Natural Hero award 2013

This award recognises an exceptional individual who has devoted their energy and free time to protecting green spaces and inspiring the local community to do the same.

Learn more about the shortlisted entries from those that nominated them:
Please note: voting has now closed

    Winner: Mike Barrett

    Octavia Hill nominee Mike Barratt

    Mike Barrett, volunteers for the RSPB in Norfolk

    Mike’s of this world are hard to come by - he has an extraordinary passion and determination to improve nature. Always a gentleman, he enjoys teaching visitors and locals the wonders of the reserve and the environment.

    A World War II veteran, Mike is at the tender age of 89 still a very active volunteer. He joined the RSPB in 1965 to work with practical management. He started volunteering at Titchwell Marsh when the reserve was only a boggy marsh with no visitor facilities and he was a big asset in making the site more wildlife friendly and accessible to the public.

    He is still a full time volunteer, doing practical management, guided walks and greeting visitors. He inspires the local community and encourage them to participate at the reserve. Over the years we have tried to tire him out but to no avail.

    He is a true ambassador for local history, nature and wildlife, making him a true Nature Hero.

    Nominated by Pernille Egeberg

    Margaret Sweet

    Octavia Hill nominee Margaret Sweet

    Maggie Sweet has made a real commitment to making green space available to everyone in her local community in South Birmingham. Protecting the Fields Millennium Green from development, Maggie has involved the whole community in its management; planting orchards, creating natural play areas, laying ancient hedges, creating wildlife habitat, hazel coppices, wetland areas and delivering training and events. She also created a network of green walks through the city that she leads regularly, just as Octavia Hill did.

    Through National Trust’s Green Academies Project, Maggie has created opportunities for local young people to take conservation skills learned on our sites and use them on their doorstep. Her confidence in them and belief in the mutual benefits to the site and participants have allowed a new urban generation to reconnect with the natural environment, empowered to take interest and responsibility for the green space around them.

    Nominated by Dee Whittle

    Martin Woolner

    Octavia Hill nominee Martin Woolner

    Martin Woolner, based in Berkshire, is the ultimate Natural Hero.

    His endless enthusiasm, passionate inspiration, unswerving dedication and boundless energy to the cause of conservation are legendary.

    Never paid, Martin has selflessly volunteered in conservation for decades in a number of different guises and always with a smile and a witty sense of humour. His knowledge about local wildlife is amazing and his desire to communicate this to all ages in all ways is brilliant.

    From running a leaf litter safari, to restoring an ancient orchard; from helping to found the Ancient Tree forum to wading in mud constructing boardwalks, Martin is there and happy to roll his sleeves up.

    Martin's love for local green spaces and all that live in them is clear to see, totally infectious and will be a positive legacy for future generations. This is why I feel it would be wonderful to recognise his long standing contribution.

    Nominated by Marie-Anne Phillips