Mark Powell’s interest started as a young teenager in the 1970s, when he noticed lichens on family holidays and wished he could name them. He got hold of a copy of the Observers’ Book of Lichens, but didn’t know whether he was identifying them correctly. In those pre-internet days, it was more difficult to make contacts and his interest lapsed, but during several decades of woodland work, he continued to notice lichens and eventually started to study them properly in his mid-forties. Although he worried that he had left it too late to make any contribution to science, he was pleased to realise that as an amateur he was still able to develop new techniques, add species to the British list and even to describe new species, all from his East Midlands home ground.
Mark's lichens column in the wildlife reports appears three times per volume.