Matthew Axford | care (planet) advocate
Hopefully my whole career has seen me doing my own little bit to care for the planet – through various roles in countryside management and environmental sustainability.
I currently work as a Ranger for a local authority, spending much of my time working within a park owned by a community based charity. I previously worked for the Duke of Wellington at a Country Park in Hampshire. I’ve also been heavily involved in Ranger activities on a national level with the Countryside Management Association and as a member of the Country Parks Network Steering Group. I have been a long standing judge for the Green Flag Award Scheme.
My duties and experience include managing wildlife habitats, maintaining visitor facilities, dealing with problem trees and maintaining safe access to trails and pathways. I also manage larger projects overseeing the work of contractors and volunteers and maintaining the safety of the public in relation to that work. I’m also experienced in writing management plans and completing grant applications to secure additional funding, as well as completing the more mundane administrative duties essential for the efficient running of park facilities. I work closely with community groups, schools, local residents and with the very many visitors, supporting them to enjoy their visits – whether that be at an organised event or just a simple a walk in the park.
I also have a passion for environmental matters and the push for improved sustainability – being a long standing director of the Middleport Environmental Charity. I have also been involved with supporting permaculture initiatives and local sustainability groups within the area.
Spending my days within green space environments and close to wildlife and nature makes me appreciate the benefits not only to my own health, but I also see first-hand the benefits it definitely brings to local communities, whether that be school children, families, or more mature folk. Green space is good for everyone, and it’s important that we cherish and protect it, through improved conservation. It’s also important that we as a human race look wider to protect the planet as a whole and be mindful of our own behaviours and how they impact on the planet.
The health and wellbeing benefits of using our natural environment, through parks and local countryside for physical, emotional and even social wellbeing are becoming increasingly well recognised – and this is why I want to play my part in supporting the Human-Nature initiative. People do need to make best use our green spaces – even just a regular visit to a local park can provide that all important sense of ‘escape’.
As one of the earliest supporters of this project, I can see its potential and the enthusiasm behind it and want to use my expertise to add weight and strength to the environmental side of its objectives, as well as seeing the project succeed in its positive human health outcomes.