Dr Rob Stoneman, one of the founders and co-chair of the IUCN UK Peatland Programme, was awarded the presitigious The Christopher Cadbury Medal at The Wildlife Trusts’ Annual General Meeting on 23rd November 2023. The award is given to a member of a Wildlife Trust who has shown dedication to the advancement of nature conservation within the British Isles.
Rob, director of landscape recovery at The Wildlife Trusts, is one of the country's top nature recovery experts and, for over 30 years, has led major rewildling schemes across the UK and Europe including setting up the IUCN UK Peatland Programme.
According to the Wildlife Trusts' press release, Rob’s career has had a few ups and downs. The first time he advised a group on peat bog restoration he suggested they used marine ply to block ditches on the remote Flanders Moss in Scotland. The team were piling the boards into the peat using a heavy mallet. Rob offered a go, swung the mallet behind his head, only to end up flat on his back in the bog with the mallet a long way from where it was meant to be. Fortunately, only his clothes – and his pride – suffered.
Rob said, “It’s an honour and a privilege to be given an award for doing something I love. My life and my career have revolved around nature, and I find great joy in helping to create a wilder future. There are so many incredible stories over the years, from bison and beavers to helping Wildlife Trusts transform disused areas of land into humming havens for wildlife. Yet in some respects, it’s bittersweet. For all the great projects I’ve been involved in, there have been more challenges placed upon wildlife in my lifetime than perhaps at any other moment in human history. I’m an optimist and believe we can reverse wildlife declines, but we need to pull out all the stops to make that dream a reality. Nature is brilliant at adapting to change, but we must also give it a helping hand.”