Introducing Chris Cavalier, Site Manager for Langley Vale Wood
Site Manager for Langley Vale Wood Chris Cavalier started with the Woodland Trust in May 2021. Over the last six months Chris has spent time to embed himself in the ‘roots’ of the site and learn more about this special woodland creation site located in Epsom, Surrey.
Chris has had a diverse and interesting career working in horticulture, conservation, arboriculture and forestry to name a few…
“I was born in Suffolk in Bury St Edmunds and I was very lucky to have parents and a brother that enjoyed going to nature places and walks in the countryside. This early connection to nature started my journey into working in nature conservation years into the future.
Having spent my late teenage years volunteering for an environmental NGO in Belize, where I spent almost a year living and working in a secondary rainforest, trees and forests have and always will hold a very special place in my life.
My professional background has been a mixture of horticulture, environmental education, nature conservation, habitat management, visitor engagement, volunteer management, arboriculture and forestry. I have spent the last decade working in nature conservation with some truly incredible organisations.
I started out as a horticulturalist building wildlife gardens and community growing spaces in East London. I progressed into an assistant ranger position with the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and during this time I absolutely loved working with volunteers and diverse communities connecting people with nature. This led me to delivering a high-profile community inclusion project at Wild Place, Your Space with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, across East and North London. This taught me how important it is to understand different cultural perspectives on nature and also how important it is to build connections with nature for people from all walks of life.
Building on my experience of managing people projects, I moved into managing nationwide volunteering initiatives with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and later in 2016, I managed the innovative science education and volunteering programmes at the Natural History Museum.
In the end, despite having fulfilled a bucket list dream of working at The Natural History Museum, I realised that I missed having more direct contact with the practical side of nature conservation and wanted to work outdoors again. I refocused my career and re-trained into Arboriculture and Forestry with a focus on researching forest ecosystems and sustainable forestry management in the UK and Europe. I gained practical experience working with Bartletts Tree Experts as both an arborist and a pest and disease technician working on some incredible trees across London and in The Royal Parks and Estate.
I have packed a fair amount into a fun and versatile career so far and now I have the greatest pleasure of managing the largest of our four First World War Centenary Woods, Langley Vale Wood.”
Thank you for sharing your background with us, Chris – we look forward to working together at Langley Vale Wood!
Words by Chris Cavalier and volunteer development officer, Lucy Shea.