Anthea Lacchia

Freelance science journalist, nature writer, audio maker, science communicator


Hello! My name is Anthea Lacchia and my business is called Nature Tales and Trails LTD. My aim is connect people to nature and the environment through stories.

About me:
I grew up in Biella, a town at the foot of the Alps in northern Italy. I'm a freelance science journalist and writer with a PhD (on Irish fossils from Trinity College Dublin). I have over 10 years of writing experience, hold an MSc in Science Communication (Imperial College London) and a Diploma in Journalism (National Council for the Training of Journalists in the UK), and am currently based in Wicklow, Ireland.

I write stories about science, environment, animals, nature, fossils, science policy, research culture and universities for a number of outlets, including the Guardian, Noteworthy, Nature Index, Irish Times, RTE' and Green News. Most recently, I am covering Irish research policy news for Research Professional. I am a regular contributor to DK's science books for children and adults. I also write creatively about nature, including for literary magazines such as Tamarind. I have also produced and presented audio for BBC's Digital Planet program.

I am an award-winning geologist by training and have won a number of awards and grants for my writing and public engagement (I was the SFI Science Writer of the Year at the SMEDIAS in 2015, and was a co-winner of the EGU public engagement award).

A constant thread throughout my life has been my passion for nature and animals. I am an avid birdwatcher and hiker. I am currently training to complete a mountain leader award and will soon offer guided hikes to explore Ireland's wonderful landscapes.

Member of the ABSW (Association of British Science Writers) and ISTJA (Irish Science and Technology Journalists Association).

My services:

- Writing (journalism, blogs, content writing, creative writing, technical writing, copy writing)
- Podcast and audio creation (research, production, editing, interviewing and presenting)
- Editing (developmental editing, copy editing, podcast editing & production)
- Content marketing (blog writing, interviews, strategy)
- Science communication, including consulting on science communication projects and developing and delivering talks about science for primary schools and other publics
- I give talks to school children and other publics about science
- Teaching and training in geoscience communication
- Translation Italian-English
- Grant proposal editing
- Geoscience (rocks, fossils, minerals, structure, landscape, and overview of flora and fauna) for outdoor educators such as hike leaders, guides and mountaineering assessors (talks, workshops)
- Creative non-fiction: finding creative ways of telling non-fiction stories especially nature and science based.

E-mail me to collaborate or say hello: [email protected]


Investigative journalism

Noteworthy - investigative platform of the
'It was sprayed in the playground': Widespread use of chemical weedkillers by councils

As part of the IN THE WEEDS series on pesticide use by public authorities, I conducted interviews with campaigners, scientists, policy experts and community groups, as well as over 60 Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) requests and dozens of press requests. Among the findings: - At least 28 out of Ireland’s 31 local authorities are still using chemical herbicide, of which at least 19 are using glyphosate-based weedkillers as of this year - The amount spent by local authorities...

Noteworthy - podcast
The Explainer x Noteworthy: How much weedkiller are councils using?

Reporter Anthea Lacchia and campaigner James Walsh tell Susan Daly about how almost all councils are still using pesticides. By Laura Byrne Assistant News Editor "AFTER THE BIRTH of my own son, I could not stand looking at the sprayed kerbs and grass areas... I was having nightmares about it."

Thousands of litres of pesticides used on Irish roads and forests each year

Part 1 of investigation series #INTHEWEEDS on pesticide use in forestry and roads. Findings include: - AROUND €1.5 MILLION is spent on pesticides annually by State-owned forestry company Coillte, Noteworthy can reveal. Over 10,200 litres and 5,800 kg of pesticides were used across 2020 and 2021 by the public body, excluding any used in Coillte nurseries.

Inspections found issues in how nine out of 10 vendors handled deadly pesticides

Part 2 of investigation series IN THE WEEDS, showing how retailers in Ireland are handling pesticides. This was based on AIE and press requests, as well as interviews. Findings include: - Unapproved or revoked products for sale as well as no trained staff on site were among issues identified. - Vast majority of pesticide retailer and wholesaler inspections in recent years identified issues or actions to be taken, according to records seen by Noteworthy.

Over the Hill: Persistent overgrazing causing 'devastation' in vulnerable habitats

Many upland areas are experiencing ongoing grazing pressure and degradation, with rare plants disappearing. - ON A CLEAR day, a hike from Benlettery to Ben Gower - two of Connemara's Twelve Bens - reveals a lunar, barren landscape. These mountains used to house rare and delicate species of liverworts, spore-producing plants that lack a vascular system, botanist Dr Rory Hodd told Noteworthy.

Breaking the Banks: 'Vicious circle' of public works 'degrading' Ireland's rivers

While the Office of Public Works says it is reducing the impact of arterial drainage work, waterways and their habitats "are still suffering". IN THE MIDDLE reaches of the River Clare in Galway, where now lies agricultural grassland, there once was one of the biggest turloughs in Ireland, where tens of thousands of geese and whooper swans would flock every year.

The and Noteworthy
The Explainer - podcast on investigation about Irish rivers and their habitats

“A RIVER ECOSYSTEM is incredibly complex and there are oodles of species that rely on it from microorganisms… all the way up to mammals.” Elaine McGoff, Natural Environment Officer with An Taisce, speaking on this week’s episode about the vast amount of wildlife that are impacted by vegetation clearance processes along the banks and in the channels of rivers in Ireland. That was the subject of Noteworthy’s recent BREAKING THE BANKS investigation which found these habitats are being...

Writing/audio on nature, environment, animals

Tamarind Literary Magazine (issue 3)
In Search of Nature

An essay on nature published in Tamarind literary magazine

BBC World Service
BBC Digital Planet - Listening to the sounds of the forest using AI (22min in)

Listen back to some relaxing bird song in this radio package, which looks at how different types of machine learning, applied to the sounds of ecosystems in Okinawa and Borneo, can help scientists assess and predict ecosystem health, change and identify illegal hunting and logging. Featuring researchers from Trinity College Dublin and Imperial College London.

BBC World Service
BBC Digital Planet - AI that can help identify individual birds

AI that Can Identify Individual Birds - 22mins into the programme Could machines be better ornithologists than humans? Deep learning systems are now able to distinguish between species of birds, but also individual animals. At the moment, the only way that conservationists can identify individual birds is by tagging them. That’s time consuming, costly and a bit of an inconvenience for the creatures themselves. Anthea Lacchia has been finding out more about how the algorithms are helping...

The Irish Times
Ireland's first dinosaur bones

A study of fossilised bones reveals that dinosaurs roamed our shores about 200 million years ago. The bones, which were found along Co Antrim's eastern coast in the 1980s, are the only dinosaur remains to have ever been recorded on the island of Ireland.

Irish Times
► VIDEO: Ireland's fossils: an ancient part of our heritage

In this Irish Times video which I helped research, I speak about Irish ancient organisms and their link to the current biodiversity crisis. We also hear from other palaeontologists and visit Fanore Beach, Co. Clare, Ireland.
The strange creatures that lived in Ireland millions of years ago

By Anthea Lacchia, UCD Imagine a tropical, shallow sea, its waters glistening in the warm sunshine. Underwater, corals dance in the waves and fish swim gracefully by, as a tiny, tentacle-bearing creature retreats into its spiral shell. Is this your dream holiday destination? Dream no further.

Collection of short stories 'Stories from the Waterside'
To the Marsh

My short story 'To the Marsh' about my relationship with a local marsh was among the winners of the short story competition 'Stories from the Waterside' - p.21
5 ways towards sustainable resource production

Opinion: can we meet the insatiable global demand for metals for electric vehicles and clean energy in a sustainable way? By Anthea Lacchia, UCD There is a growing awareness in Ireland and worldwide of humanity's strain on our planet's resources, coupled with a recognition that radical change is needed if we are to prevent further climate breakdown.

Green News Ireland
We must protect our bird populations from the damaging effects of roads

Over the past few months, as an avid birdwatcher and citizen scientist, I have recorded a plethora of bird species on my daily walks, partly thanks to the absence of noise pollution from cars. Indeed, birdsong has been one of the few pleasures afforded to many of us during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Imperial College Radio and Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences
Seeing further: Poetry and Geology

What can we learn about the Earth from landscape poetry? Join Dr Anthea Lacchia and geologists from iCRAG, along with Prof. Mike Stephenson of the British Geological Survey as we explore the geology of Dingle peninsula through the medium of poetry. Produced and presented by Dr Anthea Lacchia

Some other recent work

Nature Index
How to be strategic in applying for grants

Researchers must be increasingly tactical in choosing the types of grants they apply for. Researchers must be increasingly tactical in choosing the types of grants they apply for. SIA KAMBOU/AFP via Getty Images When a postdoctoral researcher in Adrian Barnett's group at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, told him she was thinking of applying for the Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D Scholars Award for female researchers, he checked it out.

Nature Index
Librarians seek more support as research partners

Librarians should be given more support and credit for their research contributions, which should be costed into grant proposals, according to Research Libraries UK (RLUK), a consortium of research libraries in the UK and Ireland.

A new form of CV for researchers

Another step away from narrow, biased measures of success in science. Mykyta Dolmatov/Getty Images A new narrative-based CV that reflects skills and experiences better than a grant and publication record is being piloted across six funding schemes overseen by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the UK's central research funder.

BBC World Service
BBC Digital Planet - AI to detect tinnitus - 14 minutes in

New research shows how AI can detect tinnitus and assess its severity. We hear from Dr Mehrnaz Shoushtarian from Bionics Institute, Prof Daniel Polley from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Eye And Ear, and Sarah and Jim, who are living with tinnitus, with thanks to the British Tinnitus Association.

Passive House Plus (Sustainable building)
King's Comfort

Feature on beautifully designed, new passive-certified student accommodation in Cambridge, built with cross-laminated timber.

Research Professional Ireland correspondent samples (note paywall)

Science News

On The Rocks
A Good Eye For a Fossil

What did a Jurassic sea predator look like? For the first time, scientists have described the three-dimensional eye-structure of Dollocaris ingens, a 160-million-year-old arthropod from the Jurassic of southeast France. Fossils typically do not preserve delicate, soft organs such as the eyes, leaving palaeontologists none the wiser about how visual systems evolved through geological time....

Research Policy and Culture & Universities

Better measures needed for research cooperation

Researchers wrestle with a measure of collaboration increasingly used to assess the impact of their work. ANALYSIS PhotoDisc/ Getty Images Tracking the names and affiliations of co-authors on a research paper is the most widely used method of measuring scientists working together, including by the Nature Index.

UK deliberations leave young researchers in limbo

Lack of clarity on changes to the country's research assessment system provokes anxiety among early-career researchers. Stockbyte Royalty Free Photos In 2013, Richard Butler, a young and well-published palaeontologist, was a scientist in demand.

EU funding formula revealed

Three factors can help institutions secure one of these sought-after grants. Andrew Paterson / Alamy Stock Photo Three factors have a significant influence on whether a research institution will apply for and win a prestigious Horizon 2020 grant, researchers have found.

Historic co-authorships speed up editor handling times

Journal editors tend to accept manuscripts written by prior collaborators more quickly. Lane Erikson / Alamy Stock Photo Academic editors at one of the largest multidisciplinary journals tend to accept manuscripts from previous collaborators an average of 19 days faster than other papers, a new study has found.

I, Science
Watching out for retractions

Ivan Oransky, Distinguished Writer In Residence at New York University, co-founded the popular blog Retraction Watch, which reports on and investigates the retractions of scientific papers. We caught up with him to talk science journalism, scientific misconduct and more. Can you give me a sense of any major developments or news in the area of research misconduct?

Prominent female scientists struggle to retain their edge

Tracking the careers of leading scientists reveals maintaining greatness is harder for women in Italy. Matej Kastellic / Alamy Stock Photo For female scientists, shattering the glass ceiling is often difficult. But for those who do reach a high-status, clinging to the upper echelons can be even harder, a new study by Italian researchers has found.

High-impact papers score well in REF, study finds

Researchers in the UK find that the impact factor of journal articles matches judgements by a panel of experts on research quality. retrorocket/Getty A study has found that, in science-based subjects, universities with a large proportion of articles published in high-impact-factor journals are likely to score highly in the Research Excellence Framework (REF), the United Kingdom's system for assessing the quality of university science.

UK researchers want quotas to redress lack of diversity

Efforts to increase diversity in research assessment panels don't cut it. GlobalStock/Getty Measures to increase diversity in the panels of experts that assess university science don't go far enough, say researchers. Bolder steps such as quotas are needed to ensure the academic population is represented adequately, says sociologist Kalwant Bhopal, who studies race and social justice at the University of Birmingham.

Cite unseen? Then step aside

A large number of professors in Italian universities produce no cited work. Agata Gladykowska / Alamy Stock Photo Most academics are familiar with the adage 'publish or perish'. But a study examining the output of Italian scientists has revealed a large number of academics either publish very few papers or produce work that remains uncited.

Data transparency: Making the most of your data

Contributor Anthea Lacchia Amongst the scientific community, there is increasing awareness of the value of data transparency and reproducibility. But how can we achieve transparency in practical terms? Catherine Goodman, Senior Editor at Nature Chemical Biology , delivered a workshop on handling scientific data during the Boston NatureJobs Career Expo 2015.

Not Just Science
'On Thin Ice' exhibition opens in UCD

For the next three weeks, the Discovery Institute in University College Dublin will house a new Climate Change exhibition, On Thin Ice. The exhibition tells the story of an expedition by a team of Norwegian researchers from the Norwegian Polar Institute. The researchers embedded their research ship in the ice near Svalbard, close to the...

Making it in academia: Before and after you apply

Contributor Anthea Lacchia The pursuit of science makes for an attractive career, but academic positions are hard to come by. What will really set your application apart? During the Boston NatureJobs Career Expo 2015, Esther Bullitt (Boston University School of Medicine), Rich Gurney (Simmons College), Vanja Klepac-Ceraj (Wellesley College), and Kim McCall (Boston University), shared their insights into how to get an academic job and how to keep it.

the Guardian
Beware the perils of postgrad research

You may love the time and freedom to explore your subject in depth - but dangers abound when you leave the safety of the timetable


Water Cycles

Worked as Earth Consultant on this children's book. Dive into the life-cycle of water and discover how it supports all life forms, how humans harness its power, and why we need to conserve it.From snowflakes falling from the clouds and deep ocean currents to hot springs and water in space, this children's nature book showcases the beauty and power of...

Life Cycles

Writer and consultant of the Earth section of this stunning illustrated children's book. Life Cycles takes an innovative look at the circle of life, including the life cycles of rocks, carbon, dinosaurs, fossils, volcanoes, and mountains.

Gill Books
New Thinking, New Ireland

Wrote Chapter entitled 'Science' on the connections between art and science and the role of science communication in society. Book summary: 'Have you had enough of politicians' rhetoric, or of the failure of tired institutions to keep up with our rapidly changing world? Then meet the young, new thinkers of Ireland as they share their vision for the future. Here, twenty-one of our leading creative thinkers and problem-solvers rip up the rule book and start again, presenting a new vision for...

Science Features and Podcasts

Science Spin
Brazen Brachiopods

Part of a series on Irish fossils for Science Spin

Earth Science Ireland
Myth and science

Science is your answer, says the Delphic Oracle

The ReSToRE summer school on the sustainable development of Earth resources: reflecting back

How can we source and use Earth resources in an ethical and responsible way? And how can we bring different actors and communities together to achieve sustainable resource development? These are just some of the questions that early career researchers from around the world came together to discuss during the inaugural Researching Social Theories, Resources, and the Environment International Summer School, held at the University College Dublin last month.

Academic work

Geoscience Communication
La Commedia Scientifica: Dante and the Scientific Virtues

Ethical issues in science include research misconduct and the rightful treatment of people, animals, the environment and our planet. Based on interviews with thirteen scientists, we identify a framework of virtues, and corresponding vices, in modern science. We employ the narrative structure of the late medieval poem Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri, and draw on its moral universe to explore the scientific virtues and the role of virtue ethics in science.

Geoscience Communication
The human side of geoscientists: comparing geoscientists' and non-geoscientists' cognitive and...

Geoscientists can struggle to communicate with non-geoscientists, especially around contentious geoscience issues. We compare the thoughts and feelings of geoscientists and non-geoscientists around the subsurface, mining/quarrying, drilling and flooding. We find that geoscientists focus more on human interactions when thinking about these processes, while non-geoscientists focus more on economic and environmental impacts. Understanding these differences and similarities can help enable dialogue.

The Geological Society of London - Resourcing a sustainable future

We must resource present and future generations sustainably. But how? Jen Roberts and Anthea Lacchia report on an international summer school that is building a global community to bridge disciplines and sectors, and tackle sustainable resource extraction Roberts, J. & Lacchia, A., Resourcing a sustainable future.

Profiles and interviews

10 top tips for getting into science communication

By Anthea Lacchia (@AntheaLacchia), Press Officer at Nature As Richard Dawkins reminds us in 'Unweaving the Rainbow', understanding the origin of the colours of the rainbow does not take away from its beauty or the awe it inspires. Communicating science as a career is all about inspiring those moments of wonder, from the eye-widening and jaw-dropping [...]

Trinity News and Events
Geologist Wins Prestigious Naturejobs Competition for Budding Science Writers

PhD Researcher in Geology in the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity, Anthea Lacchia, has just been selected as one of the five international winners of the Naturejobs Career Expo Journalism Competition for budding science journalists. Her winning competition entry, a 600 word answer to the question: 'Career paths: Should you follow in the footsteps of your idol?'