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© 2019 A Focus On Nature

Mentoring Scheme

LEARN AND ENHANCE YOUR SKILLS

Our Mentoring Scheme lets you choose from over 40 experienced professionals who are keen to help the next generation of nature conservationists. Your mentor may read through your CV, give feedback on your creative portfolio or simply share some of their professional knowledge with you!

The mentoring programme offers aspiring conservationists aged 18-30 the opportunity to link with established professionals for tailored one to one guidance, support and advice as they develop their careers. This can take many different formats – from conversations by email, phone or social media or even work experience. The scheme is currently open to young people who live, work or study in the UK, unless you have a specific interest in working in UK conservation. We welcome discourse from wildlife-lovers in other countries who are interested in setting up a mentoring programme abroad.

Whether you are still thinking about what career path you might want to take, or whether you’ve got some experience and jobs on your CV already, a mentor can provide a knowledgeable and experienced point of view. In fact, they probably faced similar questions, situations and decisions at your age! 

Recently Added Mentors

Keiron Brown’s passion is natural history, particularly invertebrates. He works for the Field Studies Council as a Project Manager, running the FSC BioLinks project (an invertebrate identification training programme). He is also the UK’s National Recorder for Earthworms, and an active member and trustee of both the Earthworm society of Britain and London Natural History Society. Expertise include biological recording, training and social media.

Deb Muscat has a lifelong commitment to environmental conservation and gained an MSc in Biological Recording in 2010.  She has volunteered for and led conservation projects, delivered training on all aspects of project and organisational management.  Currently studying dung beetles and bryophytes.

John Randall has a lifelong passion for wildlife. His career has included being a professional ornithologist for bird tour companies and working in No. 10 Downing Street as the PM’s environment adviser.  He has a great deal of experience in politics as a Member of Parliament for 18 years and is a current member of the House of Lords.  

Education and Engagement

Jo Elphick is the Education Manager for a wildlife conservation charity. Her role involves developing the content of conservation education workshops and talks for all key stages and delivering them in schools. As a part of her role Jo also runs an annual global wildlife themed children’s art competition.

Sara Smith works in learning and development, educating and training on topics linked to food, farming and the countryside.  She is passionate about sustainability and working with people.  She also volunteers with Keep Scotland Beautiful, helping to assess community growing projects.

Catriona Corfield has worked in various roles for the RSPB since 2004, with consistent themes of project management and connecting a broader variety of people to nature.

She brings experience of developing strategy and guidance, managing people and events and relationship building with people across a range of ages, abilities and backgrounds and organisational levels.

Ian Barthorpe has worked in various visitor-based roles for the RSPB since 1999, being based at RSPB Minsmere in Suffolk since 2003. His work includes: meet and greet, events planning, leading guided walks, media, social media, blogging and interpretation. As well as birds, Ian also has an interest in all nature, especially mammals, butterflies and flowers. He also has some experience as a tour leader.

Simon Tonkin is a wildlife tour leader and independent conservationist who has lectured in ornithology. He founded The Thorney Farmland Bird Friendly Zone and Operation Turtle Dove. Simon was the Conservation Manager for Conservation Grade, working on ground-breaking and exciting global land use conservation projects. Simon now works in the Straits of Gibraltar in Spain.

Education Manager Becky O'Melia is passionate about teaching children and adults about the world that surrounds them and how to use it in a sustainable way which works alongside wildlife. She aspires to use her skills to engage people who don’t realise the importance of their natural environment. Becky is currently studying part time for a Masters in Behaviour Change alongside her role of Education Manager at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

Keiron Brown’s passion is natural history, particularly invertebrates. He works for the Field Studies Council as a Project Manager, running the FSC BioLinks project (an invertebrate identification training programme). He is also the UK’s National Recorder for Earthworms, and an active member and trustee of both the Earthworm society of Britain and London Natural History Society. Expertise include biological recording, training and social media.

Carl Chapman worked in the world of finance for over three decades before his career change. This prepared him for starting his own business, Wildlife Tours  and Education, and all that ensues from handling the business development and financing side of an organisation.

Carl also teaches photography. He is based in Norfolk and is the County Cetacean Recorder among other roles. 

ART and Media

Keith Betton is a media trainer, PR consultant and writer and has recently co-authored two books with Mark Avery. However, for 20 years he was the main spokesman for the UK travel industry, making over 1000 TV appearances and 5000 radio broadcasts, commenting on the news issues of the day as they affected the travelling public. 

Keith is currently a BTO Vice President and a trustee of the Cameron Bespolka Trust.

Ceri Levy is a documentary filmaker writer and self-titled "Gonzovationist". His new book Critical Critters is out July 2018.

Ceri is involved with a local community conservation project in Leicestershire, the Three Villages Conservation Trust.

Nick Upton is a biologist, writer, award winning wildlife film-maker and photographer. He was Series Researcher on Sir David Attenborough’s “Trials of Life" series and produced films for BBC, National Geographic, RPSB and others.

He now shoots wildlife stills and video, writes and tutors photographers.  His work appears regularly in books and magazines, including BBC Wildlife.  He's worked on commission for The National Trust, the Wildlife Trusts and other NGOs.

Science and Policy

Matt Williams is an environmental policy expert and has been a leader in the youth environment sector for the past decade. He's a wildlife photographer, nature writer and podcaster too.

mattadamwilliams.co.uk

Dave Grundy is an experienced naturalist and wildlife consultant specialising in bird, butterfly and moth surveying. He also delivers moth training courses and is based in Birmingham. 

Visit Dave's website

Richard Benwell is chief executive of Wildlife and Countryside Link, England's largest environmental coalition. Previously he was policy advisor to the Secretary of State at Defra, working on the Environment Bill, the Agriculture Bill and the Fisheries Bill. Before joining Defra, Richard worked in policy and advocacy at WWT and RSPB and was a senior clerk in the House of Commons Commission. His PhD was about the design of carbon emissions trading systems. Richard has also been a director of Westmill Solar Cooperative, a community energy project near his home.

 

Dr Rob Lambert is an environment academic at the University of Nottingham, previously the University of St. Andrews. He is the author of books, chapters and journal articles on subjects as diverse as environmental history, species history, nature conservation, ecotourism, wildlife tourism, and conservation conflicts. He also writes for the popular environmental press, lectures on expedition ships around the UK coast and has worked on major TV and Radio wildlife documentaries.

Alistair Watson is an Environmental Project Manager for electricity infrastructure projects. He identifies potential interactions between construction and wildlife, undertakes ecological constraints surveys and recommends mitigation. He has previous experience in practical conservation, a biological records centre, habitat surveying and statutory nature conservation.

He is a keen citizen scientist promoting

recording, protection and enhancement of wildlife.

Dan Carpenter is an ecologist and environmental data scientist with over ten years of experience in academic research, local authority ecology and Local Environmental Records Centres.  Dan is passionate about biological recording and using the best available data in decision making for nature conservation and land management.

John Randall has a lifelong passion for wildlife. His career has included being a professional ornithologist for bird tour companies and working in No. 10 Downing Street as the PM’s environment adviser.  He has a great deal of experience in politics as a Member of Parliament for 18 years and is a current member of the House of Lords.  

Writing

Naturalist and author Clive Chatters was once a front-line conservationist before being drawn into management, governance and the political world of government. Now that he has the luxury of time, Clive has returned to studying the natural world and how people relate to it. 

 Throughout his working life Clive has been supported by 'old hands' and would now like to return the compliment.

Patrick Barkham is an author and staff writer for the Guardian where he covers wildlife and nature. He has written four books – The Butterfly Isles, Badgerlands, Coastlines and Islander – and has been a national newspaper and online journalist for 20 years. He also freelances regularly for BBC Wildlife Magazine, Country Living, Countryfile and the Oldie. He is based in Norfolk, is a very amateur naturalist and sometimes works as a butterfly tour guide!

Stephen Moss is a naturalist, author and former TV producer based in Somerset, who now runs an MA in Travel and Nature Writing at Bath Spa University. He can offer advice on careers in most areas of the media, including television, radio, newspaper and magazine journalism, and writing books. 

See his website for more info.

Land Management and Conservation

Simon Amstutz is the only Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) manager in the country to work across two nationally designated landscapes.  He has worked in various roles in the AONB world but previously ran a countryside management project and as a Ranger and Warden. He has worked in a variety of jobs in the public, private and third sectors, with varying relevance to conservation.

Genevieve Dalley has worked in a variety of roles, from tern warden with the RSPB to conservation officer with the British Dragonfly Society. She currently works as Biodiversity Officer for the North Pennines AONB on the Cold-blooded and Spineless Project. Her roles have given her a diverse range of experience, including running citizen science projects, site monitoring and working with volunteers. Genevieve says: "Working in conservation isn't always an easy path, but it is worth it, so don't give up!"

Luke Barley works as Lead Ranger for the National Trust in the White Peak, where he helps look after more than 2000ha of ravine woodland and wildflower-rich grassland as well as welcoming around one million visitors a year. Luke has a particular interest in trees with Britain's native limes as nerdy favourites. He volunteers with the Ancient Tree Forum and occasionally writes about his work for industry journals and online.

Joe Middleton is a land manager and naturalist in Bristol, and he runs wildlife engagement activities at UK events and festivals. He currently manages over 30 woodlands in the South West for The Woodland Trust.

He helped set up The Bristol Nature Network, and volunteers as a Director for the European Union Conservation Action Network (EUCAN).

He's also pretty normal and down to earth, and happy to help anytime :)

David Tompkins is Volunteer Coordinator for the Wear Rivers Trust. He previously worked as Reserve Manager and Volunteer Coordinator at a NNR. He strives to facilitate volunteers in learning, experiencing and enjoying practical habitat work, monitoring and engagement on the site. He has supervised several student placements and younger volunteers, he does his best to ensure they move on from the site as competitive and professional conservationists.

Deb Muscat has a lifelong commitment to environmental conservation and gained an MSc in Biological Recording in 2010.  She has volunteered for and led conservation projects, delivered training on all aspects of project and organisational management.  Currently studying dung beetles and bryophytes.