Category: Charity Work

native bird interpretation 02

These draft sheets were created for teachers packs and interpretation downloads for native bird species. Many of the bird images were supplied royalty free by the expert and renown wildlife photographer Maurice Baker (thank you Maurice!).

native bird interpretation 02

great field 01

volunteers 01

The Great Field of the Forty Hall Estate contains the archaeological remains of the Tudor dynasty’s Elsynge Palace, and is a listed Ancient Scheduled Monument.

Whilst conservation officer for a year I undertook ecological surveys of the site and with the help of numerous volunteers ranging from Duke of Edinburgh participants, local schools, to the wonderful Enfield Conservation Volunteers we were able to initiate site maintenance after a long pause in active management.

Enhancements and reinstatement of traditional management included new pollard planting, demonstrations of traditional hurdle construction, re-pollard existing willows around two dew ponds and removal of invasive alien Rhododendron ponticum.

Bat boxes, insect shelters, log piles and hedgehog shelters were also created by volunteers and placed around the site.

The lime tree avenue, arranged on an alignment that paralleled the numerous historic rides on adjacent Enfield Chase was enhanced by raising the canopy and removing basal suckers, as undertaken by a dedicated group of vulnerable adults and community volunteers.

volunteers 02

pied kingfisher left

Possibly because of a childhood spent with chickens, ducks, geese, pheasants and all other manner of poultry and wildfowl, I’ve always had an affinity with birds. Here’s a selection of acrylic/ watercolours produced in the past few years. (I have been known to give copies for worthy causes).

Spitzbergen glacial river jump

 

After finishing A-levels, I joined the British Schools Exploring Society‘s summer expedition to the island of West Spitzbergen in the high arctic.

The nine week expedition was broken into three phases: scientific exploration, adventure and for my group, geology. Our science phase was spent studying the 24 hour daylight conditions and monitoring how sea birds have adapted their breeding and ‘lifestyle’ strategies accordingly. Sadly the Ptarmigan which we were hoping to study had been decimated by hunters shortly before our arrival!

Whilst in the Arctic I witnessed first hand the retreat of glaciers and the thinning of the ice sheets and the impact of such changes on the flora and fauna.

tropicalrainforest low res

I traveled the length of this incredible island with two friends, supporting environmental charities, wildlife conservation and the local communities through donations, payments for guided tours and exchange of information.

The Aye-aye at midnight and the Indri’s haunting calls through the dawn forest are one of my strongest memories… and the leeches!

 

mangroves aerial low res

Following several months in Tanzania (see previous post), I flew to Nairobi, caught the train to Mombassa (left pretty damn quick due to a cholera outbreak) and then worked my way up the Indian Ocean coast.

After a wonderful trip to Lamu island, I finally joined the Kenyan Wildlife Service and the Worldwide Fund for Nature at their Mkokoni base camp, close to the Somali border.

I had the privilege of working under the tutelege of Dr. Julie Church, the renowned scientist and advocate for conservation.

My tasks included community outreach awareness programme, collecting the huge amounts of tide-borne litter, and aiding in turtle conservation.

our shamba churwa low res

After graduating, I joined the Student Partnership Worldwide charity (now Restless Development) on a 3 month training course in Zanzibar and Tanzania prior to spending a further 3 month ‘outreach’ placement in remote villages of the Usambara mountains of northern Tanzania.

The team of European and Tanzanian students integrated into village existence: living in mud huts and taking water from the river each morning whist setting up tree nurseries, model farms, multi-cropping experiments, teaching in the schools, promoting forest management, water management awareness courses, sustainable management awareness, and whilst trying to learn Kiswahili (with varying success!).

After a bout of tapeworms, malaria, tetanus and hospitalisation, I joined the Kilimanjaro Soil Development Association advising on organic farming practices and erosion control before returning to the Usambara mountains, and then headed north to Kenya and south to Madagascar.

 

Mashtagi Playground Appeal_front cover (Copy)

Working with the International Women’s Committee- Baku, I designed a marketing brochure and revamped the landscape proposals for the orphanage. The brief was to help raise funds and provide a landscape scheme so that the 160 foster children (housed in former military barracks), could realise their dream of a playground space incorporating equipment, features and natural play.

The playground is currently being improved under Phase 1- restoration.

Houghton primary 01

The headmistress of Houghton County Primary School approached me with a request to engage the children in a design exercise for a small courtyard space.

As I and several members of my family were former pupils of the school, the design package was of course offered free of charge, with the labour and materials provided at significant discount by the Garden and Leisure group’s Huntingdon store .

The concept was based on my interpretation of primary school student’s paintings of their ‘dream courtyard’ as a jungle with lots of seating for lunchtime dining and classtime outdoor lessons as well as accommodating a quiet reading area.

Hinchingbrooke 01

As a student of Hinchingbrooke School I volunteered to restore the brick Wendy House and gardens, built as a retreat for an eighteenth century Earl’s daughter.

In subsequent years I also provided designs, plants and urns for the herbaceous Long Border, Rose Garden and House Terrace around the historic Hinchingbrooke House, seat of the Cromwells, Montagus and Earls of Sandwich, and presently the classrooms of the school’s sixth form.