Sir Graham Fry - Chairman
Sir Graham Fry retired from the British diplomatic service in 2008 and lives near St Neots. He speaks Japanese and spent 12 years in Japan on three postings, the last as ambassador. His other overseas postings were to France and Malaysia, and he has a number of part-time appointments with companies and a university. Graham has been bird watching since 1973, and in 1993 helped to translate the text of A Field Guide to The Waterbirds of Asia published by the Wild Bird Society of Japan and distributed to Asian conservationists. From 2009 to 2016 he was a member of the Council of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, and joined as one of our Trustees in 2012. Graham served as Vice Chairman from October 2014 and became Chairman in October 2016.
Dr Jenna Bishop - Vice Chair
Dr Jenna Bishop trained as a solicitor and has worked in private practice and for the National Trust in its Legal Department, where she focused on property law, public access and conservation matters. She has an MA in Environmental Law, completed her PhD research on the impact of different land tenure arrangements on the rural environment, and has taken part in research projects on land tenure and management mechanisms with several conservation organisations. Jenna became a Trustee in 2010, was elected Honorary Secretary in 2016 and Vice Chairman in 2018. She lives in Cambridgeshire, has two sons at university, and has been involved with several local charities.
Paul Solon – Honorary Secretary
Paul Solon qualified as a Solicitor in 1973 and as a Notary Public in 1977. For many years he worked as a commercial lawyer in the City of London, acting for public and private companies in the shipping, food, publishing and transport industries. Since 1990 he has specialised in trusts, including charitable trusts and now practises independently for a select number of high net worth individuals and families. Paul has advised charitable institutions for many years and in Cambridge he has advised the University and several colleges on charitable issues. Currently, he is also a trustee of the University of Cambridge Veterinary School Trust and of the European Opera Centre. He is secretary of the corporate charity Since 9/11 Foundation. He has long been interested in nature and conservation issues and is a member of several environmental organisations.
James Fanshawe – Honorary Treasurer
James Fanshawe is a chartered accountant and farmer. He was a partner in PriceWaterhouseCoopers for 20 years until his retirement in 2006. In partnership with his wife, he is now a livestock farmer of 450 acres of grassland in Northamptonshire with a sucker cow herd of pedigree Beef Shorthorns and a flock of breeding ewes, including rare and native breeds. His farm is in a Higher Level Stewardship conservation agreement. He also has experience of policy work with DEFRA, meat processing and advisory work for farmers though AHDB Beef and Lamb and the National Beef Association.
Dr Matt Walpole – Chair of Conservation, Education & Community Committee
Dr Matt Walpole is a conservation biologist with 20 years post-doctoral experience in conservation research, practice and policy. His career in academia and, more recently, in the international NGO sector has combined ecological, economic and social perspectives to improve decision-making from local to global scales. This has included work on community engagement and participation in wildlife conservation and reserve management. In addition he advises governments and the international community on the implications of biodiversity change. He also directed the UK National Ecosystem Assessment to improve understanding of nature’s value to society. Matt has lived and worked in Cambridge for the past decade, and in a professional capacity contributes to a range of governance processes including the Steering Committee of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative. He is also part of the senior management team at Flora and Fauna International responsible for the performance, strategic growth and sustainability of the organisation.
Hannah has spent her professional career working in the public policy and environment sectors. She worked for the RSPB as a senior adviser on a range of domestic and European nature conservation issues, before moving to the Environment Agency. There she held a variety of national leadership roles covering land use, planning and housing, economic growth, climate change and flooding. She is currently the Chief Operating Officer for the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT), a voluntary membership organisation representing ‘place’ directors from county, unitary and combined authorities across England along with directors of Local Enterprise Partnerships and corporate partners drawn from key service sectors. She is a governor at Potton Lower & Middle Schools, and is working with Potton Town Council to complete the Potton-Sandy cycleway. She is always out walking the dog in the fields and woods around Potton, and was delighted to recently see a water vole in Potton Brook.
Dr Samuel Brockington
Dr Samuel Brockington studied Plant Biology at the University of Edinburgh, before gaining a PhD at the Florida Museum of Natural History, USA. He is currently a Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, and Curator of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. Here his research group pursues a variety of questions relating to the evolution of plant biodiversity, particularly within the flowering plant order Caryophyllales. In his role as Curator, he is interested in how plant biodiversity is held and managed across the world’s ex-situ collections, and its utility for ecological restoration.
Dr Sharon Erzinçlioğlu
Dr Sharon Erzinçlioğlu studied Zoology at Bangor University in North Wales in the late 1970s, and then moved to Durham to pursue a PhD in Animal Behaviour where she investigated the foraging behaviour of American mink. At Durham, she met her future husband, a fly (specifically Diptera, Calliphoridae) taxonomist and the couple moved to Cambridge in 1984 and started a family. While the children were small she kept up her interest in the natural world, working part-time as a science copy editor for Cambridge University Press on various books and the journal Animal Conservation. Returning to a full-time research career in the late 1990s she joined the Medical Research Council’s Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit (CBU) where she joined the Environment Group, serving as Chairman for the past 3 years. In her spare time Dr. Erzinçlioğlu enjoys gardening, countryside walks, travel, films and volunteering with the Cambridge Mammal Group and the Wildlife Trust’s Ecology Group.
Rebecca is currently an HR professional at Cranfield University but has a background in communications and has held roles in the public, private and not for profit sectors. She has direct experience of the role of corporate governance and corporate social responsibility for organisations through board committee positions she has held in the past.
Rebecca is passionate about promoting sustainable land management, which started when she lived in South Australia and worked in industry to uphold environmental protection and support the concept of conservation corridors. She now lives adjacent to the River Ouse and has populations of water vole and otter on her property, so habitat conservation and management is high on her list of personal priorities.
Chris Lewis has a degree in Engineering (BA 1976 and MA 1979) and worked as a chartered consulting engineer both in the UK and abroad for some 25 years. He is a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a member of the Chartered Institute for Water and Environmental Management. Chris joined commercial developer Prologis in 2001, taking the lead in the planning and delivery of infrastructure and resolution of environmental matters for major development sites. He has considerable experience in negotiating agreements with planning authorities, landowners and statutory bodies.
Chris has been the link between Prologis and the WTBCN since 2008 and has been instrumental in creating the partnership that has developed between the two organisations. In recent years, Chris’s main project has been the third phase of the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT III) where the Trust will manage the 193 acre Lilbourne Meadows wildlife area for Prologis.
Dr Ananya Mukherjee
Ananya has worked in various roles on environmental issues for nearly 10 years, specialising in the human dimension of nature conservation, and is a Trustee of The Wildlife Trust so that she can make a contribution to nature conservation in a different capacity. Most of the projects she has worked on involved advocacy, community or stakeholder engagement and influencing decision-makers. She has also been involved in monitoring and evaluating projects, in assessing the impact of climate change and in climate change adaptation work. She has experience in fund-raising work, in building partnerships and in examining the sustainability of community-based conservation programmes using a landscape level approach. Currently she is working as a Research Fellow with the University of Surrey on their renewable energy programme working with local communities using social innovation and hopes to bring in this experience and knowledge to the role of a Trustee and make a difference to the world of nature conservation.
Jenny Neild is Bursar and Strategic Development Director of The Stephen Perse Foundation, a family of seven schools across Saffron Walden and Cambridge. She is also a member of the Homerton College (Cambridge University) Audit Committee. A chartered accountant and strategy consultant by background, she has significant strategic, operational and financial experience.
Jenny is interested in environmental issues and is currently working with Stephen Perse students on sustainability as she believes that through the education and empowerment of our young people we can ensure that they acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values needed to shape a sustainable future.
Professor William Stephens is an ecological scientist by background. The majority of his working life has been at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire, specialising in the effect of climate on plant growth culminating as Head of the Institute of Water and Environment until 2006. Since then and up to his retirement in 2018, he worked in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, latterly as University Secretary. He chaired the University Board for Energy and Environment responsible for the University’s environmental performance. William is a Chartered Environmentalist and was a Trustee of the Marston Vale Trust for three years. He also served as a Trustee for the Bedford Charity for 10 years and as a Commonwealth Scholarship Commissioner for six years.
Becky worked in Senior Purchasing roles for a variety of very large manufacturing and construction companies. She specialised in buying energy and services. She focussed on ensuring the energy was from the greenest of commercially viable sources. She worked hard to reduce her employers’ usage of materials, and to offset their carbon footprint.
Her varied roles have given Becky an holistic view of organisations, their ways of working and their impact on the environment. In particular, she sees the way shareholders place growing importance on big business to be more mindful of their impact as on opportunity for the Trust
She possesses highly effective negotiation skills and is experienced in winning people over by finding solutions for businesses that work for everyone, including the environment. She is realistic that businesses need to make profit, but not at any cost.
Becky is particularly interested in how the Trust interacts with big businesses, both in terms of informing and advising them, and how to work with them to reduce their adverse impacts and to produce a net benefit for wildlife.
Becky has been a wildlife fan since watching birds in her Great Aunty’s garden as a young child and also supports the RSPB and the Woodland Trust. She hopes her commercial experience will be useful to the Trust in the role of a Trustee and indeed make a difference to how local businesses view nature conservation.
Dr Edgar Turner
Dr Edgar Turner is Curator of Insects and a University Lecturer at the Museum of Zoology and a Fellow at Clare College, University of Cambridge. He has been involved with the Wildlife Trust BCN since 2006, when he worked as an Ecology Groups Officer on a project studying Duke of Burgundy butterflies and other species at Totternhoe Quarry. Since then, his research has concentrated on the impacts of deforestation and oil palm expansion in Malaysia and Indonesia. He joined the Conservation, Education and Community Committee in 2014 and became a Trustee in 2015.
President and President Elect
President Mr Michael Allen
Michael Allen spent his working life in adult and continuing education and in University teaching and administration. His last two posts were as Director of Continuing Education in the University of Cambridge, and Bursar and Director of Studies in English at Churchill College Cambridge. During those years he led a variety of wildlife tours throughout Europe and Africa for (among others) Heritage Travel and Wildlife Travel.
A licensed bird ringer since 1967, he was a founder member of The Wicken Fen Group in 1968 and subsequently served as Hon Secretary and Hon Treasurer of the British Trust for Ornithology and chaired its Publicity and Membership Committee. He was also Secretary of the Ouse Washes Management Committee in the 1970s.
On his retirement from his College posts in 1999 he became involved in regional matters and was appointed coordinator for the East of England Environment Forum. He represented the Forum on the East of England Regional Assembly, of which he was a member from 1999 to 2010. He served as Deputy Chair of the Assembly and leader of the 30 or so Community Stakeholder members (politically non- aligned). He also served on its Executive Committee and on the EERA/EEDA Liaison Panel and as Chair of the Environment & Resources Panel. During this period he chaired the working parties which produced The East of England Sustainable Development Framework (2001) and the East of England’s Environment Strategy (2003)
He was a member of the Regional Advisory Committee for the Forestry Commission; the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for the East of England; the Sustainable Development Round Table for the East of England and of the National Trust’s East of England Regional Committee for over twenty years.
He was Chairman of the Council of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust from 2002-2008 and a Trustee of The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (the umbrella organization for the 47 Wildlife Trusts in the British Isles), from 1999-2005. He served as its Chairman from 2005 – November 2011.
He edited Nature Tales (Elliott & Thompson, London 2010), a selection of prose writing on British landscapes and wildlife.
He was awarded the OBE for services to wildlife conservation in the 2012 Birthday Honours List.