We are delighted to welcome newly appointed Riverlution manager, Geoffrey Guy to the River Stewardship Company team.
In this new post, Geoff will be instrumental in driving forward the community and social value side of our work, including the new River Stewardship Skills Scheme. Education is something close to Geoff's heart and he brings with him a wealth of experience to this new post.
Geoff has worked in the countryside his entire career, even before leaving school he worked on the grounds of stately homes in North Devon and on golf courses as a pest controller and general countryside worker before studying countryside and wildlife management at college where he specialised in the management of deer. Geoff has worked all over the world with deer and wildlife and has been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time traveling to research wildlife management practices in Europe and North America thanks to receiving the Farmers Club Agricultural Educators Award in 2019 and a Nuffield Farming Scholarship in 2021.
Thanks to this diverse experience, Geoff has spent the last decade working as a lecturer and manager in further education colleges where he has specialised in countryside management but also taught on and managed programmes as diverse as agriculture, horticulture, environmental sustainability, forestry, floristry, construction and special education needs and has also taught specialist programmes including training forest school leaders and delivering teacher training.
As well as working in FE colleges, Geoff has been involved in ‘extra curricular’ educational activities including working as a leader for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programmes and as a manager and lead instructor for residential outdoor and environmental education centres in Norfolk, Devon and Scotland. Geoff has also maintained his currency in practical land management skills by taking occasional roles as a countryside ranger and by staying involved in practical deer management and as director of a not for profit company specialising in woodland restoration and environmental education.
Geoff has a long relationship with rivers and has many fond memories growing up on the banks of the Ystwyth and Teifi Rivers in West Wales and the Torridge in North Devon where he saw his first wild otter and where he decided on pursuing a career in the countryside. He has also been fortunate enough to work on the banks of the Ardle and Tay rivers in Scotland and a highlight of his rewilding research, funded by the Farmers Club Charitable Trust in 2019, was watching a grizzly bear on the banks of the Yellowstone river.
With rivers so integral to the natural as well as cultural heritage of the British Isles, they are a really important habitat to preserve and are particularly sensitive to damage and degradation by human activity. Here, Geoff talks about his thoughts on the importance of driving public engagement with our rivers and waterways:
Education, when carried out properly, is possibly the most socially impactful thing in the world. Nowadays young people are more environmentally aware than ever before thanks to teachers explicitly tackling climate issues and habitat degradation, in some cases even where the curriculum doesn’t require it, in their classrooms. What schools often can’t do though is provide the sort of contextualised practical involvement that Riverlution Stewardship Skills Scheme can.
Sharing nature, wildlife and experiences on the river bank with my own children and family are important things to me and that’s one of the reasons that I’m particularly excited to be involved with Riverlution and the River Stewardship Company at this time to be able to deliver a programme that reaches beyond my own family and which not only helps people start careers in river stewardship, and more broadly in the environmental sector, but which offers them consistent opportunities to be involved in the practical management of rivers and the surrounding riparian habitats. From river clean-ups to bankside tree planting, hedge laying to habitat creation and even environmental art and interpretation which can further spread the message about the need to conserve and manage rivers.
Riverlution has enormous potential not only in terms of its stewardship skills schemes which will benefit participants, and hopefully help them launch successful careers in the environmental sector, but also in its ability to support companies who hope to do some environmental good in their local area. In areas such as Sheffield, where the rivers have been so heavily impacted by industry over the years, there is a lot to do but also a great deal of wildlife to see even in built up areas which would surprise some people. For example I have seen kingfishers, which were once very scarce, in busy parts of Sheffield such as Attercliffe and Hillsborough in just my first few weeks of working in the area. Every bit of volunteer work we can support in the area improves the chances for wildlife to thrive.
Contact Geoff at firstname.lastname@example.org | 07757 911814