Natural Hero award

This category celebrates individuals working for community spaces that matter to people and wildlife - in woodlands, nature reserves or orchards.

Learn more about the shortlisted entries here - and the winner, Roger Parkinson.

    Winner: Roger Parkinson - Wakefield, West Yorkshire

    Roger Parkinson - shortlisted for the Natural Hero category in the Octavia Hill Awards

    Roger is something of a local hero. As well as an inspirational tree conservation leader, he volunteers as a speaker and field teacher - and he's a natural.

    Endlessly cheerful and deeply knowledgeable, Roger has helped over 60 individuals and community groups with their woodland creation projects – establishing native trees in local wasteland and urban parks, planting hedgerows and growing trees from seed.

    On a grander scale, he’s helped restore a 5-acre arboretum – with over 150 tree species. And for Haw Park Wood, Roger and his group grew over 500 native oaks from local seed. Now they’re tackling a 750-metre stretch of railway line!

    Roger loves to pass on his knowledge, and as a public speaker his passion for woods and trees is infectious. He also brings people in the community together, both young and old. He believes this work can change not only landscapes but also lives.

    Nominated by Rowena Grew, The Woodland Trust

    Runner up: Anna Townend - Greenwich, London

    Anna Townend - shortlisted for the Natural Hero Octavia Hill Award

    Anna's motto is 'think globally, act locally' and that's exactly what she's been doing in Greenwich for over 40 years. She firmly believes that cities need to make space for nature.

    As well as being active in many local environmental causes, in the last 30 years Anna has channelled her boundless energy into the management, conservation and protection of Greenwich Dwarf Orchard – turning a post-war derelict site into a wildlife garden, ecological reserve and education centre for local schools. She has fought tirelessly over the years for it to now be protected as Crown property, and safe from property development schemes.

    Anna is currently chairperson of Greenwich Environment Forum – campaigning for nature to be integrated into community awareness and borough planning procedures.

    Now 77, Anna is a ‘one woman band’ and a real doer – a woman after Octavia Hill’s own heart.

    Nominated by Angela Burr, Greenwich Older Voices

    Runner up: Peter Oakenfull - Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

    Peter Oakenfull - shortlisted for the Natural Hero Octavia Hill Award

    The Commons has a special place in Peter's heart - from playing here as a child to picnicking with his own children, and now as guardian of this urban-edge nature reserve.

    An early connection with nature led to work in horticulture and a single-minded campaign to turn this ‘wasteland’ into a rich haven for both wildlife and people.

    At first, Peter persuaded the Council to purchase the land. Then he formed the Commonswood Naturewatch volunteers, who still care for the reserve – planting trees and making charcoal, litter-picking and fighting development proposals.

    Peter is a fearless defender – dealing with fire-raising, dumping and serious pollution issues. And the reserve is special – with Hebridean sheep as traditional grazers, hedging planted for threatened yellowhammers and habitats for nightingales – which are singing again!

    Peter’s commitment has been recognised – he’s now warden of this litter-free, wildlife-rich open space on the very edge of town.

    Nominated by Helen Browett