Who is in the Advisory Group?

The Advisory Group for the People's Assembly for Nature consists of Academic Leads and other Advisory Group members. Scroll to find out who they are.

Academic Leads

The Academic Leads for Nature, Climate and Food Systems were chosen as expert, highly qualified, well-respected and independent scientific researchers with deep knowledge and understanding of each of the topic areas, along with their ability to make science accessible to the public. 


Professor Nathalie Seddon

Professor of Biodiversity, University of Oxford

Professor Nathalie Seddon

Nathalie Seddon is Professor of Biodiversity and Founding Director of the Nature-based Solutions Initiative in the Department of Biology at the University of Oxford. She is also Director of the Agile Initiative and co-lead of the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery. She trained as an ecologist at Cambridge University and has over 25 years of research experience in a range of ecosystems across the globe. As a University Research Fellow of the Royal Society, she developed broad research interests in understanding the origins and maintenance of biodiversity and its relationship with global change.

Her work now focuses on determining the ecological and socioeconomic effectiveness of nature-based solutions to societal challenges, and how to increase the influence of robust biodiversity science on the design and implementation of climate and development policy. Nathalie advises governments, UN agencies, and businesses on nature-based solutions, as a member of the Adaptation Committee of the UK Climate Change Change Committee, the Science Advisory Board of RBG Kew and the Science & Knowledge Committee of the IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions. 

Learn more about Professor Nathalie Seddon

Professor Pete Smith

Professor of Soils and Global Change, University of Aberdeen

Professor Pete Smith

Pete Smith is Professor of Soils and Global Change at the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland, UK) and Science Director of the Scottish Climate Change Centre of Expertise (ClimateXChange). His interests include climate change mitigation, soils, agriculture, food systems, ecosystem services modelling and nature-based solutions. 

He has been a convening lead author on many reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). 

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, a Fellow of the Institute of Soil Scientists, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, a Fellow of the European Science Academy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society (London). 

Learn more about Professor Pete Smith

Other members of the Advisory Group

Additional Advisory Group members were chosen for their knowledge and experience on a range of topics relevant to the People’s Assembly for Nature, including the food industry, farming, nature conservation, health, participation, diversity and equity, community engagement and national governments across the four nations.  



Tom Chigbo

Community Engagement and Participation Manager, TPXimpact (formerly FutureGov)

Tom Chigbo


Tom is an experienced community organiser and campaigner who is passionate about the potential of citizens to shape their communities and public services. 

For over a decade, he has worked with local authorities, NHS bodies, police forces, faith, education and community groups around the UK to bring ordinary people into decision-making and delivery of change through community organising and deliberative democracy tools. 

He is a skilled trainer and confident facilitator who has equipped hundreds of people of all ages, faiths and backgrounds to take meaningful social action, while simultaneously building and sustaining long term community organising alliances who work together for social justice and the common good.

Russell De’ath

Senior Specialist Advisor, Natural Resources Wales

Russell De'Ath

Originally a graduate of Town Planning with a thesis on public participation, Russell has worked in the environment sector for 20 years, more recently supporting the implementation of the new legislation on the Well-being of Future Generations in Wales. Now working on the Nature and Us programme for NRW, Russell has returned full circle – looking to put public participation at the heart of the response to the nature and climate emergencies. 

Anurag Deb

PhD researcher, Queen's University Belfast

Anurag Deb
Anurag is a paralegal and PhD student researching constitutional law at Queen's University Belfast. Between August 2020 and March 2022, he worked on the drafting of the Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) 2022. What began as an ambitious civic society initiative resulted in one of the most wide-ranging laws ever passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly. 

Dr Miranda Geelhoed

Policy and Project Development Coordinator, Scottish Crofting Federation 


Nick Halfhide

Director of Nature and Climate Change, Nature Scot

Nick Halfhide

Nick leads NatureScot's drive to reverse the current decline in nature and work with nature to tackle climate change. He is working to protect 30% of Scotland’s land and sea by 2030, restore habitats and species across Scotland and increase the way society values nature and all the benefits it supplies. 

He has 30 years' experience of working with nature in Scotland.  As well as working for NatureScot for over a decade, he has held posts in the Cairngorms National Park Authority, the Deer Commission for Scotland, and South of Scotland Enterprise. 

Sarah Hendry

Director General, Country Land and Business Association (CLA) 

Sarah Hendry is responsible for the strategic direction, organisation and smooth running of the CLA. 

Before joining the CLA in 2018, she spent nearly 30 years as a UK government official working across national, EU and international policy. A senior Director in Defra and the Department of Health for twelve years, her experience covers a wide range of areas relevant to CLA members’ interests, including farming, environment, rural development, climate change, forestry, water and floods. 

Learn more about Sarah Hendry

Tony Juniper

Chair, Natural England 

Tony Juniper CBE is a campaigner, writer, sustainability adviser and a well-known British environmentalist. For more than 35 years he has worked for change toward a more sustainable society at local, national and international levels.  

Today Tony Juniper is the Chair of Natural England, the statutory body that works for the conservation and restoration of the natural environment in England. Before joining Natural England in April 2019he was Executive Director for Advocacy and Campaigns for WWF-UK,  joining the organisation in January 2018 following a period working in a variety of roles and capacities, including as a Special Adviser to the Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit, having previously worked (2008-2010) as a Special Advisor with the Prince’s Rainforests Project. He was (and remains) a Fellow with the  University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), working as a member of the teaching faculty and contributing to several programmes including The Prince Of Wales's Business and Sustainability Programme. He was also a founder of Robertsbridge, which provides advice to major companies on how best to meet ambitious sustainability goals. 

Aekus Kamboj (She/Her)

Environmental Officer, Ethnic-Minority Environmental Network (EMEN)

Aekus Kamboj

Aekus is the Environmental Officer at CEMVO Scotland (National intermediary anti-racism organisation) where she facilitates the Ethnic-Minority Environmental Network (EMEN). She provides capacity building support to the network members undertaking climate action, supports the Scottish Government in their endeavour to make the green sector an inclusive space for ethnic-minority individuals, works on policy influencing and organises community engagement activities to collectively work towards the shared goals of climate justice. 

Aekus has an academic background in Social Ecology from the University of Glasgow and has been passionately involved in ecological research and debates since 2017 with a particular focus on marine ecosystem restoration strategies. Aekus also has a keen interest in the global environmental refugee crisis and has carried out research on the affects of climate change on the Rohingya refugee crisis with the Ministry of External Affairs of India. During COP26, Aekus worked with the UNFCCC staff in the press conference rooms and provided special projects’ support to the UN meeting rooms. 

Learn more about Ethnic-Minority Environmental Network

Dr Becca Lovell

Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter Medical School

Dr Becca Lovell

Dr Becca Lovell is based at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, WHO Collaborating Centre on Natural Environments and Health at the University of Exeter Medical School. Becca focuses on evaluating, synthesising and translating evidence of the links between nature and health for policy and practice. She is interested in the multiple roles of the natural environment in determining equitable population health; ‘what works’ in nature based-health interventions and the delivery of nature-based solutions; and how better understandings of the ways in which we as individuals and communities value natural environments could inform decision making and ways of working.

Learn more about Dr Becca Lovell

Thomasina Miers

Co-Founder, Wahaca

Thomasina Miers


Cook, writer and winner of MasterChef, Tommi co-founded Wahaca restaurants, winner of numerous awards for its food and sustainability credentials. Tommi’s passion lies in food, soil and the environment.  She is a trustee of Chefs in Schools, a charity transforming how kids eat and feel about food and was awarded an OBE in 2019.   

Tommi has a weekly column in the Guardian’s Feast magazine and her latest cookbook, Meat Free Mexican came out in May 2022.  She regularly visits Mexico and can be founding cooking feasts and supper clubs in kitchens around the UK.  She shops at her local market and grows fruit and vegetables in her garden and lives by her maxim that three times a day we get to look after the planet through what we eat and how it is grown – hopefully cooked in as delicious a way as possible! 

Learn more about Thomasina Miers

Ali Morse

Water Policy Manager, the Wildlife Trusts

Ali Morse

Ali has worked in the conservation sector throughout her career, with a focus on freshwater. As Water Policy Manager at The Wildlife Trusts, she works at a national level on all aspects of water policy, from pollution to flooding to species conservation. She also chairs Blueprint for Water, a coalition of 20+ environmental NGOs that work collectively to call for better protections for the water environment. 

Nadeem Perera

Co-Founder, Flock Together

Nadeem Perera

Nadeem Perera is co-founder of Flock Together, a wildlife TV presenter and researcher. Nadeem advocates for diversity of perspectives in the conversations surrounding wildlife and social/climate activism in his work which includes inspiring future generations. 

Learn more about Flock together

Hedd Pugh

Rural Affairs Board Chairman, National Farmers' Union (NFU) Cymru

Hedd is chair of the NFU Cymru Rural Affairs Board. He farms 800ha with his two sons. This includes approximately 610ha of mountains in the Snowdonia National Park including Aran Fawddwy which rises above 2,900ft.

Hedd runs a flock of 1,600 ewes which are predominantly Welsh Mountain together with a herd of 40 suckler cows. He has participated in agri-environment schemes for 25 years and during that time has planted over 2,000 trees of native species; completed over 7,000m of hedgerow restoration; established 1,900m of streamside corridors; 250m restoration of dry-stone walls; 15ha stock excluded woodland; with 560ha enclosed mountain under active management for habitat improvement.

He is a keen participant in agri-environment schemes and said: "We farm in a stunning location. The Welsh landscape that we see and enjoy today – and which supports a diverse range of habitats and species – has been created, shaped and is maintained by farming activity over hundreds of years.

"It is very much a managed landscape and we recognise as farmers the wide range of public goods we provide. This not only includes high quality food but also wider benefits for biodiversity, carbon storage, clean water and energy generation."

Learn more about Hedd Pugh

Chloe Saltmarsh

FLAME - the youth branch of Land Workers' Alliance

Learn more about FLAME

John Watkins

CEO, National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs)

John Watkins

John has a long career in the landscape and wider environment sector. He joined the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty as their Chief Executive in July 2021 from the Welsh Government where he was Head of Policy for Future Economy. Here he led the production of the Wales Economic Reconstruction Mission, the plan to recover from the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic.  As a past head of landscape and outdoor recreation at the Welsh Government he established Future Landscapes Wales as a collaborative programme based on shared learning which developed the thinking and consensus on a comprehensive and contemporary take on how landscapes are recognised and managed. This culminated in Valued and Resilient: the policy document which lays the foundation for the designated landscapes in Wales. John lives in North Wales in the Anglesey AONB/AHNE Ynys Môn. 

Learn more about John Watkins

Dr Meriweather Wilson

Co-Director Ocean Leaders, University of Edinburgh

Dr Meriweather Wilson

Meriwether Wilson is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Marine Science and Policy at the University of Edinburgh. Her research, teaching and leadership focus on the science-policy-society intersections of marine ecosystems. Her particular focus is on biodiversity, ocean governance, blue economy and climate adaptation for island nations spanning local to global scales, and communities. Meriwether founded the university’s interdisciplinary first MSc in Marine Systems and Policies, and more recently the Edinburgh Ocean Leaders Programme.

Before joining the University of Edinburgh, Meriwether spent two decades working on marine protected areas and sustainable development, at the World Bank and other international organisations, across diverse scales, cultures and economies, projects throughout Asia, the Pacific, Caribbean, Europe and Middle East.  Meriwether has degrees from Duke University, Yale University and University of Washington, and is a long-standing member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. 

Learn more about Dr Meriweather Wilson



Learn more about the People's Assembly for Nature