FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Our experienced teaching staff

Katy Boreham, Education Team Leader

Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Physical Geography

Doing a course in adventure instructing after I finished school, I discovered the abundant opportunities of the outdoor environment. I subsequently worked as an activities instructor at Dallam Outdoors in the South Lakes, before going on to increase my knowledge and understanding of the world by studying Physical Geography at Durham University.

I have worked at Blencathra since 2010. I spend my free time running on the fells, cycling mountain passes and climbing crags, enjoying the open and secluded atmosphere of the Lake District. One of my favourite fieldwork sites is the Glenderaterra valley, just half an hour’s walk from the centre where you can get that secluded feeling where the river, mountains and weather meet. At the Blencathra Centre we’ve combined these elements to produce our own energy with a micro hydro scheme on Roughten Ghyll.

Lizzie Chaplin-Brice, Centre Manager

Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Geography, QTS

I have long had a passion for the outdoors, stemming from family holidays spent in the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands. Gaining a BSc in Geography from Durham University, I spent the first years of my career teaching Geography in inner city London. Having taken many school field trips, I was led to consider a career teaching in the outdoors, and in 2008 I joined the Field Studies Council. Since then I have worked at both FSC Blencathra and FSC Scotland centres (Kindrogan and Millport) and in 2014 I received one of two Ordnance Survey Awards from the Royal Geographical Society for Excellence in Secondary Geography.

I particularly enjoy exploring Cumbria’s cultural and historical heritage whilst carrying out field studies in the varying settlements of Grasmere, Keswick and Carlisle. These settlements have unique characteristics to explore: whether that be Grasmere - the tourist honeypot centred around its most famous resident, William Wordsworth; Keswick - branded the ‘Adventure Capital UK’; or Carlisle - an important (and only) Cumbrian city located near the Scottish border.

Pippa Cowley, Tutor

Qualifications: MSc Glaciology, BSc (Hons) Environmental Earth Science

Growing up with active holidays in Wales, Scotland and the Lake District, and expeditions in inspiring landscapes abroad enhanced my love of the outdoors, so I decided to study Environmental Earth Science as an undergraduate followed by a Masters in Glaciology, both at Aberystwyth University. This led to me working as an instructor at Standon Bowers Outdoor Education Centre in Staffordshire County, before joining the FSC team at Blencathra in 2012. Here I have been able to combine outdoor pursuits with my academic interests in science and geography.

Luckily this area is a perfect glaciated landscape enabling me to teach one of my favourite topics at many field sites, even up to the top of Blencathra and Helvellyn mountains. A particular favourite glaciation site of mine is in the stunning valley of Borrowdale, this area is perfect for piecing together the geographical history of our landscape as well as collecting evidence of features, landforms and processes. Our latest fieldwork is combining current academic research with data collected by our students to enable them to carry out up-to-date and relevant investigations on glaciation, for instance till analysis in Mosedale.

Tim Foster, Head of Group North

Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Geography, MSc Planning, Post Graduate Cert Education, Fellow Royal Geographical Society

I have spent the last thirty years in teaching and management posts in secondary, further and higher education and prior to that worked in construction and the oil industry. Before entering education, I spent 5 years in Saudi Arabia as a planning analyst for the world’s largest oil production company- a marked contrast to the environmental educational role that I have today.

Blencathra is very much the mountain in the news – is it for sale? Did you see Blencathra in the Star Wars movie ‘The Force Awakens’? Do watch Terry Abraham’s ‘Life of a Mountain Blencathra’ which will be on the TV this year. As a geographer I am very fortunate to live and work on this iconic mountain so make sure you visit us.

James Margeson, Tutor

Qualifications: MESci (Hons) Geology

Inspired by my own A level fieldwork in the Lake District, I studied Geology at the University of Liverpool. Upon graduating I joined the tutor team at Lochranza Field Centre on the Isle of Arran, working on a range of academic fieldwork and outdoor activity courses. I began working for FSC Blencathra in September 2016.

I am passionate about earth science and the fantastic geodiversity of the Lake District. My favourite field site is probably Side Pike in Langdale - a truly stunning setting for one of the UK's best exposures of subaerial volcanic rocks, recording violent explosive pyroclastic flows.

Richard Peasland, Senior Tutor

Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Physical Geography

Childhood holidays in the UK kindled my interest in geography and natural sciences. I went on to study Physical Geography at Liverpool John Moores University. My love of fieldwork developed at university and led me to Pembrokeshire, Norfolk and Cumbria where I worked in field centres in some of the UK’s most beautiful landscapes. I have worked at Blencathra Centre since 2010 and love working and living in and around the Lake District.

Working in Cumbria allows me to see geography in action in this constantly changing landscape which was most apparent during the December 2015 floods. One of my favourite days of fieldwork that we deliver is our water cycle investigation in the River Greta catchment. This day combines my interest in GIS technology and inspiring students about up to date geographical issues.

Jenny Smalley, Placement Student

Qualifications: Studying BSc (Hons) Geography

I am at the Blencathra Centre on a 12 month placement as an Education Assistant as part of my 4 year degree. I chose to study Environmental Science at Newcastle University as I have always had a great consideration for nature, the way it works and how we can conserve it. I wanted to be at Blencathra as the North Lakes is a very special place to me spending many of my school holidays just outside Keswick on Bassenthwaite Lake. Working for the FSC allows me to be in the midst of the Lake District World Heritage Site we all know and love and has allowed me to appreciate this stunning place even more. I love that I am able to assist in educating school age children about the Lake District and its environmental value.

Grasmere is my favourite site we visit at Blencathra as I myself carried out my GCSE tourism fieldwork at the honey pot site. I know the village very well and the gingerbread is amazing. I enjoy the wildlife surrounding the centre as being able to see red squirrels running around whilst at work is something really quite magical. I like to spend my spare time exploring the National Park by going out running and attempting to go mountain biking.

Elizabeth Westwood, Placement Student

Qualifications: Studying BSc Geography

As part of my degree studying geography at the University of Southampton, I am working at the Blencathra centre for my industrial placement year. Whilst at University, I have taken the opportunity to undertake fieldwork in a number of locations, both within my degree and separate from it. These experiences have given me an appreciation for working and learning in the outdoors, and shown me the benefits that learning outside the classroom can bring. I find that being able to see what you are learning about provides a deeper understanding than learning from a textbook, and the FSC’s fieldwork days encompass this.

One of my favourite fieldwork days is the trip to Easedale where students walk through the village of Grasmere and up the glaciated valley to the Tarn. This allows students to see the features and processes that they learn about in the classroom and gives a clear indication of the scale of glaciation events.

Emma Wood, Tutor

Qualifications: MSc Biodiversity and Conservation, BA (Hons) Geography

As a scout in the Yorkshire Dales, I became passionate about exploring the natural world before studying geography at Oxford University. After volunteering with lots of conservation charities and the Forestry Commission, I then studied an ecology Masters at Leeds. My research into the link between biodiversity and psychological well-being cemented my love of being in wilder landscapes. I joined the FSC in 2018, and love being able to provide an outdoor education experience for many who don’t generally get to venture out of the city.

One of my favourite field sites is Brund Fell in Borrowdale where students carry out investigations into the water and carbon cycles with a spectacular view across the glaciated landscape around Rosthwaite. The stark contrast of the lush, diverse deciduous woodland compared to the harsh coniferous plantations and ‘sheep-wrecked’, open grassland highlights the need for a greater consideration of the natural world in the Lake District.