Nathan had been a member of BC for a few years when an advert in his local Branch newsletter for the position of committee Chair presented an opportunity to reconnect with his childhood love for wildlife and being outdoors.
How did you come to be Butterfly Conservation’s Kent Branch Chair?
I was always passionate about wildlife as a child and a teenager. My mum was a riding instructor and I learned to ride at three, so I was always outside. I was a professional showjumper until my mid-twenties, but gave it all up to pursue a ‘proper’ job. A move to London and a corporate career followed, but after ten years I felt I needed to align my free time, if not my day job with something that resonated with me a bit more. I joined BC and was an arm’s length member for a time but I had the Branch newsletters and saw that they needed a new Chair for the Committee. I had a chat with Steve Wheatley (Regional Conservation Manager for the South East) who then put me in touch with other Chairs. Everyone was really friendly and encouraging and it sounded like I could bring something to the role. I was voted in at the Branch AGM just a few weeks later.
What are your favourite aspects of the role?
It is so varied. Last weekend we did a couple of engagement events including one at Spencer House where I work. We talked to the public about wildlife friendly gardening and showed them the moths that we had trapped the night before. There’s always stuff going on! I really enjoy the hands on side of things at work parties and meeting our members and other volunteers. People have so much knowledge and give up so much of their time, it’s inspiring.
What motivates you to volunteer?
If you are passionate about something, it is like a renewable energy source because it will always motivate you. In my role as Chair, I’m particularly interested in how we can inspire people to care about the natural world when they are so removed from it. The engagement and the connection side is something I can really contribute to without needing a massively in depth knowledge, and that is particularly motivating for me.
Are you team butterfly or team moth?
Oh definitely team butterfly! Moths are new to me and I’m definitely starting to appreciate how amazing they are. I have a moth trap now and it’s so exciting when you come out in the morning to see what’s there.
Do you have a favourite species?
I really couldn’t say. They are all exquisite. I think it’s whichever one I happen to be looking at!
Do you have time for any other hobbies?
I really love gardening and I guess this overlaps with my other passions for wildlife and being outside. At work we have about half an acre of garden. We have gone completely organic and planted for butterflies. We have also recently put in some disease resistant elms and have plans for a wildlife pond.
Would you recommend volunteering to others?
Absolutely. There are many different opportunities and any help is so valued. No one should be put off by thinking ‘I’m not knowledgeable enough’. Everyone has something to contribute. BC has a real sense of community and camaraderie – it is great to be a part of that.