A lifelong interest in marine wildlife has inspired local artist Nicola Dennis to produce a new children’s book in conjunction with the Dorset Wildlife Trust.
Nicola, who lives in Bothenhampton, released her book entitled ‘Bizzy the Blenny and the Treasure of the Fleet Lagoon’ at the Chesil Beach Centre on Portland.
The book was co-written by Nicola and Chesil Beach Centre officer Marc Smith.
The Fleet is home to many wading birds and Abbotsbury Swannery, with fossils also often found in the sand and mud.
Nicola says the book colourfully describes the adventures of one of the Fleet’s ‘most endearing characters’, the blenny fish – a small marine fish with an elongated body.
She added: “The book’s aim is to encourage children to explore and learn about the wonderful creatures that live along our coastline while enjoying the fun narrative and bright illustrations.
“I’ve always had a real passion for marine conservation and the idea for the book came out of my trips to the Chesil Beach Centre last year, where I volunteered to help create some signs for their undersea adventure board. The characters I’d created in these displays were crying out to be taken further.”
The book illustrations were all produced by Nicola using traditional silk painting techniques.
At the book launch, people could meet Nicola and have a book signed, listen to book readings and participate in a low water tide walk exploring the fleet themselves as seashore detectives. Chesil Beach Centre officer Marc Smith said: “Nicola’s creative mind and artistic talent have helped bring the spectacular marine life around Chesil and the Fleet Lagoon to life through art.
“The characters in the book were inspired by the wildlife that we find on our low tide walks and that can be seen on our underwater camera in the centre.”
All profits made from the book by the Dorset Wildlife Trust go back into vital conservation work in Dorset, which includes protecting marine life. The book is now available to buy from Dorset Wildlife’s online shop at dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk Nicola’s work will also be on display locally at her forthcoming exhibition at the Town Mill’s courtyard gallery in Lyme Regis from August 26 for three weeks.