Introducing our new Head of Landscape, Dr. Kate Heppell

Introducing our new Head of Landscape, Dr. Kate Heppell

Last month, we were delighted to welcome Dr. Kate Heppell into her new role as Head of Landscape for the Chilterns Conservation Board. Kate has already made a huge impact on the work of the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project, having been working for the River Chess Smarter Water Catchment Project whilst on secondment from Queen Mary University London.


We are so pleased to have Kate join the team on a permanent basis, where she will help shape and lead our strategic and operational work to conserve and enhance the special qualities of the Chilterns landscape.  We asked Kate to share a bit about herself and why she’s looking forward to making a difference, here’s what she said: 


I’m delighted to be starting as Head of Landscape for Chilterns Conservation Board in July, and to applying the skills and knowledge that I’ve developed over my career to the protection and enhancement of the Chilterns landscape, at such a critical time of climate emergency and biodiversity loss. My recent secondment at Chilterns Conservation Board has given me invaluable insight into the work of the organisation, and has inspired me to want to help develop and deliver key nature recovery and climate change mitigation strategies, and to lead the landscapes team in their work to enhance and conserve the natural and historic environment of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Over the last 20 years I have worked as a lecturer and then Professor at the School of Geography at Queen Mary, University of London.  My research has focused on understanding interactions between water and chemical movement across the landscape; through land into rivers, groundwater and the atmosphere. I’ve worked on research projects about soil health, the importance of lowland peatlands for carbon cycling, nitrate and phosphate movement and transformations in agricultural landscapes of contrasting geology – including researching many different chalk streams across England.

Chilterns ANOB

It is important to me that my work has practical real-life applications and impact. Most recently, this has involved setting up and running Citizen Science activities in the River Chess catchment for the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project, to help drive mitigation actions to improve the health of this precious chalk stream.

I was born and brought up in the Chilterns, so it is a working landscape that is particularly close to my heart, and it was my early adventures and hikes in the Chilterns as a ‘Venture Scout’ that inspired me to forge a career working on environmental issues. I’m very much looking forward to being part of a great team of people working together to conserve and enhance the special qualities of the Chilterns landscape.

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