Mike served previously as UKOTCF Chairman 1995-2009, 2016- and Honorary Executive Director 2009-16. He believes that the Forum’s main challenges are: to help its territory partners both to secure local understanding of the value of wildlife and heritage and to conserve this; to raise awareness in UK and achieve a proper level of funding from UK Government for conservation in UK territories; and to secure adequate resourcing for the work of UKOTCF and its partners. Tremendous progress has been made in these areas but much remains to be done. He considers that, to achieve this, UKOTCF needs to remain engaged with its member organisations at all levels from policy to on-the-ground projects. To this end, Mike donates most of his time to running the organisation on a voluntary basis.
He has been involved in research and conservation for over 50 years, and in UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies for some 25 years. Early research and conservation work was on waders (shorebirds): organiser and leader of the Cambridge-London Iceland Expedition 1970, the University of East Anglia (UEA) Expedition to Morocco 1971, and the UEA Expedition to Tarfaya 1972, to study migration systems and conservation requirements of coastal birds; joint organiser, scientific co-ordinator and leader of advance party and base-camp team for Joint Biological Expedition to NE Greenland 1974; Chairman of international conference in Ukraine in 1992, resulting in the Odessa Protocol on international co-operation on migratory flyway research and conservation.
He has worked in: applied research (e.g. Durham University 1973-1984; Executive Editor of the Journal of Applied Ecology 1994-9); governmental conservation (e.g. Head of Ornithology Department and Assistant Chief Scientist of the Nature Conservancy Council 1984-91; Head of the Implementation Team (1990-1) and first Director of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee 1991-5; amongst other initiatives: established and managed the first decade of the Red Kite Reintroduction programme, recently described by the Chair of UK Government’s statutory advisor as “the biggest species success story in UK conservation history.”;
Co-Chairman of international conference on lead-poisoning in wetlands, Brussels 1991; and Chairman of UK Government’s group to end the use of gunshot lead in wetlands); and the voluntary sector (e.g. Head of International Legislation & Funding Department, RSPB 1995-1997; Director, European Forum on Nature Conservation & Pastoralism 1998-2001; and voluntary roles as Vice-President & Council Member of the British Ornithologists’ Union (1991-2003), WWF-UK, Member of Programme Committee (1992-2002), Council of the British Ecological Society (1993-1999), Council of Wetlands International (1988-1998), member of Environment Committee of the Institute of Petroleum (1994-5), Vice-President, Advisory Committee on Agriculture & Environment to Directorate-General Agriculture of the European Commission (1999-2001); Member the UK Executive Committee of IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) (2006-present); Member of Expert Panel advising the Minister in the UK Department of Culture, Media & Sport on UK’s Tentative List of World Heritage Sites (2010-11).
He has managed projects and programmes in support of several of the UKOTs (currently Save Our Special Nature of Montserrat) as well as cross-territory ones, e.g. facilitator to the Governments of the Turks & Caicos Islands and of St Helena on the development of pilot strategies to implement the Environment Charters, with advice given in this regard also to the Falkland Islands, Ascension, Pitcairn, Alderney and others; and undertaken some commissions, for example for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Consultant to UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to review actual and potential Ramsar Convention Wetlands of International Importance in UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies (2004-5); Expert consultant to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (e.g. Ramsar Advisory Mission report 46: https://www.ramsar.org/sites/default/files/documents/library/ram46e_germany_muhlenberger.pdf) (2001-2). External Examiner, University of Durham BSc degrees in Environmental Sciences (1995-1999); higher degree examiner or consultant for the Universities of Simon Fraser (Vancouver), Cape Town, Durham, Anglia and Wales
Catherine holds a BSc in Zoology from Queen Mary College University of London and an MSc in Conservation Biology from Manchester Metropolitan University.
She has studied marine invertebrates, herbivores in Kenya and the management of protected areas in Tanzania. She has worked for the Environment Agency in the UK and for the World Conservation Union IUCN Office for Europe in Brussels, where she was involved in the organisation of the important conference in Paris in 2006 on Biodiversity in European Development Cooperation – which involved a strong element on Overseas Countries and Territories.
Catherine has worked for UKOTCF since 2007, initially on short-term projects, then as Co-ordinator and later as Manager & Senior Conservation Officer, before her present appointment. Over this time, she has been involved in projects based on sustaining biodiversity and other aspects of heritage while contributing to the well-being of the local community.
She is a passionate advocate for the stunning biodiversity which exists in the UKOTs and CD, its global importance, and our responsibility to protect it. The links between this and sustainable solutions to the challenges of island life are some of the most enjoyable aspects of her work.
One of Catherine’s core roles as Executive Director includes maintaining UKOTCF’s network: bringing them together in regular working group/ annual meetings and occasional conferences from conservation practitioner up to Ministerial level. New links are important in driving forward change and responding to emerging issues.
She has visited several of the UKOTs and CDs while undertaking project work for UKOTCF (as well as spending a year on the Dutch Caribbean Island, Bonaire, when her children were little). She couldn’t possibly say which was her favourite as they are all different!
Ann holds a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of East Anglia, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Durham. She has participated in research on shorebird migration at Durham University, on a project led by the late Professor Peter Evans, and research on curriculum development at Moray House College of Education, Edinburgh. Ann worked as a primary school teacher in Peterborough from 1986 until her “official” retirement in 2010. Combining her interests in ecology and education, she voluntarily took on the role of Environmental Education Co-ordinator for UKOTCF in 2006, and has worked particularly with partners in the Turks and Caicos Islands but also elsewhere in the UKOTs/CDs to develop environmental education resources. Ann’s other interests include ski-ing, walking and video photography.
Jamie graduated with a BA (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford, before completing a PhD in Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge. His doctoral research focused on the ecology of epiphytic plants in the southern Caribbean; this involved both climbing a lot of trees and dodging a lot of snakes. He has also carried out fieldwork in Australia, Central America, and Mexico, and has a special interest in the evolution, physiology, and conservation of succulent plants.
Back at home he is a keen field botanist, and is involved in local conservation and scientific outreach projects. Jamie currently works in scholarly publishing as a journal editor, and is passionate about open science.
Jamie has already been at work on virtual tours, analysing data and various other tasks.
Paul graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Agricultural and Environmental Science from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and an MSc in Conservation and Land Management from Bangor University.
His career to date has seen him working for a number of companies and organisations involved in conservation and land management, from ecological surveying through to a stint as head of department / lecturer at two land-based colleges and even travelling globally to present courses on renewable energy.
A passionate invertebrate ecologist, Paul can often be seen wondering round various site with a net in hand.
Maddie is helping to set up the project on Adopt a Home for Wildlife (DPLUS155) in Montserrat.
Maddie graduated with a BSc in Biology from the University of Bristol and completed an MSc in Global Wildlife Health and Conservation, also
at the University of Bristol. Her MSc research explored the impacts of different grazing livestock systems on biodiversity.
Maddie’s research interests include entomology, plant science and the relationships between plants and animals. She volunteers at the University of Bristol Botanic Gardens and Tortworth Arboretum, and has carried out fieldwork as a research assistant on the Dwarf Mongoose Research Project in South Africa.
She has also been part of the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution public engagement programme, leading and assisting workshops and providing support to young learners in challenging learning situations with reference to STEM subjects.
Currently she works towards improving the environmental health of Bristol as an Environment Officer.
Jack holds a BSc in Marine Biology from Swansea University and an MSc in Island Biodiversity and Conservation from the University of Exeter.
His MSc, completed in summer 2022, focused on densities of the invasive lionfish at shallow-water habitat sites in the North Sound in the Cayman Islands and whether artificial habitats could be used to measure low densities. Jack has worked alongside The Cayman Islands Department of Environment and has particular interests in most things marine, particularly ichthyology, tropical marine ecology, climate change, sustainability and blue carbon. Jack spent most of his MSc studies on the Crown Depenency of Jersey, in the Channel Islands, as his post-graduate course on Island Biodiversity and Conservation was run by Exeter/ JICAS (Jersey International Centre of Advanced Studies).
When studying islands and the particular conservation issues they face he developed an interest in conservation management plans, invasive species and the UKOTs. As a passionate conservationist, Jack is never too far from the sea as he is also a keen surfer.
Jack is working part-time for UKOTCF – in the role of Secretary of the Southern Oceans Working Group and a range of other tasks.