“There is no first world and third world. There is only one world, for all of us to live and delight in.” – Gerald Durrell
Durrell was the youngest child in the Durrell family, and his “growing up” years on the Mediterranean island of Corfu in the mid-1930s was wonderfully brought back to life in the 2016 PBS and BBC Series’ “The Durrells of Corfu” (a terrific show that I highly recommend). Born in India on this date in 1925, Gerald moved with his family to England and then Corfu in 1935. On the show, his youth is spent not only learning about nature, the environment, and many, many wildlife species, but also about how people can have an impact – good and bad – upon the world in which they live.
Following those years, Gerald became a world-renowned naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author and television presenter in Great Britain. He founded what is now called the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Durrell Wildlife Park on the Channel Island of Jersey, and he became a writer, penning a number of books based on his life as an animal collector and enthusiast. His memoirs, My Family and Other Animals and its successors, Birds, Beasts, and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods are the basis for the PBS series.
The series also depicts how his oldest brother Lawrence (“Larry” on the screen) starts his own writing career, eventually becoming a distinguished novelist, biographer, poet and playwright.
“My childhood in Corfu shaped my life,” Gerald said shortly before his death in 1995. “If I had the craft of Merlin, I would give every child the gift of my childhood.”
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