All our board members are senior managers and experts in their field whether this is information management, business development or biological recording.

Following the NBN governance review in late 2017, we are delighted to announce that we have recruited five new members to the NBN Trust Board.  These appointments will enhance and extend the range of skills across our Board.

We are also pleased to confirm the official appointment of Mandy Rudd to the Board.

The new Trustees from February 2018 are:

  • Wilma Harper
  • Neil Hodges
  • Belinda Howell
  • Matt Postles
  • Liz Proctor
  • Mandy Rudd

Board members

New Trustees as at February 2018

 Wilma Harper

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.

Neil Hodges

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.

 Matt Postles

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 NatureCommunicate Conference and BioBlitz programmesMatt 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.

Liz Proctor

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.

 Mandy Rudd

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.

The board members as at November 2017 are:

Jen Ashworth Jen Ashworth

Day job: Manager of Marine Conservation and Management Advice,
Natural England

Trustee since May 2013

Jen was nominated to represent the Marine Biological Association where she is a Governor.

Jen has worked on marine conservation issues for the last 15 years, initially overseas but since 2005 for Natural England where she is currently the Marine Manager responsible for providing Conservation Advice to regulators and stakeholders and also NE’s advice on fisheries in Marine Protected Areas. This involves ensuring we are clear about our conservation objectives for protected habitats and species and what activities might damage them. Before this Jen was the Principal Specialist for Marine Evidence where her expertise was particularly in the identification and monitoring of Marine Protected Areas. She was coordinating author of the Ecological Network Guidance for the Marine Conservation Zone project and joint lead author of JNCC and Natural England’s advice to Defra for the first tranche of MCZs. As a member of their dive team she occasionally gets to do some survey work and gather data herself.

Jen has been on the Council of the Marine Biological Association since 2009 and is a member of their Knowledge Exchange Committee which focuses on evidence, communications and conservation. Jen represents the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers on the MBA Council and was nominated to the Company as part of their drive to increase members with knowledge of the marine environment and fisheries and the number of women. Jen is also a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas.

John Davy-Bowker John Davy-Bowker

Day job: Head of Science at the Freshwater Biological Association

Acting Trustee since June 2013

John was nominated to represent the Freshwater Biological Association as an acting Trustee until a new FBA CEO takes up this role.

John was appointed Head of Science in July 2015. John has also served as Acting Director of the FBA for a period of nearly two years, and prior to that was the Facilities and Research Manager at the FBA River Laboratory. Before joining the FBA John worked for the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and its predecessor, the Institute of Freshwater Ecology. Before joining IFE John worked for the Environment Agency in Reading, where he carried out surveys for rare freshwater macroinvertebrate species and compiled national databases of biodiversity action plan species.  John also worked for its predecessor organisation, the National Rivers Authority (in North Wales) where he did macroinvertebrate surveys, pollution investigations and macroinvertebrate sample processing and identification.

John has been an FBA member since 1990, at which time he also joined the British Ecological Society and became a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society. John has also been a member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management since 1996.

John’s main scientific interests include research and development on RIVPACS predictive models (River InVertebrate Prediction And Classification System) and biotic indices for use in the biomonitoring of streams and rivers. John is also keenly interested in freshwater biodiversity and regularly undertakes surveys and monitoring of various rare and endangered freshwater invertebrate species. John is also currently investigating the potential for captive breeding and reintroduction of some of our most threatened freshwater invertebrates. John also runs a long term monitoring project on two chalk streams in southern England.

 Andy Clements Andy Clements

Day job: British Trust for Ornithology Director

Trustee since November 2012

I was educated at the University of Wales, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree (1976) and PhD in Zoology (1980) before lecturing in Zoology and researching birdsong at the University of Sussex.

I joined the Nature Conservancy Council in 1982, and my 24 years with the Government nature conservation agency included field-work on upland birds, Communications and European work and securing Lottery funds for local community areas for wildlife.  After species work seconded to the Department of the Environment, I returned to English Nature as Director of Protected Areas with overall responsibility for nationally and internationally important wildlife sites.  I also led the successful defence of Dibden Bay at Public Inquiry.

After assisting the setting up in early 2006 of Natural England, as Director of Science, Evidence & Policy, I undertook freelance strategic environmental consultancy before coming to the BTO as Director in August 2007.  My work at BTO includes leadership of the BTO Strategy 2015-2020, representing BTO in Government and ensuring our strong profile alongside other Third Sector wildlife organisations.  I am a founder member of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative Steering Committee and have ensured BTO science and capacity building is well represented in the David Attenborough Building. I joined the Natural England Board in July 2014.

Dr Mark Diamond PHD (Zoology), MBA Mark Diamond

Day job: Ecology and Ecosystems Manager, Environment Agency

Trustee since July 2004

Mark spent two years as a lecturer in ecology, one year as an ecologist at Risley Moss Cheshire followed by 30 years in the Environment Agency and its predecessors (NRA and North West Water Authority).

He currently leads on the Environment Agency’s approach to Invasive Non-Native Species, Natural Capital, Climate Change Adaptation for the Natural Environment, ecological aspects of the Water Framework Directive and ecological tools and data.

Dr Roddy FairleyRoddy 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 Professor Michael Hassell

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.

Tim Hill Tim Hill

Day job: Chief Scientist at Natural England

Trustee since July 2015

Tim trained as a Marine Biologist and has a Joint Honours degree in Marine Biology and Zoology (University of Wales) and a PhD from the University of Liverpool, where he studied kelp communities.

Tim has worked for Natural England, its predecessor organisation English Nature, and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, for over 20 years in various management and specialist roles covering marine survey, marine protected area management and monitoring, SSSI designation and management, regulation and access.

Tim has been a member of Natural England’s leadership team since March 2008 with former roles including Director Regulatory Services & Access and Director of Evidence. Tim has also been Natural England’s Chief Scientist since 2011. This latter role includes the leadership of Natural England’s scientific and technical capability and for setting standards for the generation, use and application of science and evidence across the organisation.

Tim lives on the northern edge of the North York Moors and enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for the great outdoors with his young family and inexhaustible dog.

Professor Ian Owens Ian Owens

Day job: Director of Science, Natural History Museum

Trustee since December 2011

Professor Ian Owens is Director of Science at the Natural History Museum, where he has been since June 2011.  He joined the Museum from Imperial College London, where he was Head of the Department of Life Sciences. He has previously worked at the Institute of Zoology, London and at the University of Queensland, Australia, and has had extensive involvement with learned societies, governmental and non-governmental agencies.

He is both an honorary research fellow of the Zoological Society of London and sits on the Natural Environment Research Council’s Post-Genomics and Proteomics steering committee, where he recommends how funds should be awarded. As Director of Science, Professor Owens oversees the work of over 300 scientists and 150 post graduate students who are based at the Museum. He sets the strategic direction of the Museum’s scientific activities. This includes ensuring that the Museum meets its national and international responsibilities and the wider needs of society.

Professor Owens is also responsible for the Museum’s vast scientific collections. Containing over 70 million scientific specimens from all parts of the world, they are an important resource used by scientific researchers worldwide.

Dr Richard Pywell Richard Pywell

Day job: Head of Ecological Processes and Modelling Section, CEH Wallingford

Trustee since December 2012

Richard joined the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Monks Wood Research Station in 1993 after completing his BSc at Sheffield University and PhD at Liverpool University. He is an applied ecologist with a focus on the conservation and restoration of biodiversity within intensively managed ecosystems. Much of Richard’s work has been carried out in the context of the agri-environment schemes where he has worked with policy-makers, practitioners and industry to improve both their uptake and effectiveness in conserving wildlife and the environment. Richard is also the CEH Science Area Leader for research into sustainable land management. He currently manages a section of 38 scientists at CEH Wallingford that includes the UK Biological Records Centre.

Richard lives in the Chilterns where he divides his time between bringing up his two daughters and gardening.

Paul Rose Paul Rose

Day job: Director Standards and Advice, Joint Nature Conservation Committee

Trustee since July 2010

After a first degree in Zoology Paul went on to research the feeding ecology of wild rats, the behavioural ecology of the corncrake (Crex crex) and the quantification of overhead cable collisions as a factor in avian mortality. While undertaking this research he also lectured, part-time, on Experimental Design and Statistics. However, for the last 25 years he has pursued a career in conservation, first with Wetlands International where he was responsible for automating the collection and analysis of data from the international waterfowl census, extending the scope of the census from European to global and establishing processes for the routine use of the census in conservation decisions. Examples of this include setting the 1% thresholds for use in identifying wetlands of international importance and providing the evidence base for establishment and implementation of the African Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement of the Bonn Convention. Since 1998, he has worked for the Joint Nature Conservation Committee where he is currently Director Standards and Advice. Underlying his entire career, there has been a common theme of trying to improve the value and use of science and data to conservation decision taking, and looking for innovative solutions to conservation issues.

Much of this work has been international, dealing with European policies, The Ramsar Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity but it has also included prominent roles in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, UK biodiversity reporting and indicators, and establishing effective interfaces between science and policy such as the establishment of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, and the Rural Economy and Land Use research programme (RELU).  All of this started from a childhood interest in biological recording of birds, vascular plants, moths and fungi so it is a great pleasure for Paul to now be involved in getting back to his routes and helping NBN to feed the efforts of so many biological recorders into conservation action and decision making.

Alan Stewart Alan Stewart

Day job: Senior Lecturer in Ecology at Sussex University

Trustee since July 2015

Alan was nominated to represent National Forum for Biological Recording.

Having been interested in natural history since childhood (first with birds, then plants, then insects), Alan has been directly involved in biological recording since taking over the national recording scheme for the 400 species of Auchenorrhyncha (the collective term for leafhoppers, planthoppers, froghoppers, treehoppers and cicadas) in 1986.

He was a member of the original Co-ordinating Commission for Biological Recording (CCBR) that provided the impetus for setting up the NBN. Since arriving at Sussex University in 1993, where he is now Senior Lecturer in Ecology with research interests in insect-plant interactions, insect community ecology and conservation, he has taken a strong interest in local natural history and conservation, being a trustee of the Sussex Wildlife Trust and more recently chairman of their conservation committee. He also chaired the steering committee of the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre for more than 12 years. Collectively, these experiences have given him an appreciation of biological recording from a number of perspectives.

Alan enjoys living within the recently-designated South Downs National Park where his limited spare time is mostly focused on natural history and a sporty family.

Tom Webb Tom Webb

Day job: Royal Society University Research Fellow, University of Sheffield

Co-opted Trustee since February 2014 and full Trustee from July 2014

Tom is an ecologist by training, with a BSc from the University of East Anglia and a PhD in macroecology from the University of Sheffield. He has subsequently worked on a number of macroecology-related projects, including stints at the Universities of Oxford and York before returning to Sheffield, first as a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow and then, since 2008, as a Royal Society University Research Fellow.

Although he has worked on various different systems, Tom’s work is now very much focussed on marine ecosystems, and he is a module leader on the major new NERC/Defra-funded Marine Ecosystems Research Programme, with special responsibility for collating and analysing existing data on the UK’s marine ecosystems. He has also worked extensively with international data organisations, in particular with the IOC/UNESCO-funded Ocean Biogeographic Information System, the World Register of Marine Species, and the EU marine observation and data initiative EMODNet. He is on the UN Pool of Experts on Oceans, and is contributing to the forthcoming World Oceans Assessment.

All of this means that he has considerable experience of dealing with, and analysing, other people’s data, so he has a keen appreciation of the value of the NBN from a research perspective. In addition, Tom has been actively involved with the British Ecological Society for a number of years, and is currently on the committee of the Macroecology Special Interest Group, whose members have a keen interest in the various issues surrounding the use of big data in biodiversity research.

Helen Wilkinson Helen Wilkinson

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.

Andrew Wood Andrew Wood

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.