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"The Essex Wildlife Trust in 2017 - Challenges and Opportunities"

Andrew Impey
Chief Executive of the Essex Wildlife Trust

Friday 3rd March, 2017 at 7.30p.m.

Living as we do, in a conservation area, we were pleased to welcome our guest speaker, Dr. Andrew Impey, the CEO of Essex Wildlife Trust. 

Andrew explained that he is a "local lad", having been born at Boreham, and spent his formative years exploring and playing in the woodlands that surround our village and it was this that developed his interest in the natural world.  This interest has taken him all around the world, including such diverse regions as Scandinavia, the Arctic Circle, Morocco, the Indian Ocean, North America, Sumatra and the rainforests of Africa and Brazil.

Andrew's main topics were the challenges and opportunities ahead for EWT. The Trust has 36,000 members, 11 visitor centres, which act as a gateway to get people into the natural world, and employ 185 staff throughout the county.  Andrew said that he was re-organising the way the Trust works with regards to personnel management by encouraging people at all levels to take responsibility. 

 Andrew told us that up until the 1990's there was less pressure on land, but now there is more competition for land usage, he saw part of his job was to promote and inspire the public in land conservation and to build alliances with land owners.

As part of the conservation and protection of species, EWT, through the Living Landscapes project, is replacing trees and hedges to provide corridors for animals and is planting heather to restore heath land and wild flowers to encourage butterflies and other insects.  With 75% of Essex being covered by farmland, the Trust is working with farmers in the Living Landscapes project.

Essex has the longest coastline of any county in England and the Marine Conservation Zone at Fingringhoe Wick, which was flooded to provide habitat for birds, was discussed.  There is a hide at the site which the public are encouraged to use and such use has an economic and health benefit.  The Trust also has several river wardens who assist the Environment Agency in the protection and conservation of our rivers.

A question and answer session followed and, on behalf of everyone present, the Chairman thanked Andrew for his varied, extremely interesting, and inspirational talk.

Members of the public who are interested in their environment are encouraged to contact Essex Wildlife Trust to find out how they can assist in their charitable activities and, for more information, please go to www.essexwt.org.uk.