My passion for wildlife was stimulated in my teenage years, mainly thanks to my Mum (a biology teacher) who made me look at the world differently and being inspired by writers such as Paul Colinvaux. This early interest developed into biological research in my 20s, when I did practical conservation work in places such as the Comores and Mongolia.
Today, any free time I have I spend pottering around the flatlands of East Anglia or escaping to our hut on the Northumberland coast looking for wildlife and castles with my wife and children.
I studied Biological Sciences at Oxford and Conservation at UCL, and worked at Wildlife and Countryside Link before spending five years as Conservation Director at Plantlife.
I joined the RSPB as Head of Government Affairs in 2004, became Head of Sustainable Development in 2006, before becoming Conservation Director in 2011.
Two RSPB projects have been nominated for an award from the European Outdoor Conservation Association. The two exciting RSPB projects nominated are in different categories, so you can vote for both!
1. Albatross Task Force CLICK HERE TO VOTE (closes on 12 April)
The main threat to albatrosses is death at the end of a hook on a fishing long-line. We are working closely with BirdLife partners in the Southern Ocean to stop the needless slaughter of the albatross.
This project will focus on Namibia, which is one of the World's worst 'blackspots' for seabird killing by fishing fleets. Research indicates that about 46,000 birds are killed every year by Namibia's long-line and trawl fishing fleets, including huge numbers of albatrosses and other threatened species.
We will work with fishermen to raise their awareness of the problem and encourage them to use simple, low-cost methods. In addition, we will work with the Namibian government and fishing industry to develop national plans and policies to reduce seabird deaths.
Our aim is reduce seabird deaths by 50% by the end of the project (March 2014) and by at least 80% in the longer term
2. Restoring Scotland’s Caledonian Forest CLICK HERE TO VOTE (closes on 28 March)
The stunning Caledonian forest once covered large parts of Scotland, but following centuries of widespread deforestation, only 1% remains.
Abernethy National Nature Reserve includes the UK's largest remnant of Caledonian forest — 50 square km of pinewoods stretch from the River Spey to the foot of the vast Cairngorm Mountains.
The nature reserve is home to 4,500 species, 20% of which are nationally rare, including capercaillie, Scottish wildcat and red squirrel.
Our project will re-connect Abernethy to its neighbouring Caledonian forest, Glenmore, through the planting of 30,000 native trees, re-establishing a huge wildlife corridor. This will be a vital step towards our vision to expand the forest to almost twice its size.
Thank you for taking the time to vote. We’re hoping both of these worthwhile projects will win this vital funding with your help.