A bug's life
PUBLISHED: 11:26 05 March 2009 | UPDATED: 15:50 20 February 2013
Sam Baylis, winner of the recent 'Your River' competition, on why he loves entomology and photography, and living with a houseful of pets and insects
Tell us about yourself
My name is Samuel Baylis, I am 13 and live in Cuxton with my mum and dad, older sister, Francesca, who is very good at athletics, and my younger sister, Isabella, who takes part in musical theatre.
We have a Jack Russell, two kittens, four guinea pigs, eight chickens, four hamsters, two snakes, a lizard and lots and lots of insects. I've got praying mantis, several species of giant stick insect, leaf insects, three species of millipede, scorpions, six species of cockroach, and nine species of beetle. Mum and Grandpa have two horses between them, one called Sami who is 33. I'm named after him.
What are you doing now?
I am currently a student at St John Fisher Catholic School and I'm in the top set for every subject. My favourite subjects are maths and science.
What are your ambitions?
I would like to be to be a famous entomologist and photographer, earn lots of money and travel the world to get great pictures and discover lots of unknown species of insect.
What's best about Kent?
The best thing about living in Kent is the rich and varied habitats. We have forests, coasts, chalk downland and marshes, which gives great scope for both entomology and photography.
What are your hobbies?
I am a member of the Amateur Entomologist Society and go on study days with them. I am speaking at the AES annual members' day on The Scorpion Story - a Sting in the Tale, which will be about scorpions and their evolution and adaptation to their environment. I talked on insect photography at the Young Scientists Day at the Natural History Museum.
I love taking photographs of insects, wildlife and landscapes. I often turn Mum's kitchen into a studio to get shots of my pet insects. She doesn't mind, as long as I catch them all again.
I also go out with the Kent Wildlife Trust and get lots of pictures of wild insects and flowers. Last year I won their Junior Photographer of the Year Competition, the 'Your River' competitions and also a second prize in the under-18 category of the National Insect Week Competition.
I sell my pictures as mounted prints and greeting cards at craft fairs and at the AES annual exhibition. I use the money to buy new equipment, I really want a Nikon D90!
What book are you reading?
Dark Side, by Tom Becker.