Abi Groos

As an experienced forager of plants and fungi, I find time spent doing this for food and medicine is the most rewarding part of my life.

Sharing these skills and inspiring others to take time to explore the wonderful world around us and to not be afraid of the flora and fauna which surround us could be key to saving and regenerating our world one garden or small area at a time.

After a few years in the Merchant Navy I settled upon becoming an Herbalist / Naturopath and have done this full time since 1998. As a Herbalist I used some Medicinal mushrooms and expanded this knowledge and I started to explore the world of Mushrooms in more depth as scientific trials started to be published.

This led me to study further with The Wild Side of Life owned by Fred Gillam and attended the Medicinal Mushroom Conference. Fred invited me to co-teach on his Herbal Medicine courses and then on his Mushroom Foraging courses.

I am a member of The Association of Foragers, The Association of Master Herbalists and the General Naturopathic Council.

Andrew Branson

Andrew Branson was founder, director and managing editor of British Wildlife Publishing for 25 years. Now retired, he is pursuing his interests in botany and is currently working on a bryophyte flora of Somerset. He is the British Bryological Society vice-county recorder for South Wiltshire and South Somerset and was chair of the Dorset Flora Group.

Colin Morris

I have been involved in bat conservation for over 40 years; initially as a volunteer with the Dorset Bat Group I went on to work professionally with bats for nearly 30 years, with a privately funded Wildlife Trust. Here I managed over fifty nature reserves (all with bats) in England, Wales and The Republic of Ireland, some of which had the most important populations of horseshoe bats in Europe. During this time I built, rebuilt, refurbished, developed and enhanced almost all of them and, with this knowledge I am now regarded as a leading expert on ‘horseshoe’ bat roost design in the U.K. In 1989 I was part of a team that excavated the World’ first cave in solid rock for hibernating bats, near Blandford in Dorset. Being innovative and ‘hands-on’ I invented the Morris ‘Bat-slate’ (to allow bats back into a refurbished roof), the Morris ‘Cool-tower’, and the ‘CJM bat box’, a very successful design that has recorded at least eight species of bat. In 2014 I was awarded the Pete Guest Award for Outstanding Contribution to Bat Conservation in the UK. I am now retired from full time bat conservation but still undertake some horseshoe bat roost design and refurbishment.

Nigel Spring

Nigel taught environmental studies in a Dorset Middle School for 14 years before setting up and running The Kingcombe Centre from 1987 until 2004. He is closely involved with the management of the Butterfly Conservation reserves in Dorset and is responsible for the education section of Butterfly Conservation’s website. In 2007 Nigel established EuCAN through The Kingcombe Trust with three consecutive tranches of EU Leonardo da Vinci funding.

Tom Brereton

Tom Brereton is a highly experienced ecological consultant with a lifelong interest in the natural world. He has an MSc in Conservation and a PhD in Butterfly Ecology. Tom has worked for the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, as an RSPB Warden and Reserves Ecologist, as Associate Director of Research at Butterfly Conservation, and as co-founder and Research Director of Dorset-based charity Marinelife. Tom is currently a Visiting Professor at Bournemouth University, Visiting Researcher at Exeter University and involved in ecological work at several Dorset estates including Wyke Farm and Mapperton Estate, as well as an ecotourism guide, leading bird, butterfly, mammal and botanical tours.