Governance, Safeguarding & Inclusion Committee

The Governance, Safeguarding & Inclusion Committee are responsible for Board processes more broadly, Board development and succession planning, BTO organisational development, and strategic HR.

The Chair sits on the Board and is supported by two Board members. It meets annually in spring each year and other business is transacted by email or teleconference.

Chair - Dr Paul Fitzpatrick

Paul is an academic Research Chartered Psychologist dual qualified as an ‘Environmental Psychologist’: He focuses on (a), the mental health benefits of environmental contact, and (b), the significant issues of human impact on both non-urbanised areas and nature reserves/SSSIs.

He chaired his university Ethics, and Equality, committees and headed a research team responsible for Cultural Cohesion in relation to both the Home Office and Welsh Government.

Paul has worked, and published from, Antarctica for three separate periods. He is a voluntary warden with the RSPB and South West Lakes Ecology Team, and is a council member for Devon Birds where he is responsible for Partnership, Ethics, and Diversity.

Although recently retired, Paul remains an accredited academic for his university for ongoing research and supervision.

Emma Dresser

Emma is an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Loughborough University where she plays a central role in work to drive forward the university’s activity to identify and dismantle discriminatory practices.

This role also includes working to create an inclusive, fair and respectful culture in which all staff and students feel valued, are able to voice differing perspectives and realise their full potential.

She has possessed a strong interest and appreciation for birds and wildlife from a young age and relishes the opportunity to work with BTO to address the barriers to equity and diversity and support their ambitions in creating an inclusive environment.

She hopes to bring her professional experience and personal passion to expand access to the work of BTO to broader audiences, thereby providing access to the benefit of engaging with nature to individuals from all backgrounds. 

Emma Thornton

Emma is a student in her third year studying Biology at the University of Oxford. In her gap year she became involved with BTO as a novice birder.

She has grown in confidence through BTO training courses and participating in Garden BirdWatch. She has been part of BTO’s Youth Advisory Panel since its formation at the start of 2020 and became inspired to set up and lead a new society at university – Oxford Ornithological Student Society.

She enjoys engaging in the avian parts of her course, in particular spotting BTO data in lectures and referencing it in her own work. She recently enjoyed an Avian Behaviour and Ecology field course to Copeland Bird Observatory.

Emma is passionate about creating opportunities for young people to connect with nature and science, particularly around improving mental health. She is excited to bring a young person’s perspective to the Committee.

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