Change starts with people. We've got a small, agile team, a supportive and active board of trustees and a knowledgeable and influential advisory board.

Alice Weston

Finance Officer

Alice began her career in the financial sector, working for University of Oxford and Thames Valley Police. She decided to change direction and spent over 10 years working as a horticulturalist, and 2 years as a tutor for the BMC’s course in Regenerative Horticulture. She has now turned full circle and is the Finance Officer for the BMC while still maintaining a passion for horticulture and the natural world.

Amy Binnell

Further Education Coordinator

Amy coordinates the FE tutor team to ensure that there is consistency across BMCs delivery centres. She has over fifteen years’ experience of teaching, community development work and coordinating educational projects. She believes in empowering people to gain access to educational opportunities and using outdoor learning as a space for students to develop their skills, knowledge and experience.

Ben Rawlence Portrait

Ben Rawlence

Chief Executive

BMC co-founder and CEO. Ben is an award-winning writer, activist, and former speech writer to Sir Menzies Campbell and Charles Kennedy. B. He was a researcher for Human Rights Watch’s Africa division, worked for the Social Science Research Council in the USA, the Liberal Democrats in the UK and the Civic United Front in Tanzania.

Read more about Ben’s latest book, ‘The Treeline’, and order your copy here.

Christianne Wakeham

Chief Operating Officer and HE Admissions Tutor

Christianne led the foundation year in science and was a Lecturer on the Biomedical Science programme at the University of Worcester, as well as an admissions tutor for first year students. She will be delivering some of the science elements within our Degree, and keeping a close eye on student well-being as well as overseeing both Higher and Further Education operations.

Deborah Lloyd

Office Administrator

After graduating with an art degree, Deborah has worked in education for almost 14 years, in both a creative and administrative capacity. During her 11 years working in a wide variety of roles within a University environment, she has joined BMC as our Office Administrator, where she primarily works with finance and facilities and also supports our Senior Administrator, Ria.

Ellie Curran

Creative Media & Communications Officer

A Marine and Natural History Photography Graduate from Falmouth University, with a love for the natural world. Ellie is passionate about protecting our national parks and preserving their wild spaces. At BMC, she specialises in design, social media, website management, photography, and a variety of visual content creation.

Falesha Lewis

Student Recruitment & Events Coordinator

Specialising in customer facing roles, Falesha has had a keen eye for ensuring the client is happy and that expectations are met. Falesha has experience in organising digital events, as well as travelling internationally for IT Events across North America. Currently working on both internal and external events, acting as the face of BMC for student recruitment.

Fenella Lloyd

Student Support Coordinator

Fenella is our Student Support Coordinator with over 20 years of experience working in Arts education in academic mentoring and as a Disability Officer. Fenella works closely with our students, creating positive solutions and supporting personal empowerment and positive change, utilising multi-sensory and holistic approaches.

Lewis Williams

Facilities Coordinator & Teaching Assistant

Former BMC graduate and college ambassador, Lewis hopes now to inspire students through teaching and support of the further education courses.

To the classroom he brings an Arts degree and design industry experience, Royal Horticultural Society qualifications, and a combined passion for woodland creation and heritage crafts. Beyond their studies, as the college’s Facilities Coordinator, Lewis continues to serve the students as a bridge between each cohort, their tutors and the college as a whole.

Prof. Keri Facer

Professor of Public Education

A Professor of Educational and Social Futures, and co-investigator on the ‘Transforming Education For Sustainable Futures’ network at the University of Bristol, visiting Professor in Education for Sustainable Development at Gothenburg University, and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. A member of the core team of UNESCO’s Futures of Education Commission who has spent 20 years researching the relationship between education and disruptive change.

Ria Carter

Senior Administrator

Ria brings more than 13 years’ experience in Further Education to her role as Senior Administrator at BMC.

With qualifications in Mental Health First Aid, she is passionate about Safeguarding and promoting well-being, she’s dedicated to creating a safe and supportive environment for students and staff alike. Her strong organisational skills ensure the day-to-day activities at BMC run smoothly and efficiently.

Rob Bamford

Farm Manager

Rob grew up on working farms in Northern Ireland which led him to study a MSc in Organic Farming and Food Production Systems. He has experience in overseeing the management of 400 acres of land with a wide range of unique ecosystems and livestock and has led educational programmes, visits and events, whilst liaising with local schools, charities and board members. Rob manages our Farm, Troed yr Harn!

Vicky Curran - Student Support

Vicky Curran

Marketing Manager

A first-class graduate of Cardiff Metropolitan University in Events Management, with a focus on Sustainable Events, Marketing, and HR. Vicky has been with BMC since the first-year launch, managing office and academic operations, and has been responsible for promoting further education courses, short courses, and our new degree, driving student recruitment. Vicky now manages internal and external communications.

 

Further Education Lecturers

Ben Kelleher

Ben Kelleher

Coppicing and Greenwood Trades - Talgarth

A green woodwork and coppicing craftsman, who started as a forestry student looking for an alternative route into the world of trees and wood. He learnt his trade through an apprenticeship with the Greenwood Centre and the Bill Hogarth Memorial Apprenticeship Trust, and has since formed his own business.

Brad Welch

Ecology Lead

Brad lectures on our Degree and teaches our Nature Recovery NVQ! He comes to us from Natural Resources Wales, but has over 15 years of previous experience working locally as the Senior Ecologist for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park and as the Manager of the Biodiversity Information Service. Brad has lectured at Nottingham Trent University in wildlife conservation, at USW covering ecological assessment techniques, and at St. Lawrence University in New York teaching environmental studies and wetland ecology.  He also worked with the US National Park Service, helping manage invasive species.

Darren Lewis

Coppicing & Greenwood Trades - Treherbert

An experienced woodland steward and with extensive experience of teaching and learning methodologies in the outdoors. A former Director of the Forest School Association and a key figure in the delivery of training for a social enterprise specialising in outdoor learning and land management, and member of the Regional & National Coppice Federation groups. Darren is very community focused, having established Dare Valley Community Woodland Cooperative and Glamorgan Charcoal which supports men’s mental health through forest management, coppicing, coppice crafts, dry stone walling, seed collecting, bee keeping and more!

Jed needs Coppicing tutor

Jed Needs

Coppicing and Greenwood Trades - Talgarth

Jed is chair of the Talgarth Community Woodland Group and a director of The Green Valleys CIC. Jed is a passionate advocate for community energy and local energy resilience, keen to pass on knowledge and experience of coppicing using sustainable methods and low impact techniques. He has a wealth of experience in Allotment Management, Woodland Management and Community Engagement.

Joanne Price

Core Skills Tutor

A teacher, facilitator, and artist with thirty years’ experience, Joanne works with students to become resilient, confident, and lifelong learners. She’s worked as an education writer and teacher trainer for non-profit organisations such as ActionAid and recently shifted to eco-poetic activism. Her doctorate in tree lore explores a Welsh cultural approach to surviving and thriving amidst climate uncertainty.

Liz Shankland

Regenerative Horticulture - Treherbert

When Liz bought a farm, she switched from being a news journalist to writing and broadcasting about agriculture, horticulture, and the countryside. Before joining us, she combined farming with running courses for smallholders and lecturing in agriculture and animal care at further education colleges. As well as breeding prize-winning Tamworth pigs and Herdwick sheep, she sold produce at farmers’ markets and ran a horticulture business supplying native trees. She was a guest presenter on the S4C gardening programme, Clwb Garddio. Liz has written several books, including Haynes Manuals on pigs, sheep, and smallholding.

Black MOuntains COllege Regenerative Horticulture FE Course tutor with rake in garden

Rashid Benoy

Regenerative Horticulture - Talgarth

A passionate horticulturist with a love for the plant world and the joys it brings. Rashid has a breadth of experience gained in the horticulture industry and is the founder and Director of Flora Cultura, a charity which aims to improve people’s well-being through social and therapeutic horticulture.

Higher Education Lecturers

Dr. Debojyoti Das

Lecturer

A social scientist, geographer and science policy commeasure by training. He has introduced research-led summer school, workshops, exhibitions and field trips as extracurricular activities to engage students in critical pedagogy and multimedia projects. A believer in practice-based learning and learning by doing to enhance students’ education experience, he uses interactive and reflexive pedagogy to promote group thinking. Currently working on climate adaptation and sustainability issues among marginalised littoral communities in the Indian Ocean region. He has worked at SOAS, Sussex, Yale, Manchester and Bristol universities.

Dr. Natalia Eernstman

Creative Practice Lead and Lecturer

Natalia is an artist and educator, interested in creating transformative learning spaces through artful, performative and experiential means. She holds a doctorate in community learning, climate change and the arts; and has taught in various community settings and across higher education (Arts / Environmental Education at graduate and post-grad levels). She specialises in creating spaces where communities can learn their way into an uncertain climate changed future. At BMC she teaches the creative modules as part of the Degree course, and manages the residential short courses for a very diverse set of audiences: from young people, to fund managers, parish councillors, faith leaders, artists, community leaders and everything in between.

Dr. Rachel Sweetman

Lecturer and Programme Coordinator

A researcher by training, she has studied varied educational systems and practices, always with a focus on how students relate to and experience their education. She is interested in how we learn, how we can shift how we frame and interpret the world and how learning can transform us. She holds a doctorate in higher education research and has taught in undergraduate and post-graduate courses, as well as in forest school settings. She recently trained in regenerative horticulture at BMC.

Tom Sperlinger

Prof. Tom Sperlinger

Academic Lead

Tom Sperlinger is Professor of Literature and Engaged Pedagogy at the University of Bristol, author of Romeo and Juliet in Palestine and co-author of Who are universities for? He has set up a range of programmes aimed at students who have not followed a conventional route through education, and is currently academic lead for civic engagement at Bristol’s new Temple Quarter campus.

Trustees

Ali Taherzadeh

Trustee

An activist, facilitator, community organiser, and an agroecology researcher. Their activist and research work is based on the belief that we can create empowering, radical, and non-hierarchical spaces of learning and action through grassroots and community organising.

chris blake

Chris Blake

Trustee

Director of Green Valleys CIC renewable energy company and energy entrepreneur.

George Littlejohn

George Littlejohn

Trustee

George Littlejohn is a chartered accountant, and senior adviser to the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment. He is a governor of Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance in London, and was formerly a journalist with The Economist.

Havard Prosser

Havard Prosser

Trustee

Former Chief Environmental Adviser at Welsh Government with particular focus on issues of energy and land use for climate change mitigation/adaptation and environmental protection. Strong interest in the sustainable future of the uplands as my family has farmed in the Black Mountains for many generations.

Karl Wills

Karl Wills

Trustee

Karl is a serial inventor and entrepreneur who has started, built, developed and sold a number of highly innovative businesses, and has a strong background in management, information technology, logistics, raising investment and bringing products to market.

Shirish Kulkarni

Trustee

Shirish is an award-winning investigative journalist, researcher and community organiser, with 25 years’ experience working in all the UK’s major broadcast newsrooms. More recently he’s worked on a variety of journalism innovation and inclusion projects, and on the People’s Newsroom Initiative at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Sophie Howe

Trustee

Described by The Guardian as ‘the World’s First Minister for the Unborn’ and by The New Statesman as leading a Welsh plot to save the world, Sophie Howe was the the first Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, the only role of its kind in the world. She held Government to account on how their decisions affect future generations and has influenced other countries to follow suit including the UN.  Named as one of tne UK’s Top 100 Changemakers and at number 5 in the BBC Women’s Power List, she is not afraid to call out the madness of short term decision making and is known for a being a straight talking and inspirational advocate for those yet to be born.

Other Associates

Lynn headshot

Lynn Clausen

Faculty Associate

Fellow of Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking NY, on the CLASP (Center for Liberal Arts and Sciences Pedagogy) two-year program 2021 – 2023 working with colleagues from across the OSUN network.  A creative practitioner and freelance educator since 2015, Lynn has used her previous 20-year teaching career (Drama and English, ITT mentor) to develop her current practice working with different pedagogies.

Professor Owen Sheers FRSL

Ambassador & Co-founder

Owen is an award-winning poet, playwright, author and Professor in Creativity at Swansea University. His climate-related work includes a BBC Proms youth oratorio The Water Diviner’s Tale, a BBC One drama The Trick, and a forthcoming opera for WNO, Sea Change. In 2021, in collaboration with Dhaka Lit Fest in Bangladesh, he curated Everything Change, a week-long series of events focused on creativity and the climate crisis.

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