Jim started his working life as a Marine Biologist on the west coast of Australia but has spent the last 30 years working on large-scale nature-based delivery, policy, research and public engagement projects in the UK and more distant countries such as Papua New Guinea and Pakistan. The common theme to this work has been system change to enhance people’s value for the natural environment through the delivery of social outcomes.
In 2003, he was the national Manager of English Nature’s External Relations Team in the UK. In 2006, with the formation of Natural England he was appointed Head of Campaigns, advising the BBC with TV productions such as Springwatch, Autumnwatch and the associated Breathing Places campaign. In 2009, he took up the role of Principle Adviser for Public Engagement, and then Principle Adviser for Health and the Environment in 2015 – which included outdoor learning. During these years he was the SRO for a number of large national outdoor learning projects including the One Million Children Outdoors campaign; the 3 year Natural Connections Demonstration Project funded by the Dept for Environment in 2012; the 3 year, £10m Dept for Education funded Children and Nature Programme in 2016, and more recently, the £5.7m Green Social Prescribing Programme 2019-22, funded by the UK Treasury.
Over this period, he also co-authored several publications on peoples motivations for, and use of, the natural environment with a particular interest in nature connection and under-represented social groups. Jim is also a founding Chair of the National Outdoors for All Working Group.
Since 2020, Jim has been on secondment from Natural England to the National Academy for Social Prescribing as Executive Director Programmes and Science and more recently interim CEO.
All these roles reflect on Jim’s lifelong interest in public engagement and passion to help connect people with the natural world, art, culture and heritage for their health and wellbeing.