Meet the team
We’re lucky to have such a multi-talented and dedicated team working here on the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area across Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire! Let’s introduce you to them…
Team Leader Ann
Ann is super-passionate about nature, having a background in farming, Natural England and early years education. She leads the team, inspiring them to share their enthusiasm and knowledge with people of all ages. Heathlands are amazing and she hopes to get you excited about them and helping to protect them for future generations.
Data Analyst Daria
Data supremo Daria’s enthusiasm for birds and fieldwork is contagious! With impressive expertise, she’s making her mark here as she helps to shape the direction of our nature conservation strategy.
One half of the successful Facebook group Heathland Hounds, where Jo brings you dog-related news from around the Thames Basin Heaths area. Her favourite patch is Caesar’s Camp. In spring you’ll often find her here, listening out for the beautiful song of the woodlark. Jo’s fascinated to learn more about these picky birds that will only nest on very open ground. Do stop for a chat if you see her, she’ll be glad to tell you if she’s heard one lately.
Education & Engagement Officer Michael
Michael absolutely loves nature and considers himself fortunate to spend so much time with local schools, and community groups, sharing #OurAmazingHeathlands. From getting groups out to the heaths, to taking ‘virtual’ assemblies, every day provides an opportunity to connect someone with something magical. If you’re a teacher or group leader interested in finding out about local wildlife, do get in touch.
I’m sure at least a few of you will know Mike, our longest serving warden, he’s been with us since wardening began at Ockham Common in January 2015! A historic moment for us! If you’ve been on one of our guided walks, chances are it was led by Mike, and if so, I’m sure you enjoyed a tale or two from his mine of information!
Mike’s geared-up to bring you the latest news about fire risk and fire prevention. As the climate changes, wildfires are likely to become an ever increasing problem. Heathlands are particularly vulnerable because heather, gorse and grasses are highly flammable, providing perfect fuel. If we’re in for another long, hot, dry summer, we all need to #BeWildfireAware.
Some of you may know Nicky from Heathland Hounds! If not, do check out our fantastic Facebook group, where she and Warden Jo are sharing fun and information for dog walkers. It’s THE place to hear about new dog-walking venues in and around the Thames Basin Heaths area.
“I can’t wait to hear the mysterious churring of nightjars at dusk in June. Every year, these amazing birds fly over 4,000 miles from Africa, choosing the same precious spot of heath, only 15 minutes’ walk from my house, to nest and rear their young!”
Communications Officer Sarah
Sarah counts herself very lucky to spend so much time in interesting and beautiful places across our Special Protection Area. Her passion is sharing stories from the heaths through social media, our website and at events such as Heath Week.
Project Manager Ruth
Ruth’s been engaged in a wide variety of landscape projects, from the design and build of play areas to managing an environmental education centre! She’s excited to join our amazing team and firmly believes that engagement with and understanding of the landscape in which we live, is the key to a happy, fulfilled life.
“I’m looking forward to being outdoors and protecting heathland, one of the planet’s rarest habitats. I’ve always lived next to Chobham Common, so it’s exciting to be looking after a place I’m closely connected to.”
“I’m looking forward to getting people excited about our rare heathland and how they can help protect its wildlife. Also to exploring #GreenspaceOnYourDoorstep and getting to know our partners!”
Ben’s enjoying exploring the heaths of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area and is so happy we still have these wonderful wild areas to enjoy.
“As a warden I’m looking forward to the rejuvenation of nature in the summer months. It’s an uplifting time when the outdoors feels alive with flowers blooming and birds drowning out the silence. As we emerge from lockdown I have a new appreciation for the outdoors and its value for our health.”
“I’m really looking forward to exploring all the heaths of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area, enjoying the diversity of species and to sharing conversations with visitors.”