Mike is an ecologist, natural history presenter and writer and is probably best known for being the wildlife reporter on the BBC programme The One Show.
He has a life-long passion for British and tropical flora and fauna, of which he has profound experience and encyclopaedic knowledge.
Mike is committed to bringing the beauty of the natural world to a broader audience with enthusiasm and insight, rather than sensation or gimmicks.
He has Sheffield roots on his dad’s side and spent an extensive period working in Vietnam, Tanzania and Ecuador as a field biologist, before returning to the UK.
Our Board of Trustees
Mark Ridler Chair
A solicitor specialising in advising pension scheme trustees and their sponsoring companies, Mark has also acted as an independent trustee of pension schemes.
Earlier in his career he specialised in company and commercial law and he has been a partner in law firms in Sheffield and Leeds. He is currently a legal director working from home in Sheffield and an office in Manchester. Mark has lived in Sheffield since 1988, having previously studied at the University of Sheffield.
Mark has always had an interest in wildlife and recently became involved in environmental campaigns, particularly the Smithy Wood campaign, and wishes to use his experience in trust and business law, as well as his enthusiasm for conservation, to further the objectives of the Wildlife Trust.
Ben Stone (Vice Chair)
As Group Head of Environmental Sustainability at Kier, a leading UK construction and infrastructure services company, I oversee the businesses environmental sustainability performance. Alongside this I am also a Director of Wildscapes, (the Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trusts environmental consultancy).
Examples of skills and experience I offer to the Trust include, Environmental Management Systems and their implementation, climate change adaptation and carbon emission reduction, implementation of Biodiversity Net Gain with corporate partners to enhance habitats, quantification of social value from activities delivered by the Trust, and working with Wildscapes to inform the consultancy and bidding approach for works.
Alongside my professional experience, I am personally committed to enhancing our environment. Living in Redmires, I appreciate the natural environment locally and across Sheffield, and see the need for the Wildlife Trust to enhance these areas for community wellbeing, protect from threats such as climate change and to support species recovery.
Akram Ahmed (Treasurer)
I am currently a Finance Director of a substance abuse charity based in Sheffield. Having spoken with the Chair of Trustees, a current Trustee and the CEO, the charity I work for and Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust are very similar in size and are facing the same sort of challenges.
I have a wide range of finance knowledge after having worked in higher education, tax accounting, private sector and not-for-profit sector. My expertise is in finance but specifically strategic planning and financial operation improvements.
I’m passionate about organisations that have real impacts on local communities and the wider population. Looking at SRWT, the worked being carried out and future aims are becoming more and more important and I look forward to sharing my knowledge and expertise to support these aims.
I have been searching for a trustee role within an organisation that aligns with my values, and am thankful that an opportunity has arisen with SRWT.
Having been a trustee previously, I am aware of what is expected and believe I can bring a wide range of skill sets and knowledge to support working towards a better and green future involving nature.
I always strive to have a positive impact, shown through my daily work as HR Senior Manager for Wickersley Partnership Trust based in Rotherham, covering 13 schools focusing on staff development and talent in order to deliver a high standard of education, I also volunteer as the chair of newly formed group Rotherham Climate Action, supported by Friends of The Earth, whose aims are to spread awareness of climate change and educate others in a way that allows them to make an informed choice not only benefiting the environment, but our local diverse community as well.
I am passionate about protecting the natural environment in my professional and personal life. As a Senior Climate Change Policy Advisor for the Environment Agency I lead on the decarbonisation of the water industry, growth of a renewable underground heat sector and nature-based solutions to meet the UK’s Net Zero 2050 commitment
I have extensive experience of environmental legislation, regulation and technical knowledge of water quality, hydrogeology, land management, peatland restoration and natural capital. Over the years I have established effective networks and participated in working groups with government, stakeholders and local communities.
I have had the opportunity to volunteer at several Wildlife Trusts across South Yorkshire and enjoy them in my spare time. I have also volunteered in Madagascar, researching the impact of climate change in a biodiversity hotspot, and plant trees at Tahiry Honko, the world’s largest mangrove “blue carbon” conservation project.
I am fortunate enough to live in Redmires, next to Wyming Brook Nature Reserve, and experience our unique wildlife first hand. I am keen to use my experience to ensure other people can also enjoy the numerous benefits of our local environment and wildlife and protect it for generations to come.
I’m a longstanding member and supporter of SRWT and its aims, particularly to protect and create wildlife sites and green spaces and also to ensure that more people in Sheffield and Rotherham have opportunities to connect with nature. I see SRWT’s work to encourage more biodiversity in habitats for plants, insects, birds and mammals as essential to prevent further loss of valuable species.
I’ve lived in Heeley, Sheffield, for nearly forty years and a keen walker I know much of the area covered by SWRT very well. In September 2020 I retire as professor of property law at Sheffield University, and am looking forward to spending more time outside!
Sarah will contribute time and commitment to furthering SWRT’s aims, as well as her relevant expertise and experience. I’m very used to interpreting land ownership documents, and making sense of legislation and policies about planning and the environment. I am experienced in trust governance, having been since 2012 a trustee of Heeley Development Trust which manages a network of neighbourhood green spaces for the benefit of local people. I would also be interested in strengthening SRWT’s links with the academic community, and with local government.
Dr Stephen Campbell
I am a semi-retired Consultant Cardiologist and an Honorary Emeritus Professor at Sheffield University. I was a consultant at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals for over 25 years and was Clinical Director of the South Yorkshire Regional Cardiothoracic Centre for a total of 10 years. I gained considerable experience in organisational change, general management, human resources and budget control.
I have a passionate and lifelong interest in natural history and the environment. I first became involved with Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust (SRWT) as a reserve regular volunteer worker.
I was successfully elected as a Trustee in 2019. Despite the Covid19 pandemic, I managed to attend most of the required meetings and events as SRWT and have, hopefully made some useful contributions. I now have a better understanding of how the Trust functions and the great value of its work, especially in these times of a possible existential crisis for nature in the UK. With my background in healthcare, I have also taken a particular interest in the Trust’s involvement in Green and Blue Social Prescribing. I hope to be further involved in this initiative.
I am a nature lover with a strong background in health, social enterprise, community development and operational management. I have been lucky enough to work across health and social care, public health, voluntary and community, education, housing and commercial sectors at local, regional and national levels. This has given me a broad perspective which I bring to my practice which has always been focussed on tackling social inequality. I am a qualified business coach and hold a master’s degree in Leadership and Innovation.
I specialise in collaborative approaches and currently lead on the development of a number of creative and community projects in Rotherham. As a result, I have strong relationships which community partners in Rotherham at both a strategic and community level. Through working as a senior operational manager in the public and voluntary sector I have extensive experience in all aspects of strategic leadership including strong financial acumen and effective human resource management.
Outside of my work, I enjoy spending time with family and friends and walking, running or cycling in the hills and woods in and around Sheffield and Rotherham. Like many people I am greatly concerned by the severe loss of natural habitats and the steep decline in wildlife on both a local and global scale and this is one of ways I am trying to play my part and take action to make a positive change for our planet.
A strong advocate of local activism, I continue to offer my time and skills to support the Trust in its aim to create a vibrant living landscape which is valued and encouraged to thrive for future generations. During my first three year term, I have been an active member of the board and finance committee and have supported the Trust to develop their approach to working collaboratively with communities.
I have been lucky to visit and explore many of the most beautiful places in the world, particularly whilst cycle touring in South America (two trips totalling 15 months and 20,000 km).
I have also witnessed the human raping and destruction of our various habitats, highlighting the increasingly urgent need to preserve and protect our nature and biodiversity. This protection is equally important on our own doorstep and, through my volunteering work with SRWT I have come to appreciate their important role in this.
Arguably one of the best chances our ecosystems have is through organisations such as SRWT enabling and helping the public to reconnect with nature, not only on the reserves it manages but also in their advisory and petitioning capacities.
Prior to taking early retirement to pursue a more varied life, I spent over 25 years working for the NHS as a hospital doctor (including 13 years as a Consultant Urological Surgeon). Within my work I undertook a variety of leadership, training and selection roles which I hope may be useful in my position of a Trustee for SRWT.
Dr Scott McKenzie
Scott is Senior Catchment Manager at the Trent Rivers Trust and has always been passionate about natural history, wildlife and conservation – particularly anything wet. He has a long-standing relationship with the Wildlife Trust movement, joining Cheshire WT as a “Wildlife Watch” member in his youth, then volunteering with them after leaving school. Following his PhD in climate change ecology, his career path has seen him hold positions in private, public and charitable sectors – with conservation remaining the thread throughout.
Scott has a broad ecological knowledge but is specialised in aquatic ecology and was previously Living Rivers Programme Manager at Derbyshire WT, overseeing the conservation and recovery of rivers across the county. His current role sees him develop landscape-scale restoration projects to help deliver improvements in biodiversity, water quality and ecosystem processes. He is a firm advocate in restoring natural processes – particularly within rivers.
When not paddling and poking around in streams for work purposes, Scott can be found paddling and poking around in streams in his spare time with his partner and two small girls. Scott is a firm believer in ensuring good access to “blue” and “green” space – whether it’s an urban or rural environment – allowing everyone to have that connectivity with nature and wildlife that inspired him as a child.
Whilst I’ve been interested in wildlife and enjoyed walking locally for many years, I only joined SRWT in 2020 and since then have been impressed by the knowledge and dedication of the staff and volunteers I have met. I am a volunteer ranger at Blacka Moor; occasionally participate in the Land management team and sometimes help with other tasks. I’m loving learning more about nature and conservation and want to help protect the environment. When I saw that SRWT were looking for new trustees, including with safeguarding professional experience, I thought this is a good opportunity to use my professional experience and knowledge to help the Trust.
I qualified as a social worker in 1989 and retired in September 2020 having worked as a social worker, various management roles including for disabled children and most recently, head of service for children in care provision. As well as safeguarding, I can offer skills in decision making, budget management, working in partnership with others, matters related to Human resources and promoting an inclusive, positive and respectful learning culture across services. I’m also the Welfare Officer for my small local tennis club.
Dr Siobhan Laird
As a Sheffield resident of 15 years, I have a keen sense of nature around me. This has been enriched through my conservation activities with Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust. These have included working on nature-based solutions to the climate emergency, such as the limb valley leaky dam project to reduce flooding in Sheffield. I also participate in Nature Recovery Sheffield as a representative and former director of South Yorkshire Climate Alliance, comprising a partnership of organisations addressing the climate emergency. Nature Recovery Sheffield is an initiative of the Wildlife Trust which brings together community-based groups to work jointly on protecting and restoring the natural environment.
I am a member of the Environmental Sustainability Sub-Committee of my university’s Executive Board, responsible for implementing our strategic delivery plan across four campuses and serving a community of over 50,000 students and staff. This involves oversight of a complex portfolio of operational plans to create, maintain and enhance environmental sustainability.
Apart from positions of strategic management, I am also an approved trainer in carbon literacy and have rolled out interactive workshops to many community groups to support people to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in daily life. Additionally, as a qualified social worker, researcher and trainer, I have expertise in safeguarding, obtaining funding and impact evaluation. I also regularly deliver training sessions on discrimination and social exclusion and will be contributing to the engagement of Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust with diverse communities.
I trained at Seale Hayne Agricultural College to HND (Agricultural Subjects) level. 1972 to 1976 and then worked on farms in West Germany, Western Australia and Devon.
From 1979 -1999 – Farms manager on the 5,000 acre Broomhead Estate in the Ewden Valley. South Yorkshire and then had 6 years at the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) in the Farm and Countryside Service developing conservation plans for farmers and landowners.
Whilst at the PDNPA I was seconded for a year to United Utilities to draw up conservation plans for their Peak District tenanted farms under OFWAT’s Sustainable Catchment Management Plans (SCaMP) scheme. Followed by 13 years at the RSPB based in Denby Dale as the Farm Conservation Adviser for Yorkshire and Humber working with private landowners, Natural England, Forestry Commission and National Park and AONB’s etc.
Since September 2019 I have been working as a self-employed independent conservation adviser with clients across Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and the Peak District National Park working with farms and Estates developing Countryside Stewardship applications, woodland creation plans, rewilding projects and wildlife surveying. I also work with Defra as a facilitator under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme for a group of 25 farmers in the Yorkshire Wolds with the aim of achieving landscape scale conservation.
I have also been working on Defra’s Test and Trials for ELMS with farmers in the Peak District and Wentworth Estate.
I volunteer when I can on Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust reserves including Carr House Meadows, Greno Woods, Agden Bog, Wyming, Brook and Moss Valley.
I have had a lifelong interest in Natural History and Countryside management.
Would you like to become a Trustee?
Each year we seek new volunteers to join our board of 13 trustees, bringing with them the skills and experience we need to work for a better future for nature, people and the green spaces we all love across Rotherham and Sheffield.
As well as an enthusiasm and passion for our work, we are looking for people with the skills to help govern the Trust. This might include financial management; promoting equality, diversity and inclusiveness in an organisation or ecological/land management expertise.
Some experience of working in a decision-making group is very helpful and a good local knowledge of Rotherham and/or Sheffield is of great benefit. You would need to be able to commit to attending our Annual General Meeting (held in September) and at least four board meetings per year, which require some preparatory work.
We are really keen to hear from people who represent our diverse communities across Rotherham and Sheffield.
To find out more have a look at the role description here.
To register your interest or for an informal chat about the role please contact our Chief Executive, Liz Ballard by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.