Meet our staff - Fran Southgate

, 08 March 2022
Meet our staff - Fran Southgate

By Fran Southgate

Wilder Landscapes Advisor

I have been passionate about the natural world for as long as I can remember. Marooned in the suburbs of Suffolk as a young person, I am so grateful for the serendipities and opportunities which brought me to the role that I play now in helping to heal our world. I am the Wilder Landscapes Advisor for Sussex Wildlife Trust. It is a role with a broad scope which challenges me daily to bring the infinite connections of nature together with people at a small and a large landscape scale. It’s a challenge that I thrive on, and I find most joy in this role when I can visibly see the natural world responding to the nature restoration that we have advised or delivered on – and in return people responding to this natural abundance and with awe.

I have had the privilege to meet and learn from some incredible people throughout my career, for which I am very grateful. I also love mentoring others to be the best they can be in nature restoration. If I can teach someone who then becomes my teacher I am very content. The most amazing moment of my career so far was when I was able to take my newly-adopted son to see one of the first Beavers to live in Sussex in hundreds of years. Ten years ago I would never have believed that I could be a mother, or that I would be able to show him such a natural wonder, and I am incredibly grateful for the life journey which has allowed me to experience both. I believe in the necessity of what I do to ensure a healthy and thriving future for him, and for all. With climate change, now more than ever I am trying to push myself to be the best that I can be.

The next few decades are going to challenge us more than we can ever conceive. Already from this huge challenge I have witnessed more inspiration, innovation, coming together and proactive change for the better than I would have ever thought possible within the (conservation) world. It is incredible to be part of a movement which is championing wilding and nature-led restoration whilst acknowledging the shortcomings in our knowledge and the need to be explorative and curious about how we can help nature to thrive. We have so much to learn still, but being part of a passionate movement which has so much momentum is both enlivening and exhilarating. I truly hope that people can learn to live as part of nature again, rather than as its suppressor and its competitor.

Water Vole survey
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  • Suzanne Joinson:

    Hi Fran, I am reaching out from the Worthing’s Green Party. We are keen to hear from a rewilding expert – perhaps a short presentation or talk (v informal) at one of our meetings. Many residents complain about rewilding and it would be good to have some clear answers to their questions. Happy to chat? Warm
    Wishes, Suzy

    01 Jun 2022 14:07:00