WWT Manager uses IOG Saltex Show
Founded in 1946 by the artist and naturalist Sir Peter Scott, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) is the largest international wetland conservation charity based in the UK. Its primary mission is to conserve wetlands and the bio diversity of wildfowl, fauna and flora these locations support. As part of this remit, the WWT undertakes extensive land management and wetland restoration activities across its nine locations in the UK and overseas.
These visitor centres cover over 2,000 hectares in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. Seven of the sites are designated as areas of Special Scientific Interest and five are assigned as Special Protection Areas. Over the years, the UK visitor centres have welcomed over 20 million people, providing a powerful introduction to the wonders of wetland birds and their habitats for children and adults alike.
For Phil Shepherd, General Grounds Manager at the Slimbridge visitor centre, the constantly changing priorities of his role represents a daily challenge. The headquarters of the WWT, Sir Peter Scott's vision became a reality at Slimbridge in 1946 when he realised how many thousands of wild geese depended on the shores of the Severn Estuary.
"I am responsible for 100 acres of managed landscaped grounds that include nature reserves, gardens, ponds and picnic areas for the public," explains Phil Shepherd. "A constant challenge is managing the conflict between preservation of the landscape and wildlife, while making the area safe and accessible for people of all ages who visit our centre here to learn about the wetlands and the wildfowl they support."
Phil Shepherd, together with a team of 12 wardens, is responsible for managing a wide range of activities at Slimbridge. This includes providing public access to the site as well as a variety of education programmes that enable visitors to learn about the bio diversity the location supports. In addition, he oversees an extensive ongoing programme of land management and restoration projects.
Phil Shepherd regularly attends IOG SALTEX, Europe's leading exhibition for the leisure, amenity, sports and landscaping industries (7-9 September 2004, Windsor). He finds it a rich source of industry knowledge and an ideal opportunity to get up to speed with both new land management techniques and the latest equipment available for land management professionals.
"Machinery is critical for many of the ground maintenance and management activities we undertake, and I find IOG SALTEX the ideal venue to undertake research on new or replacement equipment that is directly related to grounds care and land management."
The chance to view so many manufacturers in one location is another significant advantage, he says. Even better is the opportunity to view the equipment at work in the Demonstration Zones. "You gain a valuable opportunity to view the equipment close up and see it in action - something a catalogue simply can't convey," he explains.
In addition to reviewing the latest equipment, Phil Shepherd finds the exhibition offers other valuable opportunities.
"The show enables me to keep in touch with the latest developments in a multitude of areas and the seminars are often a valuable source of information," he says.
"In addition, the event provides a great opportunity for staff development - many of the less experienced wardens who accompany me get to see what the industry is about and find it a great way to gain access to the latest ideas in land management."
IOG SALTEX 2004 (7-9 September, Windsor Racecourse, Berks) embraces fine turf and sports, turf maintenance equipment, children's play and safety surfacing, commercial vehicles, leisure and facilities management and software as well as security equipment, and is aimed at everyone involved in open space management - from groundsmen and greenkeepers through to architects, designers and surveyors as well as local authority and leisure facility managers. Log onto www.iogsaltex.co.uk or call 020 8232 1600 for more information.