FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

How We Are Run


The FSC is a registered charity in England and Wales, and in Scotland.  The Board of Trustees is the governing body, responsible for ensuring that FSC conducts its affairs in accordance with the Articles of Association and the law.

The Board and its principal committees operate to a schedule of quarterly meetings. Once policy and strategy have been agreed, responsibility for implementation lies with the Chief Executive and Management Team.


HRH The Prince of Wales 

Professor Timothy P Burt FAGU FRGS 

Professor Desmond B A Thompson FRSE FCIEEM

Chief Executive
Mark Castle OBE

Professor Steve Jones FRS
Joanna Mcvey
David Streeter MBE FRSB
Professor Iain Stewart MBE PRSGS FRSE 

Alastair Lavery OBE
Rob Lucas FRGS
Anthony D Thomas OBE

 Prof Timothy P Burt (President)

Tim Burt

Former Master of Hatfield College, Durham University.

Tim first visited an FSC Centre in the mid-1970s (Nettlecombe) when a PhD student at Bristol, helping to run a field course.  He then started taking his own field trips from Huddersfield Polytechnic  to Slapton and Rhyd-y-Creuau, as well as supervising placement students. At Oxford he continued to use Slapton and at Durham started taking students to Blencathra; this course is still running nearly 20 years later.

Tim became a FSC trustee in 1982, Chairman in 1996 and President in 2014. He comments: ‘I have learned a great deal from being involved with FSC as well as, hopefully, putting something back into the organisation’.

Tim’s academic interests are in physical geography, in particular hydrology, geomorphology and climate change. The very long nitrate record for the Slapton Wood catchment, unique for such a small basin, has been one focus of his research over nearly 40 years.  Tim was awarded the David Linton Award by the British Socienty for Geomorphology (2017), and edits Field Studies.

Prof Desmond Thompson (FSC Chairman)

Des ThompsonPrincipal Adviser on Science and Biodiversity with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

Des manages scientific, and advisory work on biodiversity and climate change in SNH, and led some of Britain’s upland nature conservation work for the government and its agencies.  Hailing from the Scottish Highlands, he graduated in biology at the University of West of Scotland, and took his PhD and DSc from the University of Nottingham.  

Becoming Chairman in 2014, having previously chaired the Finance and Administration Committee, Des is immensely proud of the superb outdoor learning opportunities available at FSC centres.  Visits to these special places have been real highlights for many people, who enthuse about their ambience, facilities and talented staff.  

With specialist interests in the uplands and bird ecology, Des has written and edited many books and papers.  A Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, he serves as chair or member of several international and national committees.  He is passionate about the importance of fieldwork, has co-supervised many research students, and enjoys hill walking, bird watching, landscape photography and rock climbing. 


Prof Rob Marrs (Vice-Chair, Education)

Professor Rob Marrs is from Falkirk and is an applied plant ecologist. He is now retired and is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Liverpool. This is coupled with a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship which keeps some of his research interests going. He is an enthusiastic advocate for field work, especially using properly-designed surveys and long-term experiments. His research interests include: restoration ecology and the conservation of heathland and moorland habitats and their interactions with weed species, especially bracken. During his career he has worked on ecosystems ranging from the sub-tundra to tropical forests and most things in between. He is a Chartered Ecologist and has many years of experience of working with conservation bodies. For almost 30 years he has taught field work skills to undergraduate and masters students, often using FSC sites. He supports Falkirk Football Club, and is used to disappointments.

Ms Jenifer White (Vice-Chair, Infrastructure and Estates)

Jenifer works for Historic England, the government’s advisory body on the historic environment, as National Landscape Adviser. She studied botany at University of Manchester, then a Masters in Landscape Ecology, Design and Maintenance at Wye College (University of London), and qualified as a chartered landscape architect. Jenifer offers expertise in countryside conservation and landscape protection, public access and heritage estates. In her current role, she is involved in the sustainability of historic urban public parks and green spaces, and the role of these sites in health and well-being, Green Infrastructure and climate change adaptation. Jenifer manages a small architecture and landscape management team, and coordinates landscape advice across the country. She also leads on an external communications project developing and promoting technical guidance and research publications. Jenifer joined the Board of Trustees in 2013. She is a member of the Environment and Sustainability Working Group and the Audit and Risk Management Committee.

Orielton holds special memories, as it was her A Level field course centre but she has also enjoyed courses at other centres. Jenifer is a fan of the FSC field guides, as you may spot on Twitter @JeniferJWhite.

Mr Peter Anderson (Chair of Audit and Risk Management Committee)

Peter Anderson became a trustee in 2016 and is also a trustee of FiSH Neighbourhood Care, a neighbourhood care charity operating in a part of South West London where Peter has lived for over 30 years. Peter is a lawyer by training and career, having been a corporate finance partner with what became a large London law firm for 29 years before retiring in 2015. Peter grew up in Northern Ireland and read History and Law at Downing College, Cambridge. He has been a trustee of a grant giving charity and a Director of a medium sized company in the retail sector. Peter is chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee.

Prof Tom Hutchinson (Chair of Education Strategy Committee)

Tom is Professor of Environment and Health at the University of Plymouth and has been a long-term supporter of the FSC. Growing up on a family farm in Yorkshire, Tom studied at King’s College London and the University of Plymouth before his 21-year career as a senior environmental scientist in AstraZeneca based in Sweden and the UK. His commitment to environmental education and research led Tom to senior roles at Plymouth Marine Laboratory and Defra’s Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas). He continues today as an advisor to international agencies, Defra and the UK Government Office for Science on matters relating to environment and health. Tom is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, the Linnean Society and the Royal Society of Biology. With two grown up sons, he is a keen sea kayaker and a qualified British Canoeing coach, volunteering with young people and adults. Tom is passionate about the wonderful outdoor learning opportunities available at FSC centres and beyond.​


Mr John Thomson (Chair of Finance and Administration Committee)

John ThomsonJohn’s love of the countryside and wildlife drew him irresistibly from degrees in history and economics and an early career in the Treasury to the world of conservation and outdoor recreation. 

Roles there included 5 years as Principal Finance and Establishment Officer at the Countryside Commission and almost 20 years as a Director in Scottish Natural Heritage.  Always keen to combine policy and practice, he has since retiring in 2011 remained active in the environmental and rural development fields through heavy involvement in a variety of voluntary bodies and by running with his wife a small herd of native Galloway cattle.  

Many years of observation have convinced him of the key role that childhood experience of nature plays in shaping people’s environmental attitudes and broader values.  It thus gives him great pleasure to contribute to the awareness-raising work of FSC, which he sees as crucial to a future both more sustainable and more fulfilling.


Mr Geoffrey Brown (Honorary Treasurer)

Geoff BrownGeoff spent his entire career with the Royal Dutch Shell Group, working both in the UK and abroad. He became an accountant whilst with Shell, gaining the ACCA qualification. Geoff ended his Shell career in the position of Global Finance Manager for one of Shell’s businesses.  All Geoff’s roles were financially based, with the exception of being Head of Commercial Recruitment for Shell International in London, in the mid 1990’s.

 Whilst in this role Geoff started sponsoring University Expeditions and came into contact with Professor Tim Burt, the FSC Chairman, then Chair of the Oxford University Expeditions Council. Geoff was subsequently asked to become the FSC Honorary Treasurer, taking up this post in 2003 shortly before his retirement from Shell.

Since retirement, Geoff has become a Magistrate.  He is passionate about the FSC’s financial performance and stability, and he has a keen eye for our environmental performance.



Mr Paul Airey
Mr Peter Anderson
Mr Geoff Brown
Dr Caroline Bucklow
Prof Timothy Burt
Mr Rob Cooke
Ms Amanda Craig
Prof Peter Higgins
Prof Tom Hutchinson
Dr Karen Kerr
Mr Chris Lane
Prof Rob Marrs
Ms Gill Miller
Ms Kim Somerville
Mr Jeff Sissons
Prof Des Thompson
Mr John Thomson
Ms Jenifer White
Dr Nicholas Howden