My first degree reflected my two main interests, Biology and French followed by a botanical survey course with the Scottish Wildlife Trust before working as a Park Ranger in Southwark (South East London) delivering public environmental engagement and education. My second degree, a European Masters in Environment Management focussing in river basin management involved four months in francophone Belgium, three months in Parma, Italy, and a project with Royal Holloway University and the French LPO (Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux).
From 1996 I worked in South London focussing on public engagement and education work around open spaces as part of urban regeneration projects. This gave me an understanding of the importance of including people in decision-making, particularly about their environment. From 2004 I worked with the Wildlife Trusts on a national scheme (Water for Wildlife) to promote joint work between the Trusts, the water industry and the Environment Agency to find more wildlife friendly ways of managing water quality at catchment level.
I joined the Trust in 2008 taking on Wetland Link International (WLI) a global support network for those working in wetland centres. It is linked to the Ramsar Convention’s CEPA programme (Communication, Education, Participation and Awareness Raising). With over 300 member centres, the initiative works through a regional approach, with steering groups at continental level, made up of a mix of network representatives, wetland centres professionals and wetland specialists.
I was instrumental in setting up the World Wetland Network, a network of NGO / CSO groups that aims to promote and support the work that we do as non-governmental organisations to deliver wetland conservation at all levels.
The job has now become the International Engagement Team, looking more broadly at how we work globally to support people doing good stuff for wetlands wherever they are, closely linked to the Ramsar Convention and other MEAs.