We welcomed Lloyd Park to the team at Wild Ken Hill in October as Conservation Leader & Ecologist. Lloyd is a keen naturalist and nature conservationist and below shares his background and motivation for joining Ken Hill.
My background is in practical conservation management, species monitoring, and reintroduction projects and I have spent much of my career to date working in the NGO / charity sector. You can find my new team member page here.
I am also a fully qualified British Trust for Ornithology bird ringer. Before making the move to Wild Ken Hill I worked for the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust for thirteen years in a range of roles at Rutland Water Nature Reserve (SSSI, SPA, Ramsar) – a large mosaic of wetland, grassland and woodland habitats which is primarily managed for wetland bird species and is home to the first ospreys to be-reintroduced to England.
I bring with me the knowledge of a well-practiced naturalist, a wide range of conservation management skills, experience of an array of survey, recording and monitoring work, and species reintroduction expertise – all of which I hope will be an asset to my new role here.
With biodiversity loss and climate change accelerating, I believe that now more than ever before we have a duty to restore and protect our natural heritage through innovative thinking and pioneering projects which break the mould of long-established conservation practice and strike a better balance for nature, traditional land use and the benefit of our diverse communities – now and for generations to come.
It is with this in mind that I was inspired by Wild Ken Hill’s forward thinking and bold approach in tackling the challenges currently faced by land managers and conservationists alike, admirably bringing together agricultural and conservation practices, rewilding the landscape and restoring lost species to their rightful place in the ecosystem, whilst simultaneously helping mitigate climate change.
With this unique vision the potential this project has for delivering a better equilibrium for biodiversity and sustainable food production is exciting in itself, but what also stands out to me is its potential to change perceptions in both the agricultural and conservation communities and beyond, inspire more collaborative working and demonstrate that conservation, agriculture and traditional land management can happily coexist. It is a privilege to be a part of the team bringing this unique vision to life, and to be able to help make a difference to the future of our natural heritage in the UK in such a way.
My first few weeks in post have been spent familiarising myself with the estate, which is split in to three key areas: traditional conservation practice, regenerative agriculture, and rewilding, and together form a vast mosaic of habitats.
Each of these areas is a wonderful voyage of discovery. As I become more acquainted with the estate it is obvious to me that the management of Ken Hill has historically taken a very sympathetic approach to wildlife, and the benefits of this is evident in the 2,500+ species that I learn have already been recorded here – of which 300 are species with conservation status, including turtle dove, cuckoo, corn marigold, hoary mullein, barbastelle bats and Breckland leather bug to name a few.
I feel like the proverbial kid in a sweetshop and we are only just beginning! It feels as though this estate may already be a step ahead of the rest, and I sense a profound anticipation of the magnitude of what will be achieved here in the years to come – I’m looking forward to being able to share our progress and learning with you along the way.
Conservation Leader & Ecologist.