wild places

Should we let our countryside go wild? Featuring music from Rebecca & Bob Scott-Smissen

2.00pm Sat 27th

Populations of the UK’s most important wildlife have plummeted by an average of 60% since 1970, with one in ten British species currently at threat of extinction. Rewilding is a form of ecological restoration where humans leave areas to nature, but does it really improve biodiversity, and how can it be realistic when so much land is needed for housing, business and agriculture. 

This free Zoom session featured Robbie Still, a young ecologist who is soon to be at work on wild restoration and animal reintroductions with the Kent Wildlife Trust, Harvey Tweets and Tom Whitehurst of Celtic Reptile and Amphibian - two young guys who breed over 20 species of herptile (amphibian and reptile)  for the purposes of conservation, education and commercial applications, local wild places and wildlife photographer and YouTuber Felix Alred, and Hugh Somerleyton of WildEast ("a new charitable foundation, a supra-regional nature recovery plan across East Anglia - a movement or people for nature recovery"). We learnt about why we need wild spaces, along with the challenges they pose to agriculture, as well as learning tips for how we can play our part as a mini-rewilder. With some beautiful pre-recorded pieces for violin and viola performed by local musicians Rebecca and Bob Scott-Smissen from the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. 

Abi kidd

Session host: Abi Kidd

Felix alred

Felix Alred
Felix is a photographer from Suffolk who has a passion for photographing wildlife and natural landscapes, and his approach of using wider angle lenses to photograph wildlife gives him a unique style. Felix also produces short films on wildlife, natural landscapes and his photography process, sharing these on YouTube and inspiring others on the natural world. His work appears in Suffolk Magazine and he will be a judge for Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s photo competition this year.
Instagram: felixalredwildlife
Facebook: felixalredwildlife
YouTube: felixalredwildlife
Contact Me: felixalredwildlife@gmail.com

Harvey tweatsTom whitehurst
Harvey Tweats & Tom Whitehurst
Celtic Reptile & Amphibian is a company that strives for the consolidation of reptile and amphibian species in Europe, leading the way to a more dynamic and interesting world. We do so by allowing otherwise unlikely experiences, between people and these fascinating animals, to happen, allowing the magic of nature to do her work, creating a vital link between these usually overlooked species, helping in the eventuality of their conservation. Abracadabra! 

Hugh somerleyton

Hugh Somerleyton
One of WildEast’s three founding trustees. Owner Somerleyton Estate, North Suffolk. Creator of successful brands Dish Dash, Hot Chip, regenerative farmer, rewilder and conservationist. Trail runner, wild swimmer and agitator for change. WildEast Foundation created to make decisive impact across the WildEast region to re-educate, restore and reconnect people and nature to ensure sustainable abundance and greener lives. President of North Suffolk NSPCC, Lowestoft Lifeboat, Lowestoft Scouts.

Martha chalting
Martha Tingey 
I studied Zoology at Swansea University and graduated in 2018. My degree opened my eyes to ecology and made me realise that I wanted a career in ecology and conservation. Additionally, it founded a love of bats through my dissertation which was on the effects of artificial lighting on bat activity. Immediately after graduating I worked on volunteer programs, with Elephants in South Africa and at a Koala sanctuary in Australia. I then became a Wildlife Ecology Trainee with Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT). Through my traineeship I contributed to the Water Vole recovery project and the badger vaccination program. After my traineeship I volunteered with Thames Valley Environment Records Centre and BBOWT helping with ecological surveys. Also, last year I was a Field Ecologist focusing mainly on bat surveys. From April, I will be a Seasonal Ecologist with Surrey Wildlife Trust Ecology Services. I am very excited to start and work with like-minded people.
Instagram: @marthatingey

Robbie still

Robbie Still 
I am an ecologist focusing on using data analysis to help plan and monitor conservation projects. I did a BSc in Biology and MRes in Bioscience at Swansea University, and have worked for the Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre helping to manage and maintain biological records in Berkshire and Oxfordshire, working on projects such as identifying areas for tree planting and developing a Nature Recovery Network for both counties. I am about to start in a new role at the Kent Wildlife Trust working on rewilding and reintroduction projects, including introducing Bison to a huge rewilding project in Blean Woods and potentially reintroducing the Pine Martin to Kent!
Twitter: @datarobbie1
Email: stillrobbie@gmail.com