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.
The departure of MPs on their summer recess usually signals the start of the silly season, as far as the media is concerned. But, far from being silly, most of the headlines at the moment seem very serious indeed. And we've been rather serious ourselves this week.
We think that aspects of the new National Planning Policy Framework are rather silly on a number of levels - but this means that it could have very serious consequences for our landscapes and wildlife.
The Telegraph and Guardian reported our concerns on Tuesday that the overhaul of our planning system places too much emphasis on economic concerns at the expense of the environment.
The story was followed up by the BBC News channel, who interviewed our planning expert Alice Hardiman live. Alice posed some uncomfortable questions for planning minister Greg Clark who was interviewed immediately afterwards and was forced to defend the Government’s plans.
This week also saw the launch of the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Carbon Code, which aims to provide guidelines for people planting trees in order to tackle climate change. We’re torn on this issue – it’s great to see people trying to make a difference, but really we should be reducing our CO2 emissions rather than offsetting them.
That, and other concerns about wildlife that rely on woodlands and heathland, were reported in a piece on the BBC News site.
Culling animals is always a difficult decision for us, but sometimes it is the only way to save other, more endangered, species. The Guardian this week covered our project on the Scilly islands of St Agnes and Gugh to eradicate rats, which are threatening local populations of storm petrel and Manx shearwater.
Let's hope the silly season lives up to its name and we can find a little light relief from all this seriousness in the week ahead.