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John has always been fascinated by wildlife. Having studied Zoology and Conservation at university, he worked with the Ecological Parks Trust (now the Trust for Urban Ecology), creating and managing urban nature reserves so that children could learn about nature at first hand.
Their first site was built from scratch on a former lorry park at the foot of Tower Bridge in the heart of London (picture left), where visitors could explore a pond, a meadow or even a sand dune within sight of St. Paul's cathedral.
After a four year stint in London he spent the next 22 years as the Warden of the Sevenoaks Reserve in Kent, a string of flooded gravel pit lakes fringed by woodland and managed by a small independent charity.
Here he was given a more or less free hand to develop the reserve, from the initial surveys of plants, fungi and animals, through drawing up a management plan, to the nitty-gritty of digging ponds, building islands, laying out a nature trail and guiding school groups.
All this was achieved with a small staff, minimal bureaucracy and a large gang of dedicated volunteers.
This immensely rewarding and enjoyable situation came to an abrupt halt in 2005 when the reserve was taken over by the Kent Wildlife Trust, so it seemed like an ideal time to move on to something new.
Outside working hours he still finds time to help as a volunteer on some of the local reserves managed by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust and to indulge his interest in woodcarving and coracle-making.
Although he enjoys all aspects of the countryside he has a particular fondness for insects, is a former Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and has for many years studied glow-worms.
He is also a keen wildlife photographer.