Simon Watts joined us having previously run his own Forest School and environmental education business. He’s worked in environmental conservation for a number of organisations including Groundwork, The Conservation Volunteers and The Royal Forestry Society. Simon enjoys sharing his interest in the environment and traditional crafts with others. One of the first project he led teaching dry stone walling to international volunteers in Cunnary Wood at Shibden Hall can be glimpsed in the background of the current TV series Gentleman Jack.
Simon’s role at ART is as Project Manager on our National Lottery Heritage Funded project, Developing the Natural Aire (DNAire) that will connect communities to the natural and industrial heritage of their river alongside the reconnection of the ecology of the River Aire to allow spawning Atlantic salmon to return to the upper Aire arround Skipton.
There are so many fascinating stories of our river’s history and wildlife to share. DNAire is a fantastic opportunity to get more people involved with our river. Its a fantastic green space running through our communities that can enrich so many people’s lives.
Nick Milsom joined us from the Harrogate based charity Open Country with over 13 years experience of delivering practical countryside management, outdoor activities and community development in the voluntary sector. He became involved in nature conservation work since 1984 and continues his interest outside of work. Nick is Chair of Bradford Apple Group and helps to run their popular Apple Day event.
He also enjoys attending BEES residentials and putting into practice various countryside skills like woodland management, hedge laying, drystone walling and tree planting.
Nick’s role at ART is to create a sustainable and active network of citizens looking after Bradford’s rivers and supporting flood risk and resilience activities.
I believe we are at a watershed moment for the environment. Awareness and positive engagement is increasing all the time as we comprehend human impact on the planet. With that in mind I feel that it is important to keep engaging new interest from the community and young people. We all have a role to help protect and conserve the environment, while encouraging people from different backgrounds to enjoy and understand how special it is.
Abby has joined us as a placement student at the Aire Rivers Trust. Her main role as a STEM Ambassador working with schools along the Aire
Abby is studying Physical Geography at the University of Leeds .
Growing up in Newcastle with parents who have busy jobs and enjoy the city, it was her grandparents that used to take her to the countryside and green spaces that were near their house. As I suppose many of us do, she has fond memories of being outside exploring especially as a child. However, if not, this is something we want to help create!
As part of the work I am doing with the charity I would like to remind people what the Aire does for them. Including how they can get something out of it. For me, it’s simply trying to remind myself to get outdoors and enjoy what’s around us.
In the far future I can see myself possibly educating others about ecology and river ecosystems. Or helping implicate a more functioning river ecosystem in some other way.
But in the short term, I really want to see some salmon!