Field Base Manager
Having studied Marine Biology at the University of Wales, Ben was commissioned into the Royal Artillery and qualified as a military parachutist and troop commander. Having worked on active operations in Afghanistan, he spent the final year of his career based in Canada where he specialised in safety management. Ben is a keen diver, competent mountaineer, first aid instructor and holds an Off-Site Safety Management qualification.
Gemma grew up near the mud flats of southeast Essex but spent all her summers on the beaches of Cornwall. Her innate fascination with the natural world led her to read Ecology at the University of Durham, which was followed by an MSc in Marine Environmental Management at the University of York. She has spent time working on coral reef monitoring projects in Egypt, a game reserve in South Africa and most recently in 2012 co-led a conservation expedition in The Cook Islands. Here she worked on the remote atoll of Rakahanga conducting baseline research on sea turtle abundance, distribution and nesting habitat within the context of traditional Polynesian culture. She has gained a full spectrum of experience from working with coastal artisanal fishing communities to government offices and NGOs. Gemma enjoys all aspects of conservation work with her enthusiasm for the environment also permeating her other interests of surfing, sailing and generally being outdoors.
Shawn has been passionate about wildlife and the outdoors his whole life – one of the key reasons he chose to study Zoology at University. He spent 3 weeks in the Florida scrub during the final year of his degree, collecting data on Gopher Tortoises and their burrows for his dissertation. Experiencing challenging yet highly rewarding fieldwork first-hand reinforced his commitment to pursuing a career in wildlife conservation. He worked for an NGO on a coastal island in Tanzania for 6 months conducting surveys of both marine and terrestrial wildlife, during which time he learned to scuba dive. He also recently spent several months in Cambodia working on another marine conservation project run by an NGO. Shawn is very excited to be heading out to Montserrat as he is very interested in both terrestrial and marine conservation work, and the Ridge to Reef Project has plenty of both on offer.
Thomas' fascination with the natural world as a boy meant he spent most of his early years in rock pools, looking for insects or off "exploring". Studying Zoological Conservation through Cornwall college working with Newquay Zoo and the Blue Reef Aquarium he gained hands on experience working with animals. He completed his BaSc in Conservation Biology and Ecology with the University of Exeter focusing on conservation in practice working on projects in the UK, Greece and South Africa. After graduating Thomas spent 2 years working at the Sherkin Island Marine Station in Ireland, designing and undertaking his own research on Coleoptera (Beetles) discovering a species new to Ireland. Recently Thomas has worked as a volunteer co-ordinator in Tenerife researching cetaceans and as a lifeguard and PADI Divemaster. He is thrilled to be able to contribute to CCC's work as Science Officer in Montserrat.
Bex Turner born and bred in Southport, Merseyside has a degree in History of Art and a diploma in Photography. Bex received her OWSI in 2012 and has since worked as a Divemaster in beautiful Bali and an instructor on the Greek island of Rhodes. She has combined her love of the ocean and diving with her passion for the arts and is a keen underwater photographer and spends her spare time drawing and painting fish. Bex is passionate about marine conservation and is excited to be joining CCC Montserrat as a scuba instructor! Bex’s favourite reef creature is the cuttlefish.
Mollie grew up in Coventry, one of the further places from the sea in the UK. Once she managed to escape, she moved straight to the sea, studying medicine in Brighton and working as a doctor in Devon and Cornwall. Here she enjoyed surfing, wild swimming and generally being outdoors. It was whilst travelling in Thailand that she had her first experience of scuba diving, and has since dived in Cuba, Bali, and Gozo. Her passion lies in acute medical care, with a particular interest in wilderness medicine. One day she hopes to fulfil her dream of becoming a helicopter medic, mainly so that she can wear an orange jumpsuit to work!
Before settling down to a career in A&E in the UK, she is excited to be working as the medical officer for CCC in Montserrat.
Orlane Van Erps
Born in Kinshasa and growing up in both Belgium and France, Orlane inherited her parents’ itchy feet and their passion for life and adventure. Whilst undertaking her M.Sc. in cultural anthropology Orlane conducted her Master’s fieldwork in Sápmi and engaged in indigenous peoples’ rights and cultural protection. As a guide, she led excursions in northern Norway and whale watching tours in Iceland. After 14 months Civil Service in Iceland for an environmental volunteering organization. A conservationist at heart, Orlane is particularly interested in ecotourism as a means to promote sustainable conservation and development and is very happy to continue her commitment to the environment as Education Officer with CCC.
Pickles was rescued from the Montserrat Animal Protection Society. She is an exceptionally gentle dog and loves nothing better than a run on the beach.
Larry is Pickles's assistant and was also rescued from the Montserrat Animal Protection Society. He is a lively puppy who loves attention and long walks.