Head of Wildlife Trust set to retire

Friday 15th December 2017

John BennettJohn Bennett

The Chief Executive of Kent Wildlife Trust, John Bennett, has announced his retirement during the Trust’s 60th Anniversary year in July 2018, after 20 years of service.

Kent Wildlife Trust is a registered charity and the leading conservation organisation covering the whole of Kent and Medway, dedicated to protecting wildlife and wild habitats for everyone to enjoy.

Medway-born, John has been instrumental in developing the organisation into one of the UK’s best supported regional wildlife charities, managing over 60 strategically important nature reserves. 

Successes under John’s 20-year tenure are numerous and varied, but key achievements include:  

  • A 200% increase in membership – currently 31,000
  • A significant increase in landholdings from 4,000 acres to over 8,000 acres
  • Building a strong focus on marine conservation work and marine policy in the area
  • Establishing strong relationships with the farming community
    Effective campaign leadership to oppose inappropriate and harmful developments and lobbying Government to raise the profile of key conservation issues
  • Building good relationships with the Heritage Lottery Fund to help secure vital funds for major conservation projects such as the Blean Woodland Complex and Romney Marsh (‘Fifth Continent’) - and one of the most successful of the 47 Wildlife Trusts in securing support - circa £6.5M

Chairman, Mike Bax, said: “Thanks to John’s astute and visionary leadership, the Trust has become the force in wildlife conservation that it is today despite the huge pressures from development that the county faces. We are indebted to him for his role in preserving Kent’s biodiversity in the Garden of England.”

John said: “I have been immensely privileged and proud to have played a leading role in the welfare of wildlife in this wonderful county. I have been supported by the many caring members - and friends - who give the Trust its special warmth, and by dedicated Trustees, through sometimes challenging times; never more challenging than now as the pressure on our natural systems increase. But our proven track record and our ambitious strategic vision speaks volumes and I am proud that the Trust has built a uniquely skilled and hugely committed staff team, supported by a large, staunch and equally driven body of volunteers, all well equipped to address the many pressures our wild spaces face.”

Interviews for John Bennett’s successor will take place in February for an appointment by the end of July.