Sep 02 2021

Woodland Trust Northern Ireland Grows Team

Over the past 9 months the Woodland Trust Northern Ireland has welcomed 8 new team members to help us achieve our aims of protecting, restoring and creating woodland across the country.


Meet the new team members:



Paul Armstrong joined the Woodland Trust Northern Ireland in January 2021 as Public Affairs Manager. He brings over ten years of experience of working with local communities and public policy from his time spent working in the social housing sector and more recently at the National Trust. He is a strong advocate for community engagement, and he is a voluntary board member for the charity Supporting Communities.


Paul is responsible for the trust’s policy and advocacy work in Northern Ireland. This involves managing relationships with government, statutory agencies, and key political audiences to advocate and campaign for changes in legislation, policies, strategies, and plans which will support the creation, protection and restoration of trees and woods in Northern Ireland.


Paul is married to Jayne, and they have two young children. When he is not spending time with his young family he likes to unwind by gardening or spending time outdoors walking or on his bike.






Jo Boylan has been working in the conservation sector for over 15 years and currently works as a Woodland Officer for the Woodland Trust Northern Ireland. Her role is to work with local communities, landowners, farmers, and other organizations to advise on woodland creation, woodland restoration and how to access funding.


Between 2012 and 2021, Jo worked for the Belfast Hills Partnership on a variety of projects the most recent being Belfast Hills Woodland Project. Previously, delivering a 5-year Landscape Partnership Scheme and subsequent 4-year Our Bright Future Project.


These were large portfolio projects that conserved habitats at landscape scale and promoted joined up management for land, biodiversity, heritage, and culture. Between 2007 and 2012 she worked as a Community and Volunteer Manager for Lagan Valley Regional Park, delivering their LPS project. Jo has a passion for connecting communities to their landscape.  







Denise Murphy joined the Woodland Trust Northern Ireland in April 2021 as Project Manager for the Faughan Valley – from fragments to thriving forests project. She took over the reins from Dave Scott and will be working alongside Bronagh Gallagher to deliver the project outcomes which include restoring and protecting ancient woods within the Faughan Valley; improving the visitor experience in the valley by linking up and creating new walking trails for visitors to explore; supporting schools and communities to create woodland in their grounds as well as creating spaces for outdoor learning and last, but definitely not least, encouraging volunteers to get involved in a wide range of conservation activities.


Prior to joining the Woodland Trust, Denise worked in the Planning Team at Causeway Coast and Glens. She has also worked within the Visitor Experience Team at the National Trust at Downhill Demesne. Prior to that she spent many years working within the renewables sector developing and building large scale wind and solar energy projects throughout Ireland. 


Denise has a lifelong interest in the environment and spends as much of her free time as possible outdoors in the countryside or at the coast.  She also does a wee bit of volunteering myself litter picking in her hometown of Portrush (a never-ending task!)”






Hey, I’m Robert Watson the new Volunteer and Outreach Officer for the Faughan Valley team. My background before working
for the Woodland Trust was in Youth Work. I’ve always been big into getting people engaged with the outdoors so this feels like
I’m in the right place haha.

Outside of work life I’m a collector of hobbies. You name it and I’ve probably given it a go. I’m a baker, crafter, dog-parent,
houseplant enthusiast, (very) amateur gymnast, I co-run a Eurovision fansite YouTube channel and I’ve recently signed up for a
pottery course, so we’ll see how that goes.











Clare Jones joined the Trust in January as Glas-na-Bradan & Belfast Hills Project Manager.  From a young age Clare has had a love of the outdoors, exploring the N.Ireland countryside with family & friends on foot, by bike and on horseback.  She has always been passionate about trees, gathering and planting out seeds and plants, initially with her parents and now with her own children.


Clare has worked in the field of outdoor recreation for over 20 years delivering an array of strategic and local projects for a range of users throughout Ireland.  This includes the development of hundreds of kilometers of walk trails, mountain bike trails, horse riding, canoeing and multi-use trails on both public and private land.   Clare was also responsible for preparing a range of strategic documents and plans including Feasibility Studies, Site Masterplans, Trail Standards for Northern Ireland (2012), Trail Construction Prescriptions (trail design) and Site Management Plans.  For most of this time Clare worked for Outdoor Recreation NI where she was Head of Projects.  Clare left this role in 2018 to focus on the development of the family construction business and to spend more time with her young family. 

The job of Project Manager at Glas-na-Bradan combines both her personal interests and project management experience.







Hello! My name is Laura Hopkins and I’m the new Community Development Officer for the Greater Belfast area. I will primarily be
working with staff and volunteers at Glas-na-Bradan Wood, though you may see me on other nearby sites too!

I have a degree in environmental science, and I’m currently completing a masters degree in Environmental Management.
I have worked with volunteers in conservation charities as well as animal welfare charities and can’t wait to meet our dedicated
team of volunteers to create some new native woodlands.







Hi I’m Ellie Green, I started working as Site Manager for the Trust in October 2021. In my role I look after 16 sites throughout Northern Ireland including Carnmoney Hill, Glasswater Wood and Prehen Wood.

Before moving over to Northern Ireland, I worked for the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust as a Reserves Officer for 5 years. I spend most of my spare time out and about with my dog, Bee, or playing netball for Bangor Netball Club.








Hello, I’m Matthew Blair, I joined the Woodland Trust in January 2022 as an Operations Administrator, supporting the NI Team and managing the Office in the Clandeboye Estate. Having graduated with a degree in Business Management from Queen’s University Belfast in July 2021, I worked as an IT Recruitment Consultant in the US Market for a while before taking up the post at the Woodland Trust (quite the change wouldn’t you say?).

I love the outdoors and going for a good walk. Whether it be the Mournes, Cavehill or along the Marina in my local town of Carrickfergus. I am a member of a local church and play the piano, drums and guitar (not at the same time) in the band. I am excited to work with the Woodland Trust, supporting the team and planting trees across Northern Ireland in a way that brings about a positive difference.

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