About Wildbanks Conservation
Mick Smith BSc (Hons) - Director, Principal Ecologist
Mick has been working to conserve wildlife and habitats for over 22 years. He started out working for the North Wales Wildlife Trust and for Flintshire County Council as a Countryside Ranger and then managed a river restoration project on the River Colne in Huddersfield. With wife Clare, they Started Wildbanks Conservation in 2007 from a mid terraced house and garden shed.
His practical experience and project management skills, plus his adaptability and innovation, coupled with his amazing colleagues have enabled Wildbanks Conservation to grow into a sector leading Company. Mick holds NPTC certificates in chainsaw operation (CS30, CS31 & CS36 and CS32), Pesticide application (PA1, PA6, PAW), brushcutter and woodchipper as well as Streetworks, First Aid At Work (3days) to name only a few. Recently he has passed his NPORS Excavator below and above 10t.
Mick is skilled in a variety of ecological survey techniques and holds a CL18 (class level 2) Natural England bat licence and a Natural Resources Wales bat licence, he also holds a GCN licence for Natural England & Natural Resources Wales and has held multiple Bat Mitigation licences for a range of species.
He can also make a great loaf of bread and pizzas, enjoys carpentry and wishes he had the time to learn to paint.
Clare Smith BSc (Hons) - Director
Clare first pursued her career in nature conservation in 1999, moving to Edinburgh to volunteer for the Scottish Wildlife Trust where she discovered her passion for Botany. Drawn back to her home of North Wales she volunteered at Greenfield Valley Country Park where she met Mick assisting on the Natterjack toad reintroduction programme at Talacre Dunes SSSI. Clare then worked for three years on a Great Crested Newt community project in Flintshire and more recently ran an environmental community project in Huddersfield for local volunteers. Clare is a skilled botanist and holds a Natural England & Natural Resources Wales GCN licence.
Now more office based, Clare helps to keep the business running smoothly but can now and then be seen out on site when an extra pair of hands is needed and if it’s not raining! Her happy place is pottering in her greenhouse, sowing seeds for her vegetable garden and propagating plants to make nectar beds for bees and butterflies.
Clare and Mick have two girls aged 10 and 8, both of which can already identify at least 20 different insects!
Tanya Cobb BSc (Hon) - Assistant Conservation Ranger
Tanya started with us in April 2022 after an 8-month practical conservation traineeship with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. Tanya had been volunteering with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and leading a conservation volunteer group since completing her Zoology degree at Exeter University Penryn Campus in 2017.
Tanya has been caught organising the workshop on more than one occasion since her arrival and has pleased Mick by showing a keen interest in learning woodworking skills. She holds NPTC certificates in chainsaw operation (CS30 & CS31), pesticide application (PA1, PA6, PAW), brushcutter and a LANTRA certificate for woodchipper, as well as First Aid at Work + Forestry (2 day).
Tanya is training for her BTO bird ringing licence with the Shropshire Ringing Group and has been riding horses for almost 20 years, even riding abroad on holidays to countries such as the US, Greece and Cambodia.
Chris Gosset BSc (Hons) MSc - Conservation Ranger
Chris used to work on his uncle’s organic beef farm and is adept at working in the natural environment whether its driving a tractor or clearing scrub from a bog. Since graduating in 2011 from Aberystwyth University, Chris has pursued a career in conservation where he developed a particular interest in bats. Culminating in obtaining a Masters in the effects of habitat management on bats and attaining his bat licence.
Whether in the field with his weather writer, or knee deep in mud knocking in plastic piling dams, Chris is an all rounder with a varied wealth of experience who thrives on the challenges of working in nature conservation. Chris holds NPTC certificates in chainsaw operation (CS30, CS31 & CS36), pesticide application (PA1, PA6, PAW), driving with a trailer (BE) and woodchipper as well as First Aid at Work (1 day) and excavator (10+ tonne) to name a few.
Chris is adept at a wide range of survey techniques (bats, GCN, Phase 1, otter, water vole, badger) and holds a Natural England GCN License and Bat License class 2, however, Chris’ happiest days are when he is digging and landscaping GCN ponds from an 8 tonne excavator.
Chris is currently in the process of designing and making his own board games and uses the team as his guinea pigs to test out his games whenever we stay overnight on projects.
Jack Halpin BSc (Hons) - Team Leader
Jack has 7 years experience working on various environmental projects and since starting with us in 2017, he has worked hard to become Team Leader and now leads practical and ecological projects.
With a degree in Zoology from Aberdeen University and a natural aptitude for practical countryside management work as well as an interest in protected species, he is an integral member of the team. Always enthusiastic, Jack enjoys the diversity of the projects we throw at him and enjoys learning new skills. Jack holds NPTC certificates in chainsaw operation (CS30, CS31 & CS36), pesticide application (PA1, PA6, PAW), brushcutter, woodchipper and excavator (10 tonne+) as well as First Aid at Work + Forestry (2 day).
Jack holds a NE Great Crested Newts licence and is working towards his NRW bat licence.
Jack can’t seem to get enough of work and turns up at the workshop on his days off to build wardrobes for his house and borrow strimmers to maintain the wildflower meadow in his garden.
Wildbanks Conservation works closely with specialist ecologists throughout the UK to assist the consultancy in long-distance commissions so that it is able to provide an efficient, economic, and high-class countrywide service to clients.
Health & Safety
We are committed to the Health and Safety of our staff, clients and the public.
We have been fully assessed and accredited by CHAS (Contractors Health & Safety Assessment Scheme). We are members of CMA (Countryside Management Association) and all staff hold relevant CSCS cards (Construction Skills Certification Scheme). We also hold appropriate NPTC / Lantra certificates in the operation of all machinery that we use.