Our Board of Trustees

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Karen Woolley, Chairman

Originally a member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) working mainly in submarine communications, I moved to Oxfordshire in 1988, and have since played an active role within the community, primarily in education, local government and the environment. I spent 8 years as a School Governor, 12 years as Parish Councillor, and helped establish a number of different community organisations, including the Woodcote Conservation Group.

I have worked in the Charity Sector for over 20 years, including 6 years for the environmental charity BTCV. For the past 16 years, I have been a Charity consultant, providing advice and support for income generation and strategic development. I used to fence for Wales and the WRNS, but have now replaced that hobby with a passion for fly fishing.

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Jake Piper

My academic training covered international development, forestry and land management, then after some years in environmental consultancy I completed a PhD in environmental policy. Whilst working at Oxford Brookes University  (for 15+ years) I have taught on courses concerned with environmental assessment and policy.

I have been involved with other European researchers on projects concerned with climate change and its impacts on biodiversity, and I continue to act for the European Commission as an expert assessor for the European Green Capital Award.   In  2010 I published Spatial Planning and Climate Change with my colleague Elizabeth Wilson.  I am also co-editor of a journal dealing with sustainable urban development.

My other voluntary work includes being vice chair of governors for an Oxfordshire school.

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Liesl Elder

Director of Development, the University of Oxford, Liesl Elder has been working in educational fundraising since 1993, and has held roles in both the United States and the UK. She has expertise in annual funds, major gifts, campaign management, alumni relations, marketing, public relations and corporate events.

In 2011, she joined the team at the University of Oxford to lead the Oxford Thinking Campaign into the future. The Campaign has achieved over £1.8bn to date and is the largest educational campaign in Europe.

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Cllr. David Nimmo Smith

I am a Chartered Civil and Structural Engineer, and have worked for over 40 years on all forms of construction projects in the UK and overseas. I am a member of Henley Town Council, and have been heavily involved with local clubs, societies and charities for many years. I am the South Oxfordshire District Council Cabinet Member for Development and Regeneration.  I am a former member of Oxfordshire County Council (Cabinet Member for Environment).

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Dominic Lamb

I have worked in nature conservation as a volunteer and professional since 1993. I have worked for the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.  For the last 10 years as Countryside Officer for South Oxfordshire District Council and more recently also with the Vale of White Horse. I chair the Oxfordshire Biodiversity Action Plan Steering Group. In my spare time I also run the local conservation group in Letcombe Regis.


Anita Prosser

I was born and educated in the UK having spent my early years in West Africa. Following a degree in Botany and Zoology I worked in education and as a researcher for a wildlife film company

For over 30 years I worked for BTCV initially setting up training schemes for the unemployed and then moving on to establish BTCV International and activities. Working in over 32 countries throughout the world, and running organisational training programmes in central and Eastern Europe, Japan and Africa, and helping to establish National Conservation Volunteer organisations and volunteering activity. Recently I focused on European funding including transnational work, influencing EU Volunteering policy and recently on the new EU growth funds.

Alongside this in a voluntary capacity I am a board member of a number of European and local organisations and chair the European funding network on behalf of NCVO

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Helen Sandhu

Bio to follow...

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David Gwillim

I have recently moved to Woodcote with my family. I am a practising solicitor advocate and Partner with Pitmans LLP, which I joined in 2013 after over 30 years in the City. I work with the construction sector and have a particular interest in sustainability and the way in which the built environment impacts on our rural environment.


Sarah Parker

I am a researcher at the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, looking at the UK energy system with a focus on community energy, behaviour change and public engagement with sustainability issues. I am delighted to be a Trustee and Director of TOE and use my experience and expertise to further the Trust's mission. When not supporting local sustainability initiatives I love to cook and garden

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Toni Robinson

After completing a degree in Environmental Science I worked in countryside management for a short time before deciding on a career in waste management. I now have over 25 years’ experience in this industry with much of this time spent managing landfill sites. In recent years my role at Grundon has broaden and I am presently Head of Compliance with my main focus being related to the environmental and health and safety aspects of the business. I live close to Wantage and in my spare time I enjoy exploring the Oxfordshire countryside with my daughter.

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Cllr. Yvonne Constance

A barrister by profession, Yvonne has served on the Board of St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, and on GLMCA to re-organise London's Magistrates' Courts, as well as national chairman of ECCG (representing electricity consumers) during de-regulation of the industry. Experience on the boards of RWE npower and Network Rail followed, so she has wide experience of large organisations and structural change.  She is also District Councillor for the Vale of White Horse, Ridgeway Ward.

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Russel Matthews

I have spent my whole career working on integrated land use and management with particular reference to forestry, landscape, and arboriculture.  I have worked for Local Government in Norfolk, in education and as a partner and director of environmental and engineering consultancy firms.  I am a Chartered Forester, a retired Chartered Landscape Architect and was formerly a trustee of the Earth Trust.  I have run my own small consultancy firm since the turn of the century. I have worked throughout the UK and in Australia, the Far East, the Middle East, North America & the Caribbean.

Major projects I have worked on include the transfer of New Town landscape assets; management plan preparation and the restoration of parks and open spaces within the UK and the United States; the ecological work associated with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link; four new woodlands (total area 1000 hectares) for the Will Trust and the London Tree Survey.  I was also Environment, Consultation and Consents Manager for the upgrade of the West Coast Mainline Railway.