Trustees of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust
Trustees play a vital role in all aspects of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust's work. They bring their skills and experience to oversee the governance and strategic leadership of the organisation to make sure we stay on track for success. Trustees give their time for free, as do all BBOWT's 1,400 volunteers, who help to look after our nature reserves, survey wildlife and inspire others to take action for local wildlife. Find out how to become a Trustee.
Joanna Simons CBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees
Joanna has a background of senior leadership in the public and voluntary sectors having been chief executive of two local authorities and a national charity. She now mixes consultancy in the voluntary sector with her charitable interests. Her interest in wildlife conservation began as a teenage volunteer with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, and in the 1980s she helped to set up the London Wildlife Trust where she was subsequently a council member. Joanna became a BBOWT trustee in 2016 and is also Chair of Experience Oxfordshire and a trustee of Shelter.
Graeme Thompson, Honorary Treasurer
Graeme trained as a Chartered Accountant and worked for 15 years in the energy industry at Powergen/E.ON with his final role being Finance Director of E.ON’s electricity grid business. He was then the Chief Financial Officer at HS1 Limited for six years. Since 2017, Graeme has held several portfolio roles, and is Trustee of a large pension fund and of a charitable trust providing education and medical care in Zimbabwe.
Graeme has loved wildlife from an early age and has travelled extensively in the UK and globally to be awed and humbled by the beauty of nature. He is the proud owner of 16 acres of ASNW woodland in the Chilterns, where after years of neglect Graeme is focussed on improving the habitats for wildlife.
Ian Davidson, Honorary Secretary
Ian spent 23 years as a policy maker and science adviser at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs including secondment to the European Environment Agency working on the EU global environment satellite monitoring programme. He joined the BBOWT board in 2014, and in 2016 established a consultancy to help get the best earth observation science used in public policy. Ian is a keen amateur botanist and an enthusiastic bird watcher for more than 40 years. Birdwatching has led him to travel across the UK, much of Europe, Australia, USA and Asia.
Frances has Master’s degree in microbiology and moved into marketing where she worked in several industries. She was Global Marketing Director at the Financial Times and held senior roles in other organisations most recently as Director of Audiences at the British Library. She recently set up a social enterprise to support environmental research and conservation. Frances is passionate about wildlife conservation and animal welfare, has been a member of BBOWT for more than ten years and joined the board in 2015. She is a keen photographer and enjoys walking in the Chilterns and surrounding countryside.
After a Geography degree at University of Cambridge, Jane joined the civil service as a policy advisor in the Departments of Environment and Transport. Later she became Resources Director of the Charity Commission and then HR Director of the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions. Jane moved to Oxfam as HR Director and a Deputy CEO. In 2015 she joined the BBOWT board. She is also currently a trustee of WWF UK and of OneYMCA.
Natalie has a background in philosophy, community engagement and the creative arts. In 2011 she decided that her mission was to help people and nature thrive by rewilding urban communities. She trained as a Forest School leader and set up the award-winning social enterprise Nature Nurture CIC, based in Reading. She has devised numerous programmes to connect people with nature, often employing the creative arts and technology as well as more traditional environmental education approaches. Natalie is also a consultant ‘Nature Lead’ for Dr. William Bird’s company Intelligent Health, and helps local authorities and conservation groups across the country co-design health and wellbeing interventions to engage their communities with the parks, woodlands and waterways on their doorsteps.
Her work has taken her to Belize, Ghana, Kenya and Palestine. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She became a member of BBOWT in 2014 and a trustee in 2019.
After graduating with a Chemistry Degree, and later an MBA, Julie has spent 30 years working in corporate marketing for companies such as Unilever and GSK, then various marketing agencies running workshops for Marketing Teams around the world. For the last two years Julie has been running Neve’s Bees, creating and selling beeswax balms made using 100% natural ingredients with her daughter, Neve (Neve’s Bees donates a proportion of sales to BBOWT) and looking after their small holding in Eynsham including bees, chickens, cats, a dog, a wormery and a newly created 6-acre wildflower meadow. Julie grew up in rural Somerset and is passionate about protecting our beautiful countryside and helping others to share this passion.
Chris studied zoology at university and his PhD related to the ecology of the British freshwater crayfish. This led to a career in the conservation and management of aquatic natural resources, in particular fisheries, initially in Kiribati with the Overseas Development Administration and then Seychelles with the European Commission. Most recently he has been Managing Director of MRAG Ltd, an environmental consultancy based in London. He has managed and implemented numerous projects and programmes related to natural resource management and was involved in their strategic development and performance review. He has written and contributed to management plans for fisheries and coastal zones. On behalf of the British Indian Ocean Territory Administration and its Marine Protected Area he has been head of UK Delegation to the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, responsible for developing conservation management measures, and monitoring compliance. At home he is a keen gardener, including promoting wildlife areas and a small patch of meadow nurtured since about 2009. He also enjoys walking and the chance to get amongst nature. He became a member of BBOWT in 2011 and a trustee in 2019.
Mike has thirty years’ experience of managing and developing nature reserves for the RSPB, including wetlands at Otmoor near Oxford and Middleton Lakes near Tamworth. He has a particular passion for habitat creation, landscape-scale conservation and connecting people to nature. Mike played a major role developing a collaboration between RSPB, Barratt and Aylesbury Vale District Council that is delivering an innovative nature-friendly housing scheme in Aylesbury. A lifelong supporter of the Wildlife Trusts, Mike is keen to support BBOWT in building our nature reserve network to play a major role in nature’s recovery.
Mike has travelled widely in the UK and overseas, visiting some of the wilder landscapes of Europe and working on conservation projects in the Caribbean and South Africa. He is also Conservation Officer for the Banbury Ornithological Society, a trustee for Wild Oxfordshire and was elected as Chair of the Gay Birders Club in 2018.
John spent a large part of his career leading technology businesses, latterly devoting much of his time as an independent director across the private, public and third sectors. He also served on the investment advisory committee for The Big Issue Invest Social Enterprise Investment Fund, pioneering the financing of social enterprises. John has been a member of the BBOWT board since 2008, a member of the BBOWT Finance and Audit Committee since that time, and as Vice Chair since 2012. John also sat on the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts’ Resources and Audit Committee.
Greg trained as a Mechanical Engineer and subsequently worked for several automotive design consultancies in Europe, the US, and Australia. He then worked with medical device manufacturer Owen Mumford and helped establish their Environmental Steering Group, partnering on initiatives with the Low Carbon Hub and the Wychwood Project. He was a founding member of Friends of Aston’s Eyot, managing a 30 acre mixed habitat island on the Thames in Oxford as a nature reserve, and served on their committee from 2010 to 2018. Greg joined the BBOWT Board in 2019, is a practitioner member of IEMA and occasionally writes for their in-house magazine. He now combines a number of interests and enjoys immersing himself in the immediacy and wonder of the natural world.