Interview with Karen Hartshorn: Fundraising, Communications & Marketing Director at the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Last half, I conducted an interview with the fundraising, communications & marketing director at BBOWT, who were recently selected to be the Eton Action Local charity for the coming year. The trust aims to ‘restore nature across these counties and empower people to connect with their local wildlife’.
What does the relationship between Eton and BBOWT look like?
‘It’s not just about fundraising, getting boys involved in conservation is important.’ Karen also highlighted the importance of ‘getting people to understand the crisis and language around it’. From Eton’s perspective, we are hoping that in some ways E@E will be able to mimic BBOWT, and BBOWT could aid our endeavours with their expertise.
Where will the funds from our partnership go?
‘We at BBOWT have 2 key goals,’ Karen told me, ‘First, the land and nature: we aim to have 30% of land well-managed by 2030, including our land and everything else in the counties. We can’t only have small pockets of biodiversity; we need to encourage businesses, landowners, gardens to increase biodiversity.’
‘Second, Team Wilder: This is about inspiring residents of our counties. They say if you get 1 in 4 people to take action, you have a movement. So, with 2 million people total across 3 counties, we need 500,000 people. Action does not just include improving land and species, but also writing to MPs and attending marches.’
What has been BBOWT’s biggest achievement?
‘Raising awareness about the issues with HS2 has been a big achievement for us.’ Karen also brought attention to how BBOWT has managed to drastically change perceptions about themselves from being leisure ‘naturalists’ to a legitimate ‘wildlife trust’. ‘Now we are starting to look at how we can manage everything better’ with a holistic approach that includes business. Karen also mentioned they contributed to a partial ban on neonicotinoids, a type of pesticide, which were very harmful to the local wildlife.
Why should we support local wildlife trusts instead of larger scale trusts?
‘Local trusts can battle climate change in the counties very well’, Karen explained. ‘We can still have an impact on loads of people, for example, during the national lockdown, people were able to see biodiversity in our counties’. ‘We have an impact on daily life, when global trusts might not be able to’.