I grew up in rural Norfolk amongst the sugar beet fields, but backing on to the fens, and spending lots of time running wild, falling in ponds and setting fire to things. Moving into the city at the age of 17 I swore I’d never live in the countryside again (well, most decisions at the age of 17 aren’t binding). My first degree reflected my two main interests, Biology with European Studies (French) and I followed that on a botanical survey course with the Scottish Wildlife Trust for about nine months before working as a Park Ranger in Southwark (South East London). My second degree, a European Master in Environment Management focussing in river basin management involved four months in darkest Belgium, three months in Parma, Italy, and a project with the French LPO (Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux) and Royal Holloway, with Rob Mcinnes as my supervisor (our paths would cross again. A lot.)
Following that I worked again at Southwark Council and with a Groundwork Trust in South London for few years focussing on public engagement and education work around open spaces and as part of urban regeneration projects. This gave me a great understanding of the importance of including people in decision making, particularly about their environment, and how this can be done in a meaningful way. Escaping from London in 2004 I work with the Wildlife Trusts on a national scheme to promote joint work between the Trusts, the water industry and the Environment Agency to find wildlife friendly ways of managing water quality at catchment level.
In 2008 I started at WWT working on Wetland Link International, inheriting a great idea, if not great organisational skills, from the illustrious Malcolm Whithead.
Wetland Link International (WLI) is a global support network for those working in wetland centres, or delivering engagement and education activities on site. It is part of the Ramsar Convention’s CEPA programme (Communication, Education, Participation and Awareness Raising). With just 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.
The main regional initiatives at the Migratory Birds for People network (East Atlantic Flyway), WLI Americas (North America and Latin America) and WLI Asia (hosted by the Ramsar Regional Centre East Asia). Through these networks we deliver regular communication, joint projects, exchange of staff and information and capacity building through provision of resources, webinars and individual advice and support.
I am a good communicator and work well in networking and developing links between people and organisations. I speak good French, passable Spanish, and bad Chinese.
I have good facilitation skills, and am used to working in an international environment, and have good links at international level as well as local wetland centres across the globe.
I don’t like budgets or finance.