Meet the committee

Karen Andrews grew up in a family of bird ringers, botanists and entomologists, so a passion for natural history is in the blood. Her career in water pollution and waste management has given her insight into environmental challenges across many sectors, and in her working life she now focuses on improving water quality and biodiversity in rivers and streams across the Severn Vale. One of her favourite parts of this involves training and working with volunteers to identify aquatic macroinvertebrates and record riverine habitats. She holds several degrees in environmental and ecological subjects, and has recently enjoyed studying local swift colonies as part of her academic studies. Her wildlife interests are broad, although a focus on plants and hoverflies seems to be emerging. Karen has also been a Wildlife Watch leader, and volunteers every year on Skomer island off of the Pembrokeshire Coast.

Juliet Bailey grew up in the vale between Cheltenham and Gloucester surrounded by cowslip fields and orchards. Her first love was wild flowers, and it made a perfect combination of interest and practicality to study Agricultural Botany at Leeds University. She worked for a while as a fieldsman in plant pathology trials for the Ministry of Agriculture. She then took a masters in Conservation at University College London where an interest in ornithology developed. Subsequently she worked for various organisations including the Wildfowl Trust at Slimbridge, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers and the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group.

Jumping out of the rat race about 30 years ago she has devoted much of her time to gardening (watching the weeds grow) and language studies. She is the GNS County Recorder for lichens, and with her husband Paul Tyers is creating an online atlas of Gloucestershire lichens (see She is currently becoming enthusiastic about invertebrates.

Rarity excites her less than the commonplace. “All I ever wanted is to be a general naturalist, able to name the ordinary things I see.” She still has a long way to go.

Juliet took over from Mervyn Greening as Chairman of Gloucestershire Naturalists’ Society at the 2024 AGM.

Anna Ball

Andrew Bluett. “My interests beyond the world of work are connected to wildlife and the environment, I became interested in birds in particular from the age of about 5 years and have spent most of my life learning about their lifecycles. I became a member of GNS to extend my interests into other forms of wildlife and the natural world over time, then became a trustee and the Membership Secretary to fill a vacancy that was critical to keeping the society growing.
I am also a trustee of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the Stroud Cowle Museum (in the Park) Trust, a member of the Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group, Gloucestershire Ornithological Co-ordinating Committee and the BTO. I was formerly a trustee of the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust Company Ltd until it ceased to operate in March 2019.
I consider it a privilege to be involved with all of those bodies, which do invaluable work in recording, preserving and presenting wildlife, history and culture to the public at large.”

Ken Czervenka

Mike Daw has always been keenly interested in biology and natural history, spending many happy (even if cold and wet!) weekends working on reserves for the Surrey Nature Conservancy Corps in his later school years whilst also being Vice President of the local young naturalists society.

Mike pursued his interest by reading Natural Sciences at Gonville and Caius College at the University of Cambridge before pursuing a career in the commercial sector as Marketing Director and Managing Director for a number of leading consumer durable, dotcom and publishing brands. Along the way he gained an MBA from the University of Bath before moving into the not for profit sector around the turn of the millennium, initially as Commercial Director at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge and subsequently as Chief Executive of a medical research charity before becoming Chairman of a major grant-making trust in Bristol.

Mike used to consider his principal interest was as a birder but, having mixed in the circles of Slimbridge and now the Gloucestershire Naturalists’ Society, realises that he is in fact still a complete novice, although he’s been a member of the RSPB for over 40 years. He is now widowed and retired with two grown up children. He lives in Cheltenham with his daughter.

Mervyn Greening is a self confessed wildlife nut with a particular passion for orchids and birds. He’s been a GNS member since 1983.

Kate Kibble

Andy Lewis’s main interest is birds, but increasingly butterflies and trees as well. He was Chairman of the North Cotswold Ornithological Society until they joined forces with GNS, and still organises the Gloucestershire Winter Bird Survey inherited from NCOS. He volunteers with the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and for whatever surveys the British Trust for Ornithology dream up. He has given basic bird id courses for the Cotswold AONB’s Rural Skills programme, and also runs the Bourton University of the Third Age Nature group.

Ben Locke is based in the Forest of Dean and has a broad interest in all wildlife both in Britain and abroad, and is particularly passionate about Nightjars and related birds. Also on the committee of the Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group. Wildlife photographer, web/software developer and amateur artist.

Des Marshall has been a member of the GNS Committee for about 5 years and for most of that time has been responsible for organising field meetings. This is a slightly more challenging task than the persuasive words ‘It’s just getting a few people together for a walk’, with which the task was sold to him! GNS try to arrange meet-ups in all parts of the county, and cover as many species groups as possible. In the end one is dependent on the enormous good will and expertise within the Society. Our aim is to keep meetings free of charge and open to everybody.

Martin Matthews is a retired civil servant with a fascination for all kinds of insects and a broad interest in natural history; he holds a B.Sc. in Forestry and Forest Zoology from Bangor University; and is currently one of the GNS Diptera (fly) recorders (soldierflies and their allies) and GNS Mecoptera (scorpionflies) recorder.
Martin is also an amateur photographer, church pianist and family history researcher among other things.

Barrie Mills is a life long ornithologist and general naturalist. His career in engineering sales has taken him to a large number of countries throughout the world and has enabled him to gain an understanding of the environmental problems faced by many in their pursuit of better living standards. It has also afforded him the opportunity to see and record wildlife in many different habitats.
Barrie has volunteered for the RSPB for over 20 years and has been involved in survey work for the BTO for the last 15 years. He’s also happy to speak to local groups and organisations about his work.

Andy Oliver – “I grew up in the Suffolk countryside and have always been interested in natural history generally and especially birds. My first birding holiday was to Cambridgeshire with the YOC at nine years old.
We moved to Gloucestershire in 1997 and I joined both GWT and GNS.  My working life is as a Chartered Tax Advisor and so I became actively involved in GNS as treasurer in 2011.  My best Gloucestershire bird record is a vagrant Tengmalm’s Owl heard on an evening dog-walk in Bishops Cleeve in April 2007.  I should add that the record wasn’t accepted by the BBRC but then who would have ever thought a Blue Rock Thrush would spend a whole winter in a cul de sac in Stow-on-the-Wold?  That’s what makes our interest so fascinating, you never know what you’ll encounter next.”

Mike Smart joined GNS at the age of 11. “I have been interested in birds (especially water birds) and have remained a member of GNS ever since; after nine years in Tunisia and two in Iran, I went to work for nearly twenty years at Slimbridge with the International Waterbird Research Bureau (now Wetlands International), then for nearly ten years in Switzerland at the secretariat of the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Since returning to live in Gloucestershire around 2000, I was Chairman of the Society until 2019, emphasizing its recording and publishing role, and strengthening ties with the county Wildlife Trust. In recent years I have been particularly concerned with waders in the Severn and Avon Vales, especially Curlews, and am currently active with the Curlew Forum which aims to conserve Curlews nesting across lowland England.”

Alan Waterman – “I have lived in Gloucestershire for about 10 years, in the village of Clearwell near Coleford. Shortly after moving here from Norfolk we purchased a section of Ninewells wood which is in Wales just south of Trellech and only 6 miles from where we live. This along with photography has occupied much of my time. In Norfolk I ran a Field Study Centre, which I set up converting a big old pub and it catered largely for ‘A’ level students, I ran that for about 30 years so I am fairly knowledgeable on most aspects of ecology and wild life but a bit of a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’ probably my strongest field is botany/wild flowers.”

Julia Webb

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