David Edwards - guest public speaker providing 
					talks for your school, club, business or society guest speaker with stories and insights from around the world
Educational guest speaker for school talks

Geographical and environmental guest speaker for schools

School talks from an inspirational guest speaker

Guest speaker giving talks for schoolsI offer a range of environmental and geographical talks for schools and colleges that help enhance subject teaching, inspire, or provoke deeper thinking on an issue. They bring together ideas gleaned from a wide range of experiences. I have been used often for enrichment days and can also provide an assembly talk which includes slides that also act as a taster for the talks later in the day. The talks are visually arresting, snappily paced and aim to bring topics alive and make them relevant.

I love sharing all these great geographical stories. We live on a fascinating planet and there is so much to enthuse young geographers about, and inspire them to engage with a subject that helps them understand the world.

Keeping costs down, and getting value for money

I can often visit a school while in the area for another speaking engagement, thereby reducing travel expenses. My attitude when booked by a school is that I should be used as much as possible, to ensure maximum value for money: if travel is the major component then multiple talks incur little extra expense. The record is seven different talks in one day. Liaising with other schools/departments can often lead to wider ideas on how to exploit me, and a sharing of cost. Occasionally I am asked to provide an early evening talk to bring the wider community/parents into the school. I don't mind how early I start, or how late I finish.

A selection of insightful geographical talks for schools

Most of these talks can be adapted for a wide age range, except where noted.

Antarctica: a continent for science

Antarctic environmental science has loomed large in my professional life. Ozone depletion, climate change and plate tectonics have all given up secrets to scientists studying in one of the harshest environments in the world. I explore Antarctica with world class environmental scientists and look at why it is so important to our understanding of the planet and what the future might hold.

Iceland and plate tectonics

Iceland is a fantastic natural laboratory where exciting earth processes can be observed. Using my experience as an Icelandic guide, coupled with my geology background, I show what the country can teach us about modern plate tectonic and volcanic processes.

Surviving volcanic Montserrat

In 1995 I was catching bats and snakes on a conservation project when the volcano started erupting and evacuations were declared. This talk gives insights into how science fieldwork is conducted (and the difficulties and sampling strategies), the initial social impacts on the population, as well as looking at how geographers assess volcanoes and produce hazard maps to help with the evacuations that I witnessed. I also describe witnessing the first eruption and how I nearly died.

Return to Montserrat: reclaiming paradise

Sixteen years after I witnessed the first eruptions that turned the island upside down, I returned to see how the island has changed. The people are still just as friendly but the airport and the capital are now destroyed and two thirds of the island is now an exclusion zone. This has caused a huge upheaval in life and society and in this talk I share my insights into the impacts and adaptations. (As featured on Radio 4's 'Excess Baggage' travel programme)


My first visit to Hawaii had me collecting molten lava from a lava lake draining into the sea. On my latest visit, I explore all the volcanic and geological features that make this such a geographically fascinating location. While unique, it also offers insights into wider plate tectonic matters. It also faces vulnerability to other natural hazards, like tsunamis, and impacts and adaptations will be looked at.

Vesuvius: past and future eruptions

Using my expertise as a guide to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Vesuvius, I look at why the area is so volcanically active, the impacts and adaptations of past eruptions, and the plans for evacuating the most volcanically dangerous area in the world when Vesuvius next erupts. I use my knowledge of other volcanic areas to provide additional insights.

Geology: The stories in the rocks

There are lots of fascinating stories geology has to tell, whether it's setting the scene for our understanding of evolutionary time or explaining why we have the rocks we do in Britain. This talk will enthuse older pupils about the richness that can be gleaned by looking at the geological landscape with an enquring mind. It features striking images from many of my travels.

Exploring the Pacific sea floor ('The ship with a hole in it')

I accompanied an expedition in the Pacific on the marine research ship JOIDES Resolution. This is part of the international program that started in 1968 to explore the seafloor. It has contributed to a greater understanding of plate tectonics and climate change. Come on board and learn what it's like to conduct scientific research in one of the most difficult environments in the world. For older pupils.


An exciting and stimulating talk for a younger audience on why mountains are so special and how they are climbed. I can bring my mountaineering equipment with me to make the session hands on and interactive.

A selection of environmental talks for schools

I tackle important issues in a topical and entertaining way, using my knowledge as a university environmental lecturer with practical examples based on my travels. Year 10 is probably the ideal minimum age for these.

Our Energy Future

My most popular environmental talk, receiving rave reviews. It looks at how we satisfy our needs for energy, what goes wrong when we fail, sustainability, and what are the ethical and moral dilemmas involved.

Climate change

I have tutored on environmental issues for many years. My climate change talk examines impacts, measuring environmental change, and how evidence is collected and interpreted. The fascinating detective work of proxy data gathering is also looked at.

The End of Nature

Is there anywhere on Earth where one can be sure that one is experiencing nature unaltered by our activities? If not, does it matter? In this talk I will explore the idea that nature is no longer an unchanging, absolute entity that is larger than us and will always be there to sustain, console and awe inspire us.

Living with the Environment

To what extent should jobs come before the environment e.g. threatened species? Does a concern for the environment damage a national economy or enhance it? This talk looks at how we place a value on the environment.

One of the most appreciated speakers for schools

"David's visit to Balshaw's High School was invaluable to the Key Stage 4 pupils he presented to on the subject of Montserrat. They were genuinely inspired by his stories, insights and wide ranging coverage of issues affecting the island as a result of the eruptions. David's professionalism, wit and in depth knowledge of his subject were appreciated by the pupils who were lucky enough to attend the day talks, but also by members of the public who came to the evening lecture. A fantastic day, something I would happily repeat every year!"
Mrs M Brierley, Curriculum Leader for Geography, Balshaw's CE High School
"David inspired our Year 8 and 9 pupils with his vivid account of life in the bush in Botswana. Our pupils now know how to survive close encounters with elephants, hyenas and lions and what a struggle it is for survival in an arid environment. This talk fitted in so perfectly with the work the pupils are currently covering on sustainability and conservation issues. David's account of his experiences in his recent expedition to Antarctica in 2013 were shared so knowledgeably with our A-level Geographers. The horrific smell of penguin guano, the ice carved landscapes and the evidence for climate change gripped the student's imaginations. David then delivered a hugely thought provoking lecture to the Sixth form on our energy future, a topic that is incredibly useful for physics, economics, general studies and Geography students. The climax of the day was the evening lecture to parents and pupils on the volcanic eruption on Montserrat . The audience was enthralled and entertained by David's hilarious stories of tree frog and snake capture as he explained the biodiversity work he was involved in when the volcano erupted. His account of the impacts of the eruption and the responses to the disaster was truly memorable. David is a wonderful speaker who manages to pitch the talk so cleverly to his audience so that every age group were thoroughly engrossed. We very much hope that David will be able to revisit Westholme School in the future."
Caroline Buckley, Head of Geography, Westholme School
"I am writing to thank you once again for the outstanding talk you gave here on The Grand Canyon. Many students have commented on the lecture since last Tuesday - they clearly found it as inspiring and exhilarating as I did. Your commentary really brought home the uniqueness of the place. Your use of anecdotes and humour was greatly appreciated by us all, and I thought one of the most important features of the talk was the invitation to consider the broader environmental issues."
John Allinson, Senior Master and Head of Sixth Form, Leighton Park School
“David Edwards' lectures on Montserrat and Antarctica were thoroughly enjoyable and brought to life both through fantastic photographs and film clips and his humorous and educational style. I would recommend David without hesitation if you are looking to inspire your students about the world."
Dr Liz Brown, Chair of the York and District Branch of the Geographical Association and Head of Geography at Bootham School, York
“Many thanks for an excellent day of lectures at all levels. We very much appreciated your clear, good humoured and detailed presentations and your conversation and stories.”
Kevin Richards, Head of Geography, Marlborough College

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