Mary Sibthorp (1905 – 1991) was a remarkable person. Largely self educated, her incisive intellect allowed her to hold more than her own in any discussion. In her twenties, she came to the notice of Lord Davies of Llandinam, a fighter for peace and a better world order.
She worked with and for him until his death in 1944, and continued to work for his New Commonwealth Society. When the David Davies Memorial Institute of International Studies was founded in 1951, she became its Assistant Secretary and in due course its Director, a post she held until her retirement in 1980.
Her energy and inspiring vision gave her great influence on the work of the Institute. Her outstanding characteristics were iconoclasm, dislike of utopianism and suspicion of received wisdom. She was greatly interested in the wise use of natural resources and in the international problems arising therefrom.
In her will she left instructions to set up the Sibthorp Trust. The more critical our discussions are of unsound views, and the more forward looking they are, the better they will fulfil her purpose.
Our Chair, Edward Maltby, joined the founding trustees in 1995, became the Trust’s first secretary and organised the first Sibthorp Seminar. He is Emeritus Professor of Wetland Science, Water and Ecosystem Management, University of Liverpool where he was formally Director of the Institute for Sustainable Water, Integrated Management and Ecosystem Research (SWIMMER). He has over 40 years of experience in scientific research and environmental management, providing both technical and policy advice for supragovernment, government and non-government bodies. Publications include major texts on wetlands, peat and ecosystem management together with many papers in scientific journals. Notable research includes peatlands of the Falkland Islands, Exmoor and the North York Moors and globally important wetlands including Iraq, Everglades, Louisiana and the Mekong Delta. As Chair of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management key played a key role in the definition and further elaboration of the Ecosystem Approach under the CBD. Edward has recently served as advisor to the UK Secretary of State for Environment on the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, is visiting Professor at the University of Melbourne and the 2011-12 John P. Laborde Endowed Chair for Research Innovation at LSU. He is Chair of the Devon Maritime Forum and Trustee of the Tees Rivers Trust.
Trustee Mike Acreman is science area lead on natural capital at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, UK and visiting Professor of Eco-hydrology at University College London. He undertakes research on the flows of ecosystem services from natural assets of the environment, with particular focus on environmental flows in rivers and wetland hydrology. In the UK he is advisor to the Defra, Environment Agency and Natural England, with recent work on defining environmental flows for the Water Framework Directive and impact assessment of wetlands. He was a lead author on freshwater systems in the UK National Ecosystem Assessment and on the science committees of Natural England and WWF-UK. Internationally he is an advisor to IUCN, the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar) and the World Bank. He is Editor of Hydrological Sciences Journal and has recently edited Special Issues on Ecosystem Services of Wetlands and Environmental Flows. He is currently leading work for the Conventions on Biological Diversity and Wetlands (Ramsar) on the role of ecosystems in the water cycle and sits on the Steering Committee of Natural Capital Initiative.
Trustee Courtney Peyton delivers key relationships for clean tech water start-up Aqua21. She works with public sector buyers, policy makers and regulators, as well as key NGOs and third sector buyers and operators in the tourism, agriculture and property sectors, overseeing and delivering research and business strategy development in these areas. A senior sustainability engagement professional with 20 years’ experience, Courtney ran Scottish consultancy Thirdwave for many years. Specialising in strategic and technical responses to climate change and it impacts on built environment and infrastructure, planning and land use, the consultancy delivered on the needs of blue-chip companies, government bodies and NGOs. She has a strong track record in delivering sustainable assets which underpin client CSR targets, achieving commercial recognition, community buy-in and national visibility. She enjoys public speaking and engagement across sectoral lines, taking a systems based approach to sustainable change.
Trustee David Richards trained as an economic geologist and worked for 17 years in mining operations in Cornwall, Saudi Arabia and Portugal. After taking a postgraduate degree in environmental geochemistry he has worked since 1992 in corporate environmental policy and audit functions for Rio Tinto, including a two-year posting in environmental management in Indonesia. His main areas of responsibility and work have been biodiversity strategy, acid rock drainage strategy, sustainable development and external engagement. He is married with two young children and lives in Monmouth. His interests are woodland management, nature conservation and landscape history.
Chris Mahon operates the Secretariat of the charity and is not a Trustee. He is also the Chief Executive of the IUCN National Committee UK of which the Sibthorp Trust is a Member. A graduate in Environmental Science and Environmental Assessment, his 30 year career in this field has been at local, regional, national and international levels across the public, private and voluntary sectors.