Meet the team: new staff update

Meet the team: new staff update

The Chilterns team has grown in recent months, and we’d like to introduce you to our four newest members of staff – Helen, Fiona, Claudia and Sarah.

Helen Walsh

Helen joins us as communications officer for the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs Landscape Partnership. Her passion for communicating the issues faced by the natural world was ignited when she graduated from the University of Nottingham with an MSc in Biological Photography and Imaging.

“I’m very lucky to have done a lot of travelling, and one of my wildlife highlights was watching a black bear family in Yosemite National Park. But, I do love our British summers; whether picnicking in a forest or orchid spotting in a meadow, I’m happiest in the sun!”

Over the past 20 years, Helen has worked across the environment sector helping convey messages to different audiences, using a range of marketing tools. She runs a freelance science communication business, working on writing, designing and branding projects for organisations. She is looking forward to working with the CCC team as the project enters its final year.

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Fiona Skeggs

Fiona grew up in the Chilterns and joins us as a communications officer.

“I’m a huge whale nerd! Humpbacks are my favourite, but I’d love to tick belugas and narwhals off my bucket list”.

With a background in zoology, Fiona spent a number of years travelling and volunteering for marine conservation organisations across the United States, Canada, and Australia; it was during this time that she saw her first humpback whale and recognised the importance of communications in the environment sector.

Fiona has a master’s in health, science and environmental journalism and is looking forward to creating video content, growing our social media channels, and sharing updates on our work with you all through our monthly e-Newsletter.

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Dr Claudia Bernardini

Claudia has a passion for nature and conservation, and is the project support officer for the River Chess Smarter Water Catchment, the Chilterns Chalk Stream Project, and the Chilterns Heritage and Archaeology Partnership (CHAP).

“I especially loves trees and woodlands, and I have a soft spot for reptiles and amphibians”.

With a background in forestry and environmental science, Claudia has a PhD and postdoc on plants response to climate change, and before joining the team she worked for the Freshwater Habitats Trust and the Environmental Records Centre at Buckinghamshire Council for several years.

If you are wandering in the Chilterns and you are still and quiet, you might spot her running at dawn or dusk.

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Sarah Hebbes

Sarah has spent most of her career working in the not-for-profit sector — with visually impaired people, in international development and research communication, and most recently in the criminal justice sector — and joins us as a project support officer for Mend the Gap.

“This is the first time I’ve been able to work on a programme so close to home and close to my heart! I’m lucky enough to live in the Mend the Gap region, and I’m looking forward to administering the small grants side of the programme and working with communities to enhance the local landscape.”

Mend the Gap is a collaboration between the Chilterns and the North Wessex Downs National Landscape, and Sarah’s favourite place nestles just between the two on an apparently unremarkable piece of farmland, at the northernmost part of the Mend the Gap area, where she saw her first lapwing, otter and water vole, and where she regularly sees the resident barn owl!

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