Conservation champion to help shape the future of wildlife trust
A new champion for the natural environment in north east Somerset has been appointed.
Conservation charity Avon Wildlife Trust has made Dr Bevis Watts its new chief executive.
Dr Watts, who holds the qualification chartered environmentalist, joins the trust from Triodos Bank where he has been head of business banking for the sustainable finance firm for the last five years.
He will be in charge of a charity which runs the 250-acre Folly Farm reserve at Stowey, the Burledge Hill and Chew Valley Lake reserves at Chew Valley, and the Stephen's Vale reserve at Clutton.
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He is a founding trustee of a Warwickshire-based conservation charity and has volunteered on three international marine conservation projects.
The trust manages 35 nature reserves across the former Avon area and has more than 16,500 members.
It also runs initiatives including Wild Schools, and provides advice and guidance to farmers and landowners through its Living Landscapes project.
Dr Watts said: "I have been a supporter of the trust's work for some time and an admirer of what is a very strong and stable organisation.
"To have such great heritage to build on is truly exciting and I hope my leadership can inspire a step change in the trust's scale and impact."
He added: "My interest in conservation comes partly from a conviction about the social importance of wildlife to a healthy and truly sustainable society.
"At long last we are starting to recognise that a green economy doesn't simply mean creating some jobs in green industries, it means creating an economy that recognises its fundamental dependence on the health of our natural environment."
His appointment follows the retirement in September of former chief executive Steve Grainger, and more recently of acting chief executive Pat Ellingham.
The trust is a member of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts and is the largest membership-based organisation of its kind in its area, dedicated to inspiring people about the natural world.