guys is a laid back podcast series that takes you to a place of chill observation and wonder. Each episode focuses on a different element of the world outside your window, with subjects ranging from mushrooms to total eclipses. Launched in 2016 by Cincinnati-based nature lovers Bob and Bill, who met while volunteering as hike leaders at a nature centre, this is a meditative podcast that also helps to inspire outdoor exploration.


BBC Earth Podcast 

This long-running nature podcast went on hiatus in 2022 but there's plenty of timeless material to explore in the archives. One episode, intriguingly named Ghosts, traces fossils of long-extinct creatures that once roamed the Earth. Such is the charm of the BBC Earth Podcast, with its ability to find new and interesting angles on familiar subjects. With humour and a sense of excitement palatable in the voices of hosts zoologists Rutendo Shackleton and Sebastian Echeverri, and beautiful animal sounds captured from the field, this is a great way to connect with the goings on of this planet.


 RNZ Deer Wars

Part history lesson, part environmentalist tale, this is the story of a 50 year struggle to control the red deer population in New Zealand’s high country. Hunters made good money shooting these animals, which were wreaking havoc on the natural environment, and their efficiency increased with the introduction of helicopters - but what happens when they get too efficient? With a good dose of blood, sweat and tears, Deer Wars is an interesting segment of previously little known New Zealand history.


The Hidden Language of Trees

For fans of such fiction as Richard Powers’ The Overstory or The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak, the topic of this podcast may ring a few bells. Suzanne Simmard is the Canadian scientist whose work revolves around the interconnected nature of trees and the power of the forest ecosystem. This is the topic of her conversation with host Tony Juniper on this episode of Intelligence Squared, a lively conversational podcast that covers a wide range of subject matter. 


How Engaging in the Natural World Benefits You

This episode of the engaging and upbeat How to Be a Better Human podcast talks about the concept of citizen science and how each and every one of us can contribute to the greater good, just by observing and noticing the world around us. Ideas like the NZ Garden Bird Survey are a case in point, with citizens observing and reporting the number of birds they see in their backyards over certain dates. As this podcast suggests, these activities can be great for mental health as well as being a great way to help the world around us.


Some of our other favourite pods from the past

Our Changing World, from Radio New Zealand is a long-running radio series that gets listeners out in the field and the lab to tell New Zealand stories about science, nature and the environment. The short episodes are available as podcasts and are easy to download or save for later on the RNZ app. Check out Winners and Losers – native birds in a pest-free sanctuary to find out the surprising results of 25 years of bird counts in Wellington; or learn about what an expedition into deepest, darkest Fiordland revealed in Turnaround in takahē’s fortunes.

There are over 450 episodes of In Defense of Plants, an interesting series about anything and everything botanical. Need to take a ‘deep dive’ into the cashew family? Want to know more about the deceitful ways orchids attract pollinators? Curious about how dogs can help us protect plants? We’ve got just the podcast ready to go…

bird lovers Native birds Podcasts