What makes a Natural Hero?

Do you know someone who works in woodlands, orchards or a nature reserve who you think deserves recognition? We asked key figures and organisations what they think makes a Natural Hero, in the run up to the Octavia Hill awards. 


Each day this week, we’ll be looking in detail at one of the categories of the National Trust’s Octavia Hill Awards, in partnership with Countryfile Magazine, talking to organisations about what they think the judges should be looking for and, hopefully, inspiring you to celebrate our countryside’s unsung heroes by nominating your friends, colleagues and mentors.


Today, we asked key figures and organisations what they thought made a Natural Hero.

The judges say: “Woodland and nature reserves and orchards may have a Natural Hero, working for community spaces that matter to people and wildlife.”

David Bullock, Head of Nature Conservation at the National Trust, says: “Like so many things in life, it often comes down to a few people who keep things ticking over. It’s their drive and passion that means the orchard group has the funds to plant some new fruit trees and the trip by a local school to a community woodland or to the local National Trust property is organised. These natural heroes deserve to be recognised for their time and sense of optimism, for the barriers they overcome to help us all get that little bit closer to nature.”

Tom Flood CBE, BTCV’s Chief Executive, says: “A selfless and compassionate individual, a protector with a real passion for the natural world.”

Sophie Stafford, editor of BBC Wildlife Magazine, says: “Someone who empowers and enthuses others to get outdoors and get their hands dirty – not by telling them what to do, but by showing them how to do it, explaining why it’s worth doing and inspiring a sense of wonder.”

Dr Alistair Griffiths, The Eden Project’s Horticultural Science Curator, says: “An advocate who believes anything is possible, who creates new ways of doing things.”

Fergus Collins, editor of Countryfile Magazine, says: “People who give up their spare time to protect wildlife, enhance natural habitats and spread their love of nature to a wider audience deserve the highest praise. Without these often unsung heroes, we would have little countryside worth celebrating.”

Follow these links to find out more about Octavia Hill, the categories and to enter the awards.


Send us an email or comment on Twitter (#octaviahill) to tell us what you think makes a Growing Hero – we’d love to hear from you!