I grew up in a family where an interest in nature and the outdoors was just part of daily life. Whether it was sneaking up on deer, catching sticklebacks in the local stream or clapping for nightjars, wild-life was just that, part of life. My studies followed my interests, with a Biology degree from Cardiff, which included a placement year with the Field Studies Council, then an MSc in Environmental Science at Southampton University, where my dissertation studied the catchment distribution of water voles and associated wetland mammals on behalf of the Environment Agency and Wildlife Trust. I had various conservation roles before joining WWT, working in both the UK and Southern Africa carrying out research, and wildlife surveys and training national parks staff as well as advising and writing management plans and managing a suite of nature reserves in the UK.
At WWT I provide the strategic lead for our nature reserve management and advise on all land management activities. I support the 10 reserve teams who manage our sites, with their multiple designations and protected species, ensuring we balance their various needs, and often conflicting requirements appropriately. Reserve management is guided by five year reserve management plans, which we measure delivery against both annually, and at the end of five years. Measureable targets are set and our achievements compared to site targets as well as against local and national trends to ensure we’re delivering the best outcomes for wildlife. I report to and provide evidence and advice to our Council and Management Board. I’m currently working on an acquisition plan for our sites and we’re investigating the likely impacts of climate change on our sites based on a predicted 2oC temperature rise and changing sea levels.