Trustees

Our Board of Trustees is responsible for the strategic management of the Trust, along with our Patrons who help champion our projects.  All our Trustees and Patrons give their time to the charity for free.

Chairmain

Prof Martin Speight

Prof Martin Speight

Prof. Speight is an Associate Professor in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. He is Director of Teaching and Admissions Co-ordinator for Biological Sciences at the University. His main research interests are in tropical forest ecology, conservation and management, plant health and insect pest management, tropical coastal ecology and connectivity, links between reefs and mangroves.

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He has successfully supervised 25 students to doctorates so far, in countries including Honduras, the British Virgin Islands, Sudan, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania (Zanzibar), Malaysia (Peninsular and Sabah). Martin has published text books on the ecology of insects and marine ecology. He has visited the Indonesia, South Africa, Mozambique and Honduras research sites.

Patron

Ken Clarke

Ken Clarke

Kenneth Clarke, PC, QC, MP is a British politician, currently a Minister without Portfolio in the UK Government. He is one of Britain’s best-known politicians, and has been Minister of State for Health, Paymaster-General, Secretary of Health, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. He is passionate about nature and its conservation, and can often be found watching birds in remote parts of the world. Ken Clarke was Chair of the Opwall Trust from 2000 to 2010.

Patron

Prof Ian Swingland

Prof Ian Swingland

Professor Ian Swingland was educated at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School, London, Edinburgh and Oxford Universities, and worked as a mathematician for Shell, as a biologist at Oxford, Edinburgh and with the Royal Society, and holds the Emeritus Chair in Conservation Biology at the University of Kent, where he founded The Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology (DICE), in addition to Chairs at the Universities of Michigan, Florence, Auckland, and Manchester Metropolitan.

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At London University he read zoology and social anthropology and published his first scientific paper in Nature in 1969 while an undergraduate. After working as a mathematician for Shell Research International for a short time he took a Ph.D. in ecology in the Forestry and Natural Resources Department at Edinburgh University on an FCO/ODA Scholarship. He was then employed as a research and management biologist in the Kafue National Park, Zambia helping to write the management plan. In 1974 he joined Oxford University Zoology Department and the Royal Society to work on the giant tortoises of Aldabra Atoll, Western Indian Ocean.

an Swingland has worked on climate change for over a decade and with China and ADB since 2002 on China-GEF Country Planning Framework – Land Degradation in Dryland Ecosystems, He published a best-selling book ‘Capturing Carbon and Conserving biodiversity; a market approach’ and advises to the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility, the Asian Development Bank, and the UK Government on conservation and biodiversity management setting up some of the largest projects in the world. A leading authority on commercialising the sustainable use of biodiversity assets, he was appointed Board Chairman of Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development in Guyana by the President, the Commonwealth and HRH The Prince of Wales. He was made an OBE in 2007 for services to conservation. Currently he also chairs the Rural Regeneration Unit and the DICE Trust. Professor Swingland was Chairman of the Opwall Trust from 2010 to 2014.

Trustee

Prof Aubrey Manning

Prof Aubrey Manning

Professor Manning is Emeritus Professor at University of Edinburgh specialising in animal behaviour, development and evolution. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society Edinburgh in 1973, received an OBE in 1998, and is now involved in conservation in the broader sense, and with public understanding of science. He received the Zoological Society of London Silver Medal in 2003 for public understanding of science, and has presented many TV and radio science programmes.

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Professor Manning was educated at University College London and Merton College Oxford where he completed his DPhil under the famous ethologist Niko Tinbergen. After National Service he joined the University of Edinburgh as an Assistant Lecturer rising to Professor of Natural History until his retirement in 1997. He published a text book on animal behaviour, development and evolution which is now on its fifth edition and has been widely translated, as well as publishing extensively in academic journals. He has also been awarded honorary degrees from Toulouse and Open Universities.

Colin Bennett

Colin Bennett

Colin has a strong interest in earth sciences and environmental protection. He advises the Oxford Climate Policy body and was a guest lecturer in geoscience engineering at Aberdeen University. He holds board positions as Chairman at medical biotechnology company EnteroBiotix; Chair at the human microbiota research enterprise EuroBiotix CiC and also at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

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Colin is appointed Oxford Martin Visiting Fellow (Medicine) and also Alan Tayler Advisory Fellow (Mathematics) by the University of Oxford, where he respectively also supports the Affordable Medicines research programme and is advisor to the joint EPSRC industrially focused mathematical modelling, Centre for Doctoral Training programme at the Mathematics Institute. He is also board advisor to the joint MRC & EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training, systems approaches to biomedical science, University of Oxford.

Colin joined Shell International in Den Haag and served in NW Borneo and other group operating companies including Shell UK. He held executive positions with the French group TOTAL S.A in strategic planning & development economics and at Mobil where he was a member of Management Council, Vice President and Director overseeing the business, scientific and technical service directorates at Mobil Gas Marketing and Mobil North Sea.

After the Millennium, in his mid-forties, he changed direction and worked extensively in the UK public service and not–for–profit sectors, across local government, environment, justice, education and health. He was appointed Chief Executive at the Chief Fire Officers Association and advisor to the President of ministerial steering board, pivotal roles under the Bain reform of the UK Fire & Rescue Service; also Chief Executive at the national mutual & hospital group Benenden Healthcare; and Chief Executive at the National Open College Network, a leading UK and international qualifications ‘Awarding Organisation’ overseeing essential vocational learning, apprenticeship development and core functional skills.

He advised on modernising the UK Environment Agency and was formerly Chair at the Atlantic Margin Joint Industry Group covering sensitive marine waters from the Barents Sea through to the Atlantic west of Greenland.
He enjoys lifelong pastimes in geology, astronomy, ornithology, plants, history and literature.

Dr Niall Mccann

Dr Niall Mccann

Niall studied zoology at the University of Bristol, and completed his PhD in the conservation of Baird’s tapir in Honduras at Cardiff University. In his career as a zoologist Niall has specialised in working with endangered species. Niall made his television debut in 2011 and his wildlife documentary programmes are aired all over the world.

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Niall has conducted research in the UK, Italy, Mauritius, Bolivia, Namibia, Guyana and Honduras, spending over 21 months living and working in remote parts of the world. As well as his involvement in research, Niall is actively engaged in ongoing conservation projects in Honduras and Guyana, where he is working on the creation and protection of National Parks and other Protected Areas; and in human-animal conflict mitigation projects in Malawi and Nepal.

Simon Notley

Simon Notley

Simon is joint founder of The Iron Bed Company, an innovative manufacturing, retail and furniture distribution company. Simon sold the company in 2005 to concentrate on personal projects. Simon has recently funded and participated in a turtle conservation project in The Turks and Caicos Islands, run in conjunction with The Marine Conservation Society, and is just starting a new business in the bicycle world.

Nathaniel Page

Nathaniel Page

Nat Page studied Zoology at Oxford University (New College, 1972-75), and then Chinese and Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He entered the Foreign Office, and worked for 14 years as a diplomat, in various postings including Thailand and Romania, before returning to his original nature conservation interests.

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Since 1996 he has been owner and manager a small (60 ha) organic beef farm in the west of England. In 2003 he helped to establish Fundatia ADEPT Transilvania, which is dedicated to protecting Romania’s exceptional high-nature farmed landscapes, and the small-scale farming communities that have created them. He is particularly interested in the biodiversity of man-made, farmed landscapes, and the ‘protection through use’ of their biodiversity by economic incentives, including the development of commercial incentives – adding value to local products – so that farmers are rewarded for maintaining low-input, extensive farming systems. He is also involved in policy development and advocacy at national level, in Romania, and at EU level.

Dr Christopher Richards

Dr Christopher Richards

Dr Christopher Richards has a wide portfolio of interests in agriculture and related industries. He is currently Chairman of Plant Health Care plc, a leading provider of naturally derived plant growth enhancers and of Nanoco Group plc, a nanotechnology company.

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He was previously CEO, then Chairman of Arysta LifeSciences, a leading agrochemical company. Chris founded the Instituto Javari, an NGO working with local communities to conserve rainforest in the Javari River in Brazil. He farms in the West of England. Chris holds an MA in zoology and a D. Phil. in ecology from Oxford University.

Dr Richard Field

Dr Richard Field

Dr Field is an Associate Professor of Biogeography at the University of Nottingham. He read Geography at the University of Oxford before taking an MSc in Ecology at the University of Durham and a PhD in Ecology from Imperial College London. He has been Secretary of the International Biogeography Society since 2011.

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He has also been on 10 expeditions to the tropics and sub-tropics, five of them to Honduras with Operation Wallacea and three to Krakatau, Indonesia. His research interests focus on biodiversity and range from purely theoretical (e.g. the causes of the latitudinal biodiversity gradients) to much more applied and conservation oriented.

Dr Edi Purwanto

Dr Edi Purwanto

Dr Purwanto is the Chair of the Operation Wallacea Trust Indonesia, which is an independent Indonesian Yayasan (NGO) that manages and consults on projects throughout Indonesia, and provides in country support to Wallacea Trust projects there. Dr Purwanto joined the Trustees in 2009. Edi runs projects across central Indonesia, including the South-east Sulawesi Environmental Training project, and the Sulewesi and Sumatra Catchment Management project.

Past and Present Partners and Donors