All our board members are senior managers and experts in their field whether this is information management, business development or biological recording.
Day job: Chartered Forester and Chartered Environmentalist, Director and Trustee
Wilma is an experienced director, having held senior positions in the Forestry Commission and now has a portfolio of board positions. She is a Director of TWIC, the local record centre for South East and Central Scotland, and President of the Edinburgh Natural History Society. She is also a trustee for Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards and a board member of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society.
Alongside this broad environmental background, she brings considerable experience of corporate governance, strategy and change management. She has led the development of major computer systems and is now helping a number of groups develop their websites and improve the use of social media.
She has a particular focus on areas which support people improve their understanding and appreciation of their environment. She regularly leads excursions for the “Edinburgh Nats” and enjoys the exploring and discovery these field trips bring. Having become a runner 5 years ago, she has learned the value of being outdoors for improving health wellbeing and now leads a Jogscotland trail running group.
Day job: Lawyer / executive
Neil’s background is in law, having trained and practiced at the law firm Allen & Overy and subsequently holding senior in-house roles at Barclays and, most recently, Zurich Insurance where he was General Counsel for ten years. He has significant experience of governance, commercial, compliance and management issues at team, executive and board levels.
Reflecting his interest in the natural world and environmental issues, Neil is currently pursuing a post-graduate course on environmental law with a focus on biodiversity and species/habitat protection. Otherwise, this interest is satisfied in a purely amateur capacity by absorbing himself in the natural world through activities such as fishing, gardening, birdwatching and photography and taking advantage of the green and watery spaces of his south-west London “patch”.
Dr Belinda Howell
Day job: Managing Director at Decarbonize Ltd
Belinda is a qualified Executive and Non-Executive Director with extensive international experience in sustainability and climate change strategy.
She runs her own consultancy, Decarbonize Ltd, and has previously worked as Chief Executive of Greenstone Carbon Management, Europe Middle East & Africa Director for environmental consultancy URS Corporation, Director of Business in the Environment, and was the first group environment manager for Boots the Chemists. She started her career in scientific research and development for the Overseas Development Natural Resources Institute and in the private sector for Biocompatibles.
Belinda currently serves on the Boards of two sustainable Oilseed commodity standards associations. She holds a Diploma in Company Directorship and MBA.
Passionate about the natural environment, Belinda volunteers for Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, checking on the well-being of conservation grazing cattle on a site of special scientific interest.
Day job: Senior Programmes Manager at Bristol Natural History Consortium* (BNHC)
Combining public engagement practice with professional development and communications theory, Matt’s interests include emergent theories of change, social ecology, behavioural science, evidence based policy and strategic communications all wrapped up in a natural history / environment context.
BNHC is a Bristol-based and nationally active UK charity engaging people with the natural world through collaborative action. It ran its first ‘BioBlitz’ public wildlife recording event in 2009 at Ashton Court in Bristol and have since been working with partners across the UK to promote and develop the concept, coordinating the National BioBlitz Network. Matt took over the lead of the BioBlitz strand at BNHC in 2011 and has been involved in running and supporting several events as well as raising the public profile of BioBlitz nationally.
As a bit of a science geek, wildlife enthusiast and citizen scientist you can often find Matt getting his hands dirty at a BioBlitz event or deep in conversation about bioacoustic communication in bushcrickets. After completing his degree in Zoology at Cardiff University and a couple of years working in research, Matt joined BNHC in 2011 running the volunteer programme whilst studying for an MSc in environmental management. He then joined the team full time as a Project Manager delivering the Meet the Species project for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Having worked across the Festival of Nature, Communicate Conference and BioBlitz programmes, Matt now holds the role of Senior programmes Manager overseeing the development and delivery of the suite of BNHC projects.
*Bristol Natural History Consortium is a collaboration between Avon Wildlife Trust, Bath and Northeast Somerset Council, BBC Natural History Unit, Bristol City Council, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Defra, National Trust, Natural England, University of Bath, University of Bristol, University of the West of England, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and Woodland Trust.
Day job: Liz Proctor Fundraising Ltd
Liz has been fundraising since 2000, when she took her first fundraising role at the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. She now runs her own consultancy, Liz Proctor Fundraising Ltd, and works with a wide range of charities of varying sizes, most of which are in the conservation sector. She has experience and expertise in all areas of fundraising, with a particular interest in fundraising from trusts and foundations.
She has enjoyed conservation and the outdoors all her life, spending as much time as possible walking in the countryside with her husband and son, and getting her hands dirty growing organic veg in the garden.
Day job: Chief Executive of Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC (GiGL)
Mandy’s the first person to admit she started working in the local environmental records centre (LERC) sector by accident. Having taken on a temporary admin role with London Wildlife Trust (LWT) in 1997, she immediately found something more interesting to do in the form of manually creating stag beetle distribution maps utilising the Trust’s public survey data, some paper maps and a red felt tip. Her colouring skills eventually led to a role as assistant biological recording officer on LWT’s Biological Recording Project, which was set up in 1996 as a precursor to an LERC for London. In 1999, Mandy took over as the Biological Recording Project’s Manager and led the establishment of Greenspace Information for Greater London, initially as a records centre hosted by London Wildlife Trust in 2006, and as an independent, not-for-profit community interest company in 2013.
Mandy learnt a lot from the National Biodiversity Network’s ‘Linking Local Records Centres’ project which started in 1998, and has been a keen advocate for the potential that local environmental records centres have as regional delivery nodes within the Network ever since. She represented the LERC community on the National Federation for Biological Recording council for 11 years from 2002, and was involved in the development work and eventual establishment of the Association of Local Environmental Records Centres (ALERC) in 2009. She was co-opted onto ALERC’s board of directors in 2011 and stood down 6 years later.
Mandy was co-opted onto the National Biodiversity Network Trust’s Board to represent ALERC in 2016, and was officially appointed to the Board as a trustee after the governance review in 2017.
Mandy lives in south London, works in central London and escapes to green and blue spaces close to home and further afield whenever she can.
Dr Roddy Fairley
Day job: Strategy Manager, Scottish Natural Heritage
Trustee since February 2012
Roddy has a long history of working for Scottish Natural Heritage. Between 2007 and 2009 he was acting Director of Operations for South Scotland following 10 years in Area Management, first in Argyll and Stirling (where key motivations were the establishment of Scotland’s first National Park (Loch Lomond and The Trossachs), and the conservation of Greenland White Fronted and Barnacle Geese and of Chough) and then Strathclyde and Ayrshire (where abiding interests were the pursuit of strategies for green-space and green infrastructure across Central Scotland and, in addition, the continuing problems of hen harrier conservation. This followed several years in charge of corporate planning and organisational development. Before joining SNH in 1992, he was in charge of policy development in the Countryside Commission for Scotland, and before that he worked for the Nature Conservancy Council on a variety of surveys and aspects of nature reserve management.
Between 1998 and 2008 he was a Director of, and for much of that time, chaired, Reforesting Scotland, the principal NGO in Scotland for ecological restoration and social forestry. Between 2007 and 2009 he was a Director of Paths for All, and sat on Scotland’s National Access Forum. Between 2003 and 2011 he was a Director of the Central Scotland Forest Trust and since 2005 has been a Director of the Cairnhead Community Forest Trust which he now chairs. He is a member of the Forestry Commission’s South Scotland Regional Forestry Forum.
After graduating in ecology from the University of Edinburgh his studies of the below ground ecosystem, fine root and mycorrhizal dynamics led to the award of a PhD from Aberdeen University.
He lives in rural south west Scotland with his wife and children where he sings in choirs, cooks for the family, writes poetry, keeps bees and walks the hills.
Professor Michael Hassell CBE FRS
Day job: Honorary Principal Research Fellow at Imperial College, London
Chair since March 2012
Michael’s background is in population biology with a special interest in the dynamics of insect populations. This was kindled by three inspirational George’s: George Salt as his undergraduate tutor at Cambridge and then by George Varley and George Gradwell, his DPhil supervisors at Oxford. After a year at the University of California, Berkeley and then a NERC Fellowship back at Oxford, he went as a Lecturer to Imperial College, based at their Silwood Park Field Station outside Ascot. And there, contrary to his early expectations, he stayed, working up the ranks until retiring in 2007. Apart from research success, it was (more latterly) a time of learning how to run departments and faculties (and not letting meetings run over time!). Outside Imperial College, it was most rewarding for Michael to be President of the British Ecological Society, on the Councils of NERC, The Zoological Society of London and the Royal Society, and spending several years as a Trustee of the Natural History Museum.
Now that he has ‘retired’, his time is spent between the NBN and, from 2016, being the President of the Royal Entomological Society., Happily, this still leaves good time for he and his wife, and their dogs to revel in the beautiful countryside of North Devon.
Day job: Helen leads NRWs information mapping and analysis team within the Evidence Knowledge and Advice Department.
Co-opted Trustee since July 2013. Full Trustee from July 2014
Helen has worked in the environment sector for over 20 years, working for private, public and voluntary sector organisations including time spent living and working on Ynys Enlli National Nature Reserve and Flat Holm Island Local Nature Reserve. Helen’s experience includes practical land management, nature conservation, biodiversity assessment and reporting, environmental education, and knowledge management.
Helen’s background is in ecology. She has a Masters in Countryside Management and has a particular interest in using evidence and knowledge to solve real life environmental issues and raise awareness and enjoyment of our natural world. Helen’s dissertation focussed on landscape scale analyses of habitat to help target land management towards a functional landscape that supports species movement in response to climate change, in the days when processing power was a significant limiting factor.
Helen has worked with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and one of its legacy organisations, the Countryside Council for Wales, since 2000. Helen leads NRWs information mapping and analysis team within the Evidence Knowledge and Advice Department. The team leads NRW’s strategic partnership work with the NBN, Local Environmental Records Centres and works with the relevant business leads for national schemes and societies to advise on data and information issues. Helen has been involved with the NBN since 2006 as a member and contributor for a number of NBN committees.
Helen lives in the hills of North Wales and spends much of her time cycling, running or simply sitting, watching and enjoying the landscapes that North Wales has to offer.
Day job: Director: Woodworks Coaching & Consulting
Trustee since July 2007
Andrew is a professionally qualified coach, working with people in leadership roles at all levels, supporting them in bringing about desired change in their lives and careers. From 2006 to 2015 Andrew was an Executive Director at Natural England, most recently as Executive Director for Science & Evidence. During this time he has been variously responsible for NE’s Biodiversity, Landscape, Marine and Regulatory programmes, whilst also leading the organisations science and evidence work. Prior to this he managed elements of the Countryside Agency’s change programme in relation to the Modernising Rural Delivery Programme, bringing the Agency’s work on Landscape Access and recreation into NE. Throughout his career, Andrew has held a variety of policy development and implementation roles. In particular, he was responsible for the childcare policy in Wales for three years and was responsible for the Local Government reorganisation in Wales in the mid-1990s. Prior to joining Natural England, he worked with the Audit Commission; his last role there was Director of Policy.