How we are run
There are forty-six individual Wildlife Trusts, each of which was formed by groups of active and motivated people getting together to make a positive difference to wildlife and future generations, starting where they live and work.
Each Trust is an independent charity but all share a vision of people close to nature with land and seas rich in wildlife.
Every Wildlife Trust is a member of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, a registered charity in its own right founded in 1912. This central charity’s role is to ensure a strong voice for wildlife at a UK and England level and, internally, to lead the development of the movement.
Taken together this movement is known as The Wildlife Trusts.
There are thirty-seven Trusts in England, five in Wales, a Trust for Scotland and a Trust for Northern Ireland. There are also Trusts in Alderney and the Isle of Man. Each of the Wildlife Trusts is a registered charity and has its own trustees.
Our Honorary Officers
Sir David Attenborough OM CH CVO CBE FRS
Simon King OBE
Tony Juniper CBE
Prof Chris Baines
Prof David Macdonald CBE DSc FRS
Bill Oddie OBE
Sir Robert Worcester KBE DL
Julian Pettifer OBE
Dr Amir Khan
The Wildlife Trusts’ Council is the leadership group for collective strategy in the movement. It has direct governance responsibility for the central charity.
TWT Council has a Chair, Honorary Treasurer and Honorary Secretary, eight leaders from within the movement and two other Trustees. There are currently twelve trustees as there is one vacancy. You can meet them below.
Trustees are elected at a General Meeting in accordance with our Royal Charter and Bye Laws. As a registered charity, our activities are regulated by the Charity Commission for England and Wales.
Meet the team
Peta Foxall, Chair
Peta has extensive experience of leading and working in multi-professional teams, primarily within the NHS and Russell Group Universities. She is a biomedical scientist by professional training and has a PhD in biological chemistry awarded by the University of London. She has been a member of Devon Wildlife Trust since 2003, joined the Board of Trustees in 2010 and became its Chair in December 2016. Peta owns a small ancient woodland in Devon and encourages the development of gardens as natural habitats.
Genevieve Landricombe, Honorary Treasurer
Genevieve comes from the Royal Bank of Scotland. She has had numerous senior operational roles in traditional, global financial institutions. Her recent roles include chairing executive committees to strengthen Resilience and Security measures. In her non-profit work she is on her Parish Finance Committee and was the Treasurer of the Lambeth charity 'Inspiring Children Through Arts and Spanish'. She works with school children in Science and Literacy, encouraging them to engage with and notice their environment. She and her husband spend their free time cajoling their four children out for wildlife walks and swims.
Stewart Goshawk, Honorary Secretary
Stewart is Chair of Essex WT, a post he has held since September 2016, having become a trustee in early 2012. An "Essex boy" born and bred, he brings many years of experience in charity management and governance. His full-time day job is as the Chief Executive of the Wembley National Stadium Trust, a grant-making charity which he helped establish six years ago. Over the years, he built relationships with many of the country's leading environmental organisations and was one of the founder members of the Environmental Funders Network. Stewart is also a trustee of the Landfill Communities Fund distributor in South Essex.
Ruth took up post as Chief Executive of Samaritans on 3 August 2015. Ruth began her career as a Registered General Nurse but has spent the majority of her career in public health roles gaining degrees in Social Policy and Health Promotion. Ruth was the founding Director of the Community Development and Health Network, a charitable membership network committed to addressing inequalities in health and wellbeing, based in Northern Ireland. Prior to joining Samaritans Ruth was the CEO of Relate and prior to that Ruth held senior executive leadership roles at Rethink, Alzheimer’s Society and Scope.
Steve began a museum career as a natural sciences curator in Sheffield after securing a Biology degree at York. He retired as Head of Museums & Archives in Bolton in 2007, going on to freelance in the museums and heritage sector across England, mostly in interim management roles. He was active in a number of regional and national museum organisations, including a period as Chair of Museums & Libraries North West. He is currently a member of the North West Heritage Lottery Fund Committee. He joined the Lancashire, Manchester and N Merseyside WT in 1986, became a Trustee and became Chair in 2014. He is an enthusiastic general naturalist with specialist knowledge of entomology and bats and has a burning desire to share his knowledge. He is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and of the Museums Association. Other than his passion for wildlife, Steve enjoys hill-climbing (only 26 Munros to go), photography, gardening, cycling, cooking, tennis and rock music.
Peter has spent his entire career working on environmental issues since the late 1970s, mainly in multi-disciplinary environmental management consulting. Until 2015 he was a member of the Green Economy Council, and Defra's Regulatory Challenge Panel and Ecosystems Markets Task Force. Peter is an individual member of Aldersgate Group, having been a Founding Director and Chair from 2007 to 2015. He is a Trustee of the Green Purposes Company, which holds a special share to keep the Green Investment Group true to its green investment purposes. He is chair of the Business Interest Group for the Valuing Nature Programme, and a member of the Programme Advisory Board. Peter is also on the advisory board for the School of Business and Management at Queen Mary College, London, and the British Standards Institute on sustainability. He is an alumnus of Cranfield and Edinburgh Universities and a member of Montgomeryshire and Cumbria Wildlife Trusts.
David Jordan OBE
David is passionate about wildlife and the environment and was appointed Chair of Hampshire & IoW at the AGM in October 2016. Following a career in the National Rivers Authority and the Environment Agency, David retired from the role of Executive Director of Operations in March 2015. He has a degree in Environmental Biology and a Masters in Freshwater Ecology. David is also the Chair of Excellent Development, a charity which delivers water and soil conservation and sustainable agriculture in Africa. David tries to practice what he preaches. Owning land in Devon and in France, David has developed a wildlife lake, a wildflower meadow (with all of its difficulties!) and a thriving orchid meadow in France with land where barn owls and nightingales currently breed.
Anne became Chief Executive of Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside WT in 1994, having started as Head of Conservation in 1992. She grew the Trust from being a tiny, under-performing charity, with c.3,000 members to its current position of 28,000 members. At the helm of Lancashire, Manchester & N Merseyside WT she has pioneered urban conservation and engagement work and led the creation of a £10m visitor centre at Brockholes. Her previous career includes the City Farm movement, British Waterways and as a Principal Officer in local government in planning and later in tourism. Current appointments include: the Forestry and Wildlife Advisory Committee (Forestry Commission), Chair of the Greater Manchester Natural Capital Group (LNP), Vice Chair of Liverpool Local Nature Partnership, Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub and the European Structural and Investment Funds Monitoring Committee.
Jennifer worked as a consultant on EU interstate projects for several years before joining the voluntary sector as Northern Ireland Director of Development for Citizens Advice NI & Manager of Lower Bann Partnership. Prior to joining Ulster Wildlife she worked in local government as a change manager for Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne Borough Councils during the reform of public administration to merge the three councils. Jennifer became Chief Executive of Ulster Wildlife in 2012. In a voluntary capacity, Jennifer is currently Vice Chair of Northern Ireland Environment Link, a Trustee of Chief Officers 3 (CO3) and sits on Lantra's NI Advisory Council.
Rob Pickford OBE
Rob held a number of senior managerial and leadership roles in local government and with the Welsh Government. He started out as a social worker in South Wales and was latterly Director of Social Services and Children for Wales at the Welsh Government. He was a Visiting Professor at the University of South Wales and an Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff University. He is now a writer about nature and landscape and is working towards and MA in Nature and Travel Writing. He is committed to protecting and promoting wildlife in Wales, supporting people to deliver citizen centred public services, walking the coasts and hills of Wales and the family organic allotment. Rob chairs Wildlife Trusts Wales as well as the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. He sits on The Big Lottery Wales Committee.
Jo has wide-ranging experience in the NGO sector, including in communications, environmental policy, advocacy, strategy development and stakeholder engagement. She was Project Director for the World Forum on Natural Capital, which ran three times between 2013 and 2017 with the most recent event bringing over 700 delegates from 60 countries to Edinburgh. Jo is on the Steering Group for the Scottish Conservation Finance Project, as well as the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital. She is Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scotland’s leading nature conservation charity, and a board member at Turning Point Scotland.
Joanna Simons CBE
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. 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.
Alongside her mainstream career she has held a number of non-executive and chair roles spanning a range of local, regional and national organisations including Oxford Brookes University, Shelter and the former Government Office for the South East. Joanna became a BBOWT trustee in 2016, Vice Chair in 2018 and also currently chairs Experience Oxfordshire, the Destination Management Organisation for the Oxford City region.
Joanna has an MBA from the Open University and a MSc in coaching and behavioural change from Henley Business School. She was awarded a CBE for services to local government in 2011 and an Honorary Doctorate from Oxford Brookes University in 2014.
Sir Graham Fry
Sir Graham Fry retired from the British diplomatic service in 2008 and now lives just outside St Neots. He speaks Japanese and spent a total of twelve years in Japan on three different postings, the last as ambassador. His other overseas postings were to France and Malaysia. He later worked at a senior level for the Foreign Office in Whitehall, where he had responsibility for Britain’s overseas territories, and worked for a period on EU matters. He has since held a number of part-time appointments with companies and a university.
Watching birds has been his main recreation since 1973. In 1993 he helped to translate the text of "A Field Guide to The Waterbirds of Asia" published by the Wild Bird Society of Japan and distributed to Asian conservationists. Since 2009 he has been a member of the Council of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and he became Chairman of Beds, Cambs & Northants Wildlife Trust in 2016.
On 6th April 2020 Craig Bennett became the new Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts. He brings with him huge knowledge and experience of nature conservation issues, campaigning and leadership within the sector. He has been described as “one of the country’s top environmental campaigners” and by The Guardian as “the very model of a modern eco-general”. He has been listed as one of the UK’s top “social media CEOs” and in June 2019 was identified by Onalytica, the influencer marketing company, as the “top influencer driving the debate around sustainability and financial services”.
Craig started as CEO of Friends of the Earth in 2015, following five years as Director of Policy and Campaigns. During Craig’s tenure, he refocussed the organisation on its unique role of empowering communities to take action where they live to protect the planet and using that momentum to tackle the climate and ecological crisis. The impact has seen campaign successes to protect nature and the climate - with the banning of bee-harming pesticides, and securing a moratorium on fracking in England - as well as growth in the movement - including over 170 new community groups set up to fight the climate crisis. He led Friends of the Earth in their battle against the expansion of Heathrow Airport – and in February 2020 the government’s decision to expand Heathrow Airport was ruled ‘unlawful’ by the Court of Appeal on climate change grounds. It was one of the most important environmental law cases in this country for over a generation.
Earlier in his career, Craig was Deputy Director at The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), and Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (from 2007 to 2010), where he built the group into one of the most influential and progressive business voices in the international climate debate. Before that, he campaigned on corporate accountability, trade, and wildlife issues at Friends of the Earth and on international wildlife crime at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
He maintains his links with The University of Cambridge, as Policy Fellow at the Centre for Science and Policy (CsAP), and as a Senior Associate at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). He has twenty years’ experience of designing and contributing to executive education and leadership programmes at numerous universities and business schools, including the Judge Business School, London Business School, and Duke CE.
Craig is Honorary Professor of Sustainability and Innovation at Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Chair of the Sustainability and Resilience customer challenge panel for the Anglian Water region (established as part of the OFWAT price review process) and was formerly a member of the Net Positive Board Advisory Panel for Kingfisher plc. From 2013-2015, he was Chair of the Board of Stakeholder Forum.
He has a BSc (Hons) in Human and Physical Geography from The University of Reading and an MSc in Biodiversity Conservation from University College London, and an Honorary Doctoral degree from University College of Estate Management (UCEM). He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).
Former Chief Executive Stephanie Hilborne OBE
Stephanie was our Chief Executive from 2004-2019. She had direct responsibility for the central charity and with a wider role to lead the movement where we speak as a collective voice and to support the development of the movement.
Throughout her time at The Wildlife Trusts, Stephanie was a leading advocate for the need for society as a whole – government and business - to prioritise nature’s recovery and the need to reconnect people to the natural world. She brought the movement together behind the vision of Living Landscapes and went on to argue that new positive ambition was needed in our legislation. As a result in 2009, the Labour Government established a review of landscape scale conservation: the Lawton Review led to the landmark report “Making Space for Nature” in 2010. The next stage was to win commitment to a White Paper on the Natural Environment. This was published by the Conservative Government in 2011 and established that Party’s manifesto pledge to be “the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than it found it”. A Treasury backlash against the environment lobby from late 2011 meant advocacy was focused on saving our existing laws and communicating the value of nature. But Stephanie did not drop the dream of an Act that would restore our battered ecosystems and now as part of the coalition Greener UK she continues to champion the need for change.
Stephanie served on the Government’s Lawton Review, Forestry Panel and Smarter Environmental Regulation Review and was vice chair of the UK Green Building Council until July 2018.
Stephanie previously led Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Wildlife & Countryside Link. She has a degree and Honorary Doctorate from Bristol University, an MSc in Conservation from UCL, and was awarded an OBE in 2010 for Services to Nature Conservation.
Individual Trusts' governance
Each Wildlife Trust has its own governance documents and falls within the charity laws of its own jurisdiction.
The running of the day-to-day operations of each charity, including the central charity, is delegated to a Chief Executive, responsible for the employment of staff and oversight of operations. Each Wildlife Trust has its own board of trustees. Learn more about them using the links to Trust pages below:
The movement of Wildlife Trusts grew quickly after WW2 and many Trusts shared governance documents as they formed. So whilst each Wildlife Trust is an independent charity with its own charitable objects, these are closely aligned. Each has two broad purposes: to promote the conservation and enhancement of wildlife; and to help more people to experience, understand and value the natural world.
Similarly, the charitable aims of the central charity are 'to promote the conservation and study of nature, and to educate the public in understanding and appreciating nature'.
Each of the Wildlife Trusts has its own board of Trustees. You can find out about these trustees through your own Wildlife Trust’s website. Together we have around 650 Trustees from a wide range of backgrounds.
To promote the conservation and study of nature, the promotion of research into conservation and to educate the public in understanding and appreciating nature, in the awareness of its value and in the need for conservation