Meet The Team

We are a team passionate about wildlife.  Each and every one of us brings with them a unique mix of experience, insight and contacts, all of which help us to deliver to our trainees invaluable courses in nature conservation, a rich network of individual professionals and like-minded organisations.

This is us!

Simon Roper ¦ Director

Simon is the Director of Ambios responsible for International Relations and Vocational Education and Training. His responsibilities include both grant focused project fundraising and training delivering for leadership, entrepreneurial thinking, team working and science communication as well as badger and mammal ecology.  His Master’s research focused on badger ecology and he leads the Sharpham Badger TB Vaccination project. He is also the Internal Quality Assurance manager for City & Guilds and Europass certificates.  Simon is passionate about ecology, biodiversity and teaching and learning and co-founded Ambios in 2001 to help people achieve their goals for nature and employment.

Jack Skuse ¦ Director

Jack is a Director of Ambios and is responsible for Lower Sharpham Farm, the Devon base of Ambios’ domestic training and nature conservation programme. His responsibilities include running the day to day activities of the farm, including hosting and training residential trainees and volunteers on placements; coordinating the programme of farm work and nature conservation outcomes of Lower Sharpham Farm including research projects, community based activities and delivering a comprehensive and authentic work experience programme for the people United Response support. His career in conservation has been a marriage of Ambios and Sharpham, having spent his traineeship working on volunteer projects with Ambios, leading to running IgoMANGO residential volunteer project on the Sharpham Estate nearly 10 years ago. He and his partner Kate live at Lower Sharpham Farm with their 2 boys, both of whom were born at the farm.

Dr Clive Betts ¦ Chair

Clive is Chair of Ambios and is responsible for internal governance and strategic direction as well as monitoring and contributing to and advising on projects, funding bids, stakeholder liaison, initiatives and staffing. An entomologist, and Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society for over 40 years, Clive is also involved in everything Ambios does with invertebrates including projects, bioblitzes, educational activities and habitat management advice. Clive also draws on three decades of education, management and staff development experience to support the training and development of Ambios delegates and evaluation of projects.

Mike Cooke ¦ Facilitator: Technical Language & Ecology

Mike’s career in conservation spans 25 years with specialisms in habitat assessment and evaluation. He has worked with Ambios since 2005 and has played a continuous role in its international programmes over the last ten years. He provides trainees with core elements of their training throughout each programme, including UK conservation approaches, habitat/protected species ecology, species identification, field survey methods, habitat interpretation, and habitat management. He is also a certified EFL teacher and provides English language sessions as an integrated element of the training placements for overseas students

Fraser Rush ¦ Trainer

Fraser is a trainer for Ambios in a wide range of subjects that reflects his long and varied career as a Countryside Ranger and Natural Reserves Manager. He describes himself as a reasonable birder, a passable botanist and an aspiring entomologist and is never happier than when sharing his knowledge with students.

Fraser is an accomplished nature conservation land manager with a large number of projects to his credit, giving him a valuable insight into what methods and practices give the greatest benefit for wildlife. Fraser likes Beethoven and doesn’t eat beetroot.

Jackie Bufton ¦ Online Learning and Moodle Specialist

Jackie is our on-line learning and Moodle specialist.  She has a Masters in Education and advises on course development, and is responsible for training and certification of our assessors and verifiers.  Jackie has a background in qualification development and vocational education quality assurance.  She has been with the team since the beginning and has been involved in the development and running of projects in the UK and internationally.

Stuart Brooking ¦ Woodland and Land Manager

Stuart is our Woodland and Land manager and well as being a Director. He holds a degree in Environmental Protection and is passionate about woodlands and nature. He enjoys the hands-on approach of working in woodlands and nature reserves, clearing tracks, putting up gates and fences and working on small forestry projects.

Stuart is a trainer for our environmental vocational qualifications and is involved with the practical conservation work at the farm and elsewhere; hedge laying, doing tree work and assisting with bat and dormouse surveys and building artificial badger sets.

Stu Murdoch ¦ Countryside Services/ Woodland Management

Stu has 15 years experience in conservation and land management, as well as passion for passing on traditional rural skills and woodland development. His roles include educating the trainees, groundworks and all aspects of woodland and estate management.

He is qualified in a range of machinery use and techniques including chainsaws, brush cutters and hedge laying. He especially enjoys utilising the natural resources through his passion for chainsaw planking, woodturning and charcoal making.

Stuart also runs a small craft company in Devon, called Shaw Wood. Primarily they produce locally sourced and handcrafted wooden items such as Didgeridoos , handturned objects and rustic garden furniture. They also offer a variety of rural skills training, as well as land management, landscaping and outdoor space enhancement.  Please visit his website to find out more.

Ellie Parker ¦ Farm & Course Coordinator

Ellie completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Exeter in BSc Geography, undertaking marine biology modules as well. She first joined Ambios at Lower Sharpham Farm in April 2017, where she undertook a four month nature conservation placement as a LEMUR+ trainee, part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. She is the Farm and Course Coordinator at Ambios and her responsibilities include communications, marketing and course administration.

Holly Dog

Holly the Labrador lives at Lower Sharpham Farm.  She leads our team of learning support dogs that help visitors settle into life on the farm.


Hebe lives with Simon’s family and is training to be a learning support dog, helping trainees settle at Lower Sharpham Farm or attending events helping to promote the nature conservation training work of Ambios.  Hebe also helps facilitate workshops and training sessions run by Simon and the Ambios team.


Koda lives with Simon’s family and is the youngest member of the team.  He is training to be a learning support dog, helping trainees settle at Lower Sharpham Farm or attending events helping to promote the nature conservation training work of Ambios.  Koda, like Hebe, also helps facilitate workshops and training sessions run by Simon and the Ambios team.  Koda has his own Instragram account @koda.2804 (April 28.04.19 being his birthday!)

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