I’ve been with WWT since 2010 after spending 13 years at Worcestershire Wildlife Trust working on water, wetlands and wetland wildlife. After spending time researching and management planning for and in a large wetland nature reserve in the Paraguayan Pantanal for Guyra Paraguay, I came to WWT and oversaw parts of our international wetland programme in Nepal and Cambodia.
Now, I manage the community Working Wetlands programme which focuses on community participation in restoration and creation of urban rivers and wetlands; we have run demonstration projects in London and Newcastle and are now focused on restoring the urban catchment of the Salt Hill stream in Slough. These projects deliver lots of well-being benefits to people as well as making urban spaces habitable for wetland wildlife.
Previously, I managed the SuDS (sustainable drainage systems) for Schools project in North London which saw the creation of these wonderful urban rainscapes at each of ten schools. Led on the ground first by Sue Pritchard and then Rita Serra it won the 2016 CIEEM Award for Innovation in Conservation award. These systems were retro-fitted into the most challenging of urban spaces and through a process of community involvement are now home to wetland birds, invertebrates and flora and are great places for outdoor learning, relaxation and re-connecting with nature in the city.
I studied part-time for a MSc Ecology and management of the natural environment at Bristol University and have 25 years’ experience in the nature conservation sector. Previously I’ve worked on water policy in particular the Water Framework Directive as part of an international working group on water quality; I was the environmental representative on the Severn River Basin District liaison panel (a river basin level planning group), I was a member of the UK Species Action Plan team for Shad (it’s a rare fish, lives in the sea and spawns in the Severn!) and was one of a core team of surveyors for the England National Otter surveys over several years.
I co-authored with RSPB a modern classic “SuDS, maximising the potential for people and wildlife:guide for local authorities and developers”.Whilst not a technical manual, it tries to bridge the gap in knowledge between professional practice and communities promoting a participatory approach to SuDS creation and conservation in general.