Meet the team behind Wild East Devon

James Chubb, Countryside Team Manager

I first joined the Countryside Team in 2003 as Education Ranger on a three-year contract funded by Natural England. The role was made permanent after that initial period and I enjoyed eight years working with local schools and groups, enthusing them with the fabulous wildlife and wild places of East Devon.

After a short period working in agricultural roles locally, I returned to the team as Sites Team Leader in 2016 and was thrilled to be back at the council with the remit of looking after these incredible Local Nature Reserves. I transitioned into the role of Countryside Team Manager at the beginning of 2022 and have really enjoyed having an overview of all aspects of this multi-disciplined team.


James Chubb

Dave Palmer, Countryside Ranger

Dave has been working in the team for so long he really is part of the countryside furniture! Whether leading a volunteer task force on Seaton Wetlands; repairing a broken boardwalk in the teeth of a February storm, or strimming the South West Coast Path in the searing heat of summer, Dave is a consummate countryside professional who knows the local landscape like the back of his hand.

Dave leads a weekly volunteer group at Seaton Wetlands, carrying out vital habitat and infrastructure repairs and improvements. With so much of the wetlands being constructed from timber, this is a full time role just keeping on top of it all!


Dave Palmer

Jon Gardner, Nature Reserves Ranger

Jon has been with the team since 2019 and oversees the site management of all of the Local and Community Nature Reserves away from Seaton Wetlands. His hard working group of volunteers gather every Thursday to tackle a new challenge and they all appreciate that Jon reprised the volunteer biscuit tin on his arrival into the role.

Jon co-ordinates the logistics of the team’s charcoal production which last year moved from Knapp Copse to its new home of Offwell Woods just outside Honiton.


Jon Gardner

Penny Evans, Education Ranger

Penny joined the team in 2013 as maternity cover for the Education Ranger role. She subsequently took on the position as a job share, with a multitude of interim contracts and project work keeping her busy on top of this.

In 2022 her contract was made full time as Education Ranger, but her strong links with other teams here at EDDC, and other partnership organisations means that her work across the District continues to be enjoyed by a wide audience of children and families. Penny’s background in Forest Schools means she can create a wide range of engaging and educational outdoor activities and many of the team’s events are sell-outs because it’s a “Penny Event” and her faithful crowd line up to attend!



Penny Evans

Amelia Davies, Engagement & Participation Officer

Amelia joined the Countryside Team after a five year spell as Wildlife Warden on the Exe Estuary and Pebblebed Heaths. She is a great communicator and has taken the team’s online presence to the next level since joining us in November 2021.

She loves meeting people and sharing her passion for the natural world. She has developed new events and as well as running the rule over our nature reserves to ensure the visitor experience is at its absolute best at all our sites.


Amelia Davies

Ben Morgan-Brown, Assistant Ranger

Joining in May 2022 and a direct product of our volunteering programme, Ben was studying a diploma in Land & Wildlife Management at Bicton College when he joined us as part of the Thursday volunteer group. Despite our recruitment coming before the completion of his course, Ben showed the initiative and sought confirmation that he could complete his education in his own time upon accepting the new role.

That initiative has continued to propel Ben as he develops new skills and experience within the team and takes on more responsibility for our sites. As well as being a pivotal role in our new Wild Honiton project, Ben has taken on responsibility for our people counter systems which monitor public use of the sites.


Ben Morgan

Fiona Coope, Countryside Assistant

Fiona Joined in May 2023 and is working with the team in developing both the role and her skills. Fiona graduated in 2019 with a BSc (Hons) in Animal Conservation Science at the University of Plymouth and since has gained skills working for wildlife charities and local Ecological Consultancies, as well as volunteering abroad in Canada and Cyprus. Through this, Fiona has developed skills that have made her a great addition to the team.

Fiona’s biggest passion is wildlife (especially water voles and beavers) and loves nothing more than inspiring people about our nature reserves. Within this role, Fiona has focused on all Social Media channels, aiding the volunteers, and engaging with the public on site at Seaton Wetlands.



Fiona Coope