Meet the team

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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.

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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.

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MIKE COOKE

Ecologist & residential trainer

Mike’s career in conservation spans 30 years with specialism in wildlife surveys, habitat assessment and ecological evaluation. He has worked with Ambios since 2005 and has played a central role in the development of its programmes over the last 10 years. He provides trainees with core elements of their training throughout each of our residential programmes, including species identification, wildlife monitoring techniques, field ecology and ecological restoration approaches. Mike also provides continuous residential support for trainees as they progress through their placements.

 
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MOLLY TURNER

Farm & course coordinator

Molly completed her undergraduate degree in Zoology and her masters in Conservation Science and Policy at the University of Exeter. She first joined Ambios at Lower Sharpham Farm in March 2021 on the 12-week nature conservation training course. This experience allowed her to develop her interests in rewilding as well as gain practical conservation skills and experience to kickstart her career. She undertook a 6-month kickstart placement with Ambios before securing her role as the Farm and Course Coordinator in November 2021.  Her responsibilities include communications, marketing and course administration. She also helps Ambios facilitate the Devon Rewilding Network in partnership with Rewilding Britain and the Woodland Trust.

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PHIL WILSON

Conservation Ranger

Phil describes himself as a complete and utter nature nerd, having loved nature and the outdoors from an early age. In pursuit of a career doing what he loves, he completed a zoology degree at the University of Exeter. Whilst visiting a careers fair he met Simon, who inspired him to join Ambios’ Mobility to Norway where he undertook survey expeditions collecting data on the Arctic Fox. In January 2021, he returned to Lower Sharpham Farm to spend 9 months as a long-term volunteer, but was hijacked by the wonderful opportunity to become the Conservation Ranger under the Wild For People project in June 2021. His role is in engaging various audiences with the rewilding site, leading practical and survey based volunteers sessions, running mindfulness in nature retreats and and teaching school children about the natural world.

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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. Stu 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.

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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.

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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.

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