Dr Sally Bucknall BSc; MSc; Ph.D; CIBiol.

publication date: Oct 25, 2011
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I am a biologist by training with a first class honours degree in Plant Science, an MSc in Ecology and a Ph.D in the management of Calluna vulgaris (Ling heather) moorland and the effects of disposing of the waste products of whisky distillation on its growth patterns. The purpose of this set of qualifications was to pursue a career that employed ecological concepts in an attempt to modify the damaging effects of 1970s agriculture in the UK.

My first career post in 1975 was with the then Countryside Commission as its Agricultural Adviser; this involved close liaison with farmers, landowners, local authorities and wildlife organisations  to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. As a result of the regionalisation of the Countryside Commission in 1977 I joined the new team in Leeds, the headquarters of the Yorkshire and Humberside Region and in 1981 I became Regional Director.

During 198o-1981 I spent a year seconded to the North York Moors National Park as the first female Deputy National Park Office; during this time I introduced many modern governance practices.

In the 1990s I was part of the nationally based team that created The Countryside Stewardship Programme which subsequently and successfully expanded into Environmental Stewardship. As a senior manager in what is now Natural England I have been involved in financial and strategic planning, staff and project management, staff training and development and involvement with most sectors of society.

Having worked in the public sector for 25 years I decided to take early retirement at 50 to pursue other interests including charitable work. I became a trustee of the charity the Henry Doubleday Research Association, now known as Garden Organic, and have served for three years as vice-chair and as chair for a further three years during a difficult and financially challenging period for the charity. I continue as a trustee and have special responsibility for the continuing development of our strategic planning; directing our evolving Governance Review and "buddying" new Trustees in their first year.

My interest in bees has developed as part of my lifelong interest in natural history especially since my husband David Aston became a beekeeper in 1981. We have written two books together - "Plants and Honey Bees - their relationships and "Keeping Healthy Honey Bees". I am also a contributor to the Beekeepers Quarterly and The Cottage Gardener and I am one of the authors of "The Beekeepers Bible". I also write some promotional material for the BBKA.

My interests are the natural sciences, the countryside, travel, reading and growing organic vegetables, fruit and flowers, particularly forage for pollinators, especially bees, other insects and birds. My passion is to try and find more ways to help people to understand, connect with and support wildlife, the importance of food chains and the natural world.