Wader Quest Board of Trustees

Wader Quest is supported in its development by a team of Trustees offering a broad range of skills. The Trustees play an important role, providing guidance on the key decisions and direction taken by Wader Quest. In addition to their individual skills, the Trustees are all passionate about wildlife and its conservation and have a particular passion for waders.

Supporting the Trustees is an Executive Committee (ExCo) that deals with the running of the charity.

Rick Simpson
Favourite wader: Northern Lapwing

Rick Simpson – Co-founder, Chair of Trustees  and ExCo member:

A life-long birder having followed a circuitous route to conservation from garden birder as a child, through local patch watcher, British birder, twitcher, world birder and bird guide. It was being a guide in Brazil that led to running local community and school conservation projects with his wife Elis in the Atlantic forest. In addition, he was involved for several years in making twice yearly survey counts of aquatic birds for the Contagem Naçional de Aves Aquáticas (CNAA) for Wetlands International in Brazil.

Rick volunteered at British Natural History Museum bird collection Tring and as a volunteer collector for MZUSP in Brazil. In addition, he has been a bird guide in the UK and Spain for Capital Birding Tours and in Brazil as Rick Simpson Birding Services.

Since returning to the UK Wader Quest has taken over his life, taking him and Elis around the world to six continents, birding on all nine flyways to see one hundred and seventy-eight species of wader; giving talks in many places along the way. Wader Quest has become a conservation effort for a group of birds about which Rick is passionate becoming more and more concerned about the pressures they face and the seemingly low profile their problems have among birders and other wildlife observers.

Rick has had many articles relating to waders and their conservation published and writes blogs and articles for the Wader Quest site, newsletter and the Rick Simpson Birding site. He is a sought-after speaker and amateur bird artist. With Elis he has published three books Eury the Spoon-billed Sandpiper (2016 later translated into Chinese and published in China 2019) for children aged 6-11; An Inspiration of Waders (2019); A Quest for Waders (2020).

Elis Simpson
Favourite wader: White-crowned Lapwing

Elis Simpson – Co-founder, Trustee  and ExCo member:

Growing up in Brazil with a strong connection to nature and love of pristine, wild environments. Elis became interested in photographing the beautiful birds of Brazil and is now rarely seen in the field without her camera although she insists that she is not a bird photographer but a birder who takes photographs; she always carries her binoculars too.
Starting in Brazil watching the destruction of the Cerrado near her home and latterly travelling the world Elis has become a passionate conservationist and her interest in waders has given that passion direction.

With Rick, Elis organised and ran conservation projects in Brazil, including community and school projects as well as the CNAA, twice annual, water bird counts for Wetlands International.

Elis is a prolific photographer with credits on many websites around the world and also in magazines and journals illustrating articles and papers many of which she has co-authored with Rick. With Rick she has also published three books Eury the Spoon-billed Sandpiper (2016 later translated into Chinese and published in China 2019) for children aged 6-11; An Inspiration of Waders (2019); A Quest for Waders (2020).

Elis keeps Wader Quest in touch with the world through social media on numerous Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and twitter pages.

Growing up in Brazil with a strong connection to nature and love of pristine, wild environments. Elis became interested in photographing the beautiful birds of Brazil and is now rarely seen in the field without her camera although she insists that she is not a bird photographer but a birder who takes photographs; she always carries her binoculars too.
Starting in Brazil watching the destruction of the Cerrado near her home and latterly travelling the world Elis has become a passionate conservationist and her interest in waders has given that passion direction.

Together with Rick, Elis organised and ran conservation projects in Brazil, including community and school projects as well as the CNAA, twice annual, water bird counts for Wetlands International.

Elis is a prolific photographer with credits on many websites around the world and also in magazines and journals illustrating articles and papers many of which she has co-authored with Rick. With Rick she has also published three books Eury the Spoon-billed Sandpiper (2016 later translated into Chinese and published in China 2019) for children aged 6-11; An Inspiration of Waders (2019); A Quest for Waders (2020).

Phillip Hadley – Secretary of both the board of Trustees and ExCo: Details to follow.

Ray Heaton
Favourite wader: Spoon-billed Sandpiper

Ray Heaton – Trustee:

As a young schoolboy in the 1960s Ray Heaton witnessed the arrival of little ringed plover as a breeding bird on the colliery flashes in Lancashire. He was part of the Borsdane Wood study group and the Leigh Ringing Group. In the late 1960s Ray was a warden at the Osprey site at Loch Garten for the RSPB. He also assisted at Leighton Moss RSPB reserve when the first aerial bird counts established that large numbers of wintering species of waders used Morecambe Bay, showing it to be a site of international importance. Also at this time he was often to be found on the Mersey and Dee estuaries, especially at Hilbre Island, to see the wintering knots.

Ray has worked in museum natural history work and archaeology, also as a Curator and Conservation Officer, as a Field Studies Centre Warden, a college lecturer (Biological Sciences and Geology) and for the RSPB at Rainham Marshes in London. He holds post-graduate qualifications in Behavioural Ecology and has worked on a variety of ecological consultancy. He has carried out studies on primate behaviour, observing mainly great apes, and on bird behaviour, working mostly on flamingos. He is a Fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and the Linnean Society and currently is working on recreating Darwin’s plant experiments. He has collaborated in the work and publication of scientific papers and articles and was researcher and co-author of the Good Zoo Guide (Collins 1991).

Originally elected a Trustee of Chester Zoo (North of England Zoological Society) he has for the past 20 years served as an elected Trustee, including a period as a Vice President, of the Zoological Society of London ZSL.

Extensive travels have enabled him to visit many habitat types and observe wild species in areas such as North America, Hawaii, Canada, East and West Africa, Japan, Sri Lanka, SE Asia, New Zealand, much of Europe and of course the UK.

Ray feels privileged to sometimes watch goshawk and sparrowhawk from his garden, though not many waders!

His favourite wader is the spoon-billed sandpiper. Ray became aware of this bird (and at the same time the ibisbill) more than 40 years ago before serious conservation work on these species started

Elizabeth Anderson
Favourite wader: Eurasian Oystercatcher

Elizabeth Anderson – Trustee and ExCo Chair:

Elizabeth Anderson is an experienced charity leader, having worked in the not for profit sector for over fifteen years.  She is currently Chief Operating Officer of an education charity, including programme management of a nationwide campaign to end digital poverty.  Her career has mainly focussed on governance and stakeholder engagement, having worked in a range of high profile institutions and campaigns, including in the education, science and health sectors.

Elizabeth became a Trustee of Wader Quest in 2021, jumping at the chance to take a role that could have a meaningful chance to help to conserve these fascinating birds for years to come.  Her main focus is on the charity governance aspect, but is also working on other projects to enhance public and member engagement as a member of the Executive Committee.  She hopes that her skills can be put to use within the charity in order of fulfilling its aims, generating more public awareness and education about waders, and conserving species.

Outside work and volunteering, Elizabeth enjoys travel with her husband, gardening and baking.  She has had a desire to help wildlife all her life so joining Wader Quest is a hugely exciting!  Her most exotic trip has been to the Falkland Islands, seeing seabirds (especially five species of penguin), but also spotting Magellanic Oystercatchers, one very well hidden Snipe, and a range of other birds.

Her favourite wader is the Eurasian Oystercatcher, although it’s a tight decision with Northern Lapwings coming second.

John Beaumont – Trustee:

John has a degree in Field Biology and Habitat Management, a higher degree in Conservation Biology and is also a qualified veterinary surgeon. He has worked on conservation project in Mauritius, Israel, Seychelles and Malaysia. John lived in Brazil for 16 years where he did a variety of jobs.  He was translator for an environmental magazine and also a tour guide, besides running his own English school, the profits from which he used to rehabilitate birds of prey.  He translated countless scientific papers for the local universities as well as writing Examinations.  John eventually retrained to become a veterinary surgeon. He returned to the UK with his family and worked as a lecturer in Animal Management, Veterinary Assistant, Pest Controller, Falconer, Aviculturist  and Farm Manager before accepting his current job as a Veterinary Met Inspector. Outside of work his interests include bird ringing. He also has an educational YouTube channel for which he interviews people who work with animals about the skills needed to do their job.  John is married with two teenage boys and four tarantulas.

John’s favourite wader is Greater Sand Plover as it brings back happy memories of Mauritius.

Wader Quest Executive Committee

Elizabeth Anderson – Chair.

Phil Hadley – Secretary.

Louise Hathaway – Treasurer.

Corinne MacGarvey – Membership Secretary.

Rick Simpson – Trustee liaison.

Dylan Parry-Davies.

Luke Marriner.

Aberdeen Powell.

Elis Simpson.

Ellie Wise.

We are seeking people to join the Executive Committee to be an active part of the charity. If you are interested in finding out more contact rick.simpson@waderquest.net.