People

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.

CHAIRMAN: Prof Martin Speight

CHAIRMAN: Prof Martin Speight

Professor Speight is an Emeritus Fellow in Biological Sciences at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford. He has recently retired from the post of Reader and Associate Professor in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. His main research interests are in tropical forest ecology, conservation and management, plant health and insect pest management, tropical coastal ecology with special emphasis on the links between reefs and mangroves.

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He has successfully supervised around 30 students to doctorates, in countries including Honduras, the British Virgin Islands, Sudan, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania (Zanzibar) and Malaysia (Peninsular and Sabah). He has visited more than 70 countries including Operation Wallacea sites in Croatia, Dominica, Fiji, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Romania and South Africa. He has published text books on the ecology of insects, tropical pest management, and marine ecology and is now actively involved in an on-going project to write science lectures based on recently published literature for Opwall expeditions around the world to be delivered in the field to school and university students.

PATRON: Ken Clarke

PATRON: 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.

TREASURER: Dr Christopher Richards

TREASURER: 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.

TRUSTEE: Dr Niall Mccann

TRUSTEE: 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.

TRUSTEE: Philippa Suthers

TRUSTEE: Philippa Suthers

Philippa has a long history of supporting charities and local organisations, both in the UK and in her country of birth, Guyana. She has held numerous positions, in particularly in events planning for charities including the Wildlife Trust and several healthcare fundraising appeals.

TRUSTEE: Simon Notley

TRUSTEE: 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.

TRUSTEE: Prof Kathy Willis

TRUSTEE: Prof Kathy Willis

Kathy is a biologist who studies the relationship between long-term ecosystem dynamics and environmental change. She is Professor of Biodiversity in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, and an adjunct Professor in Biology at the University of Bergen. In 2018 she was elected as Principal of St Edmund Hall. She held the Tasso Leventis Chair of Biodiversity at Oxford and was founding Director, now Associate Director, of the Biodiversity Institute Oxford. Kathy was Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from 2013-2018 and is a regular broadcaster on science topics.

TRUSTEE: Nathaniel Page

TRUSTEE: Nathaniel Page

Nat Page is Director of Fundatia ADEPT Transilvania, an NGO dedicated to protecting Romania’s high biodiversity farmed landscapes by working with the small-scale farming communities that maintain them. He actively promotes ‘protection through use’ of the biodiversity of man-made landscapes, by developing economic incentives from the market (via products linked to biodiversity; diversification such as ecotourism; and intelligently designed state support payments).

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He is involved in the development of farmer-friendly nature conservation policies at national and at EU levels. He studied Zoology at Oxford University, and then Chinese and Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. After 14 years in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, serving in various postings including Thailand and Romania, he returned to his original nature conservation interests in 1995. He combines conservation with practical farming; he is owner and manager of an all-pasture beef farm in the west of England.

TRUSTEE: Sarah Mukherjee

TRUSTEE: Sarah Mukherjee

Sarah is the Director of the Institute of Environmnetal Management and Assessment - Europes' leading professional membersio organisation for those working in the environmental field. Sarah is a a former BBC Environment Correspondent and was educated at Loughton County High School in Essex, before attending St Hilda's College, Oxford, where she read Law. After working at the House of Commons in PR and consultancy, Sarah completed her diploma in Journalism at the Polytechnic of Central London. In 2005 she was granted the first interview with the Prince of Wales for more than a decade, in which he spoke of his concerns about the environment and she was a regular contributor on Radio 4's Today programme, often reporting live from rural areas countryside and rural issues. In 2017, she took up the post of Chief Executive of the Crop Protection Association.

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Sarah has also sat on the advisory panels for Glover Review of Protected Landscapes (2019) and National Food Strategy (current), as well as being a Trustee at the Woodland Trust, a Governor at Harper Adams University, and was co-chair of the Oxford Farming Conference in 2021-22.

TRUSTEE: Dr Richard Field

TRUSTEE: 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.

TRUSTEE: Charlotte Palmer

TRUSTEE: Charlotte Palmer

Charlotte worked for 10 years with Opwall before leaving to become Nature Manager for the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership, a DEFRA accredited body that is leading on introducing wildlife back into the UK countryside through the new govt greening schemes. Charlotte worked at the Opwall Dominica, Honduras, China and Indonesia sites so is fully aware of the wildlife data sets available for wildlife conservation projects in these countries and how they can be used as the basis for successful conservation interventions. Charlotte presented the data needed for the Dominican Amazon Parrot to be upgraded to Critically Endangered.

TRUSTEE: Dr Edi Purwanto

TRUSTEE: 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.

SECRETARY (non-Trustee): Dr Dan Exton

SECRETARY (non-Trustee): Dr Dan Exton

Dan is Secretary at the Wallacea Trust, and Head of Research at its sister organisation Operation Wallacea. His background is in tropical marine ecology and conservation, with a particular focus on coral reefs, although he now manages largescale conservation interventions on behalf of the Wallacea Trust. Dan manages the day to day running of the Trust, and also leads on several of their projects including their reforestation initiative.

ASSOCIATE: Dr Kathy Slater

ASSOCIATE: Dr Kathy Slater

Kathy has been living and working in Mexico for 15 years, and specialises in managing research and conservation efforts in Neotropical forests, with a side interest in Caribbean turtles. She was instrumental in establishing the highly successful Marine Protected Area in Akumal, Mexico, to provide refuge to turtle populations from unregulated tourism. Kathy also manages largescale projects in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Mexico, providing valuable biodiversity data and threat assessments to the Mexican government, along with developing conservation solutions such as through sustainable honey production as an alternative income source.