The conference speaker set is complete!

We’re beyond excited to announce that the speaker line-up for Rewilding – a solution for climate change conference is set!

Keynote speakers include rewilding advisors and advocates, conservationists and authors all bringing their own unique perspective on rewilding, how it can be a major influential natural solution in tackling climate change and restoring ecosystems, discussing how to do it.

Here’s a preview of who will be taking the stage at the Newcastle Gateshead Marriott Hotel on 5 June 2019.

Blue Planet Cameraman and Award-Winning Photographer, Doug Allan

Doug is one of the world’s best known and respected cameramen specialising in natural history, expeditions and science documentaries in some of the wildest and most remote places on our planet, particularly the polar zones. Over his career, he’s filmed for series like The Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, Ocean Giants, Operation Iceberg and Forces of Nature. Doug’s photographic awards include eight Emmy’s and five BAFTA’s.

Doug has twice won the underwater category in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, has three Honorary Doctorates in recognition of his camerawork, as well as two Polar Medals and Honorary Fellowships of the Royal Photographic Society and The Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Director of Rewilding Britain, Professor Alastair Driver (FCIEEM)

Cited in ‘Who’s Who’ for influence and distinction in the field of Environmental Conservation, Alastair is an expert country naturalist and ecologist.

Alastair is Director of Rewilding Britain, an Honorary Professor at University of Exeter, a trustee of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and an environmental advisor pro bono for several organisations including the National Trust and the Wild Trout Trust. He also advises governments and organisations around the world on conservation issues and leads wildlife studies on expeditions for the Scientific Exploration Society.

Author and co-owner of the Knepp Estate, Isabella Tree.

Isabella is an award-winning travel writer and author and lives on the famous Knepp Estate with conservationist Charlie Burrell.

Her book ‘Wilding’ tells the amazing story of their daring wildlife experiment: the rewilding of the 3.500-acre Knepp Estate. Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy Sussex clay was economically ruinous, they stepped back and let nature take over. By introducing free-roaming herbivores the Burrells’ degraded agricultural land has become a functioning ecosystem again.

In less than twenty years wildlife has rocketed and numerous endangered species have made Knepp their home. Soils have been restored and are sequestering carbon. The Knepp experience challenges conventional ideas about our past and present landscape, and points the way to a wilder, richer future—a countryside that benefits farming, nature and us all.

Conservationist, adventurer and motivational speaker, Sacha Dench.

Sacha has carried out many roles ranging from wildlife biologist to running a film and photography unit, a pollution detective, to Director of Public Relations for different organisations worldwide. Sacha’s speciality is communicating complex conservation issues in inspiring ways. Growing up in farming and fishing communities, Sacha has huge respect for all those at the forefront of the rewilding debate. She also knows first-hand what it means to publicly put your neck on the line for conservation.

Recently, Sacha has become known for the award-winning ‘Flight of the Swans’ expedition, in which she overcame a fear of flight to fly a paramotor (hanging from a piece of cloth by strings with a big fan on her back) 7,000 km from arctic Russia to the UK following the migration of wild swans.

Author: Lynx & Us. Dr David Hetherington.

David completed his doctorate in 2005 at the University of Aberdeen, which explored the feasibility of reintroducing the Eurasian lynx to Scotland, and in the process allowed him to build up a network of contacts across Europe. He then moved to the Cairngorms National Park, where he still lives and works on strategic woodland expansion and wildcat conservation, and sits on the board of Trees for Life, an award-winning charity that works to enhance the native woodland ecology of the Scottish Highlands.

He recently published a book with French wildlife photographer, Laurent Geslin, called ‘The Lynx and Us’, which examines the relationship between lynx and people across Europe, and discusses the implications of this for the UK.

Glacier Specialist and Researcher, Professor Chris Stokes.

Chris is a Professor in the Department of Geography at Durham University focusing his research on glaciers and their response to climate change; this ranges from monitoring small mountain glaciers over the last few decades to large-scale reconstructions of continental ice sheets over tens of thousands of years.

Chris has authored over 130 scientific papers, contributed to several edited books, and his work has been covered in both national and international media. He was awarded a prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize (in 2009) in recognition of his research contributions and has been awarded the British Society for Geomorphology’s Gordon Warwick Medal (2013) and Wiley Award (2008). Chris is a former President of the British Branch of the International Glaciological Society and currently sits on the international steering committee for a new interdisciplinary Arctic research network ‘PalaeoArc’ (Processes and Palaeo-environmental Changes in the Arctic: 2018-2024).

Mike Pratt, Chief Executive at Northumberland Wildlife Trust will be chairing the event.

Mike said: “The connection between climate change and the need for a wilder environment is obvious. Re-wilding will bring greater resilience and sustainability for species and habitats. This conference neatly brings these two agendas together and does so with a particularly erudite and impressive range of expert speakers.

“For all of us involved in nature conservation for decades we know that what we have always done, and we need to apply fearlessly, in a bigger, better, more joined up way over larger areas  to create nature recovery networks, from the city centre to the  uplands and in our seas.

“It’s a worrying time, but also an exciting one and one with the hope of a new generation of environmental campaigners who are helping to put nature on the political and social radar as never before and demand change happens.

“This conference will galvanise new partnerships and approaches, be a catalyst for lasting  change at scale in the next few years, where the North East becomes an exemplar of all that can be achieved  through a wilder approach to life that will impact on climate, wildlife and people’s lives, in a very positive way; it is about  visioning and realising the North East landscape we want to  be part of in the next decade and beyond.

“My thanks go to Climate Action North East for making this happen. This is just the start!”