My passion for wildlife was stimulated in my teenage years, mainly thanks to my Mum (a biology teacher) who made me look at the world differently and being inspired by writers such as Paul Colinvaux. This early interest developed into biological research in my 20s, when I did practical conservation work in places such as the Comores and Mongolia.
Today, any free time I have I spend pottering around the flatlands of East Anglia or escaping to our hut on the Northumberland coast looking for wildlife and castles with my wife and children.
I studied Biological Sciences at Oxford and Conservation at UCL, and worked at Wildlife and Countryside Link before spending five years as Conservation Director at Plantlife.
I joined the RSPB as Head of Government Affairs in 2004, became Head of Sustainable Development in 2006, before becoming Conservation Director in 2011.
There's a lot going on this week, so I shall be brief!
We entertain our Council at the Lodge tomorrow for one of our quarterly meetings. On Wednesday I will be giving evidence to the Efra Select Committee on behalf of Wildlife and Countryside Link. The focus is on the UK Government's Natural Environment White Paper. While I face my grilling, President Barroso et al will be deciding how to spend c3 trillion euros of European tax payers money. We expect negotiations to go on well into the night.
I shall try to highlight our hopes and expectations for the EU budget tomorrow.
Until then, enjoy the tennis and the sultry weather (assuming it's sultry where you are).