Naturalists study the natural world through the observation of animals and plants. With the rise of influencer marketing, it’s a logical progression for naturalists and wildlife enthusiasts to draw attention to the beauty of our flora and fauna – earning themselves the title of “influencer.”
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Naturalist influencers offer more than just beautiful wildlife and landscape photography and videos, however. They play a vital role in environmental issues and raise awareness through inspiration and education.
Here are the top naturalist influencers illuminating the world of plants and animals.
Mya rose, who goes by Bird Gurl UK on Instagram, is an environmental and wildlife enthusiast from the UK. At just 21 years old, Mya is a powerful micro influencer who focuses on birds. She started her blog at the age of 11, earning over 4 million views, and now has 9k followers on Instagram.
Robert E Fuller is a young Instagram micro influencer with a passion for wildlife. Amassing over 60k followers, he wants to “connect people with nature” using his work. He’s also a blogger, artist, photographer, and filmmaker. He uses birdcams at his home in Yorkshire to film birds and also rehabilitates wildlife.
Richard Peters is an award-winning wildlife photographer in the UK. His signature is dramatic lighting that reveals the raw beauty of nature – a skill that earned him ambassador status with both Datacolor and Nikon, as well as over 28k followers. He also has a website for his photography work, speaking events, workshops, a blog, and his book, “Wildlife at Home.”
Another British wildlife enthusiast, Gordon Buchanan is an award-winning photographer, presenter, and public speaker. He’s well known for his challenging assignments all over the world, but he’s currently settled in Scotland and focused on Scottish wildlife.
Steven Chikosi is a photographer and filmmaker from Zimbabwe with a passion for making voices heard and telling stories through his photography. Using videography and photography, he shares South African wildlife imagery and glimpses of the people who live among them. With nearly 75k followers, Steven inspires audiences in Zimbabwe, the US, India, Australia, and elsewhere all over the world.
Melissa Groo is a wildlife photographer, writer, and conservationist who aims to educate people about wildlife and the natural world using her photography. She has a deep interest in environmentalism and ethics, which is why she’s dedicated to raising awareness about the worth and current threats to our wildlife. Her Instagram offers highly educational content, including educational materials and campaigns.
Will Burrad-Lucas began his career as a wildlife photographer, but is now an entrepreneur known for his famous “BeetleCam” and devices that enable close-up photography. His website covers all of his projects, devices, blog, newsletter, and more, but there’s plenty of stunning photography and content on his Instagram as well. He’s worked with organizations and charities such as The Safari Collection and Inspired by Iceland.
National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry is a massive Instagram influencer. He has over one million followers on the platform and shares a variety of wildlife photography, including his specialty, marine life. As a public speaker and Nikon ambassador, Brian doesn’t just share beautiful marine life but educates the world on how vulnerable species can be protected from the consequences of human behavior and climate change.
Joel Sartore is an inspiring National Geographic photographer and Nikon ambassador who shares important information about endangered species, deforestation, and conservation. In addition to being an award-winning photographer, author, and conservationist, Joel is the founder of the long-running Photo Ark project, which aims to education and inspire people to take action to protect endangered species.
With multiple National Geographic influencers on the list, it’s expected that National Geographic itself would also be one of the top naturalist influencers. One of the most popular accounts on Instagram, NatGeo has over 154 million followers and encompasses the work of all National Geographic photographers on one page, capturing some of the most beautiful and dramatic wildlife moments on film.
Izzy Fry is a wildlife conservationist, photography, and bird ringer in England. As a micro influencer with just over 10k followers, Izzy has been incredibly successful with her small but dedicated audience, earning herself partnerships with Wilts Wildlife, Opticron binoculars, and Be Bird Kind. She was also a Young Countryside finalist for BBC and won the NBN Young Persons award in 2021.
Jack Baddams is known as the “bird guy,” but he also earned the titles of naturalist, wildlife gardener, and podcast co-host. His main goal is to encourage people to go outside and explore nature, a drive he shares with his 31k followers on Instagram and nearly 200k followers on TikTok. He creates engaging content that captivates his audience, such as video tours as he searches for a robin’s nest, educational videos about nest-building habits, and more.
Bird Lady Drin
New York-based Drin, “the bird lady,” is an enthusiastic bird lover – or “professional bird nerd,” as she calls it. She’s a big TikTok influencer and Instagram influencer who shares content like her top pick for an outdoor bird watching camera, rare bird sightings, and quirky videos feeding birds from her hat.
The Teacher Tom is a third-grade teacher and bird enthusiast based in Oregon. With an audience of nearly 220k on TikTok, he shares his “bird of the week” posts to highlight a different bird. Some of his past focuses have been the pileated woodpecker, the American woodcock, and the cactus wren. All of his bird videos are full of fascinating facts that bring bird watching to life for all ages, from his young students to grown adults.
Mateusz Piesiak is a Polish wildlife photographer and TikTok and Instagram influencer who’s known for his no-holds-barred approach to getting mesmerizing photos. In the pursuit of his perfect shot, Mateusz has allowed a flock of seagulls to land on him, worn heavy camouflage to get shots of rare birds like the European bee-eater, and swam in the mud to capture swan images. No matter what stands in the way of his work, he finds a way to get the picture he wants. It paid off, because Mateusz has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award from the Natural History Museum.
Sean Graesser is a scientist, wildlife, conservation photography, and tropical researcher who’s passionate about spreading environmental and conservation awareness. He boasts over 314k Instagram followers who tune in for his up-close photographs of birds like the blue indigo bunting, the black and white warbler, and the Northern cardinal.
Theodore Emery is a wildlife photography who shares mostly bird-related images that he takes on his travels. As a micro influencer, Theodore promotes captivating content to a small but dedicated audience. He shares a lot of images of rare or beautiful birds with poetic captions, including the tri-colored blackbird, the short-eared owl, and the Ridgway’s rail. He also offers photography workshops for fellow bird enthusiasts.
Alison Kondler is a Denver Audubon Master Birder, naturalist, and wildlife filmmaker with a passion for educating others on how to identify birds based on their widely ranging sounds. With an audience of nearly 100k, Alison shares a diverse range of content like how to make a DIY bubbling birdbath, tips on how to help a frozen bird, and trivia about the hummingbird’s favorite flowers.
Keith Paluso – formerly Ranger Keith – is a Tennessee native singer-songwriter and naturalist who shares a lot of bird-related content. He often shares “bird breaks,” which are short, calming mindfulness sessions surrounded by the sounds of birds. He has a dedicated audience of over 101k followers who tune in for his meditative content and exciting birds like yellow-throated warblers or neotropical migrants.
Sharing the Natural World
These wildlife and naturalist influencers are among the most popular, with good reason. Wildlife and natural photography are both popular niches among people of all ages, especially those interested in protecting the Earth and conserving wildlife species. These influencers also boast incredible audiences and a lot of engagement, so outdoor, photography, and related brands should consider partnering with a naturalist influencer.