Earlier this month I became one of the Wild Learning Voluntary Interns assisting the Trust in delivering its fantastic programme of educational activities across Suffolk. Luckily for me, this involves working in and around the town I call home, in some of the 500 hectares of public green spaces, which are teeming with wildlife and waiting to be explored. I can’t wait to get stuck in and tell you all about our work in Ipswich, but in keeping with Vicky’s fine introduction last week, first here’s a little about me.
I started life in South London, then rural Surrey, where I spent many a happy afternoon in the garden, picking up some basic botany from my parents who were both keen gardeners. I always loved nature and being outdoors but as my teenage years hit I was affronted by the injustices of the real world and developed an interest in politics, which I studied for 6 years to Master’s degree level. I was always interested in animals and the countryside, so majored in environmental policy, looking at European biodiversity protection and water pollution policies. I really wanted to help influence these policies for the better, so headed to Brussels, then Westminster, to work in parliament.
While working as a parliamentary researcher I witnessed the amazing extent of lobbying activity by the chemicals and plastics industries on the one hand, and the conservation and environmental charities on the other. I knew which side I wanted to work for, so signed up for a part-time diploma in Environmental Conservation at Oxford, to learn more about the science behind the policy. I spent my weekends and evenings learning about natural history, habitat management, the English planning system and global environmental issues. Most of all, I loved learning about ecological survey techniques and the diploma opened up a world of species identification that appealed to my love of categorisation. I clearly couldn’t stop there!