Gina Beresford joined Glendale in 2013 as nature conservation officer on the company’s contract with the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.  

Gina has been working in the horticultural industry for 10 years.  She started her career working at a plant nursery in her hometown of Dover before becoming a gardener at Bath Spa University’s Capability Brown landscape gardens whilst she completed her degree.

However, horticulture isn’t Gina’s only passion, and after completing her degree in Environmental Science and English Literature she worked as a personal trainer and fitness instructor.  Before joining Glendale she was completing a PGCE with the aim of becoming a teacher, but she quickly discovered that she preferred to teach people about nature in an outdoor environment.

She comments: “It was then that I realised horticulture and conservation were the area I enjoyed most.  The importance of protecting our natural heritage and wildlife became a priority for me, and to be able to do my little bit for nature, however small, was at the top of my list.”  

As a nature conservation officer with Glendale, Gina works with schools and community groups in Richmond to help conserve and protect local green spaces.  This includes practical conservation tasks such as species recording and woodland and meadow management.  She is also Glendale’s hedgehog champion and works closely with local community groups to educate them about creating green corridors for hedgehogs and other wildlife.  

Gina enjoys the opportunity the role gives her to share her passion for the UK’s wildlife and the importance of the natural environment with others.  But the role isn’t without its challenges as she explains: “The biggest challenge is gaining the interest of teenage audiences and encouraging them to have an interest in, and a respect for, local green spaces and the wildlife that’s there.  I’ve found the best way to do this is through education, ensuring younger generations grow up with a better understanding of the environment and conservation.”

Gina also feels it is important to ensure that there are alternative recreational pursuits and outdoor spaces for young people to utilise, such as skate parks, which allow people and wildlife to coexist.  She is heavily involved in supporting the council and community groups in making improvements to local spaces in need of urban greening in order to make them functional, recreational spaces for user groups of all ages.

Gina is currently completing a distance learning Masters in Horticulture with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).  In her spare time she enjoys portrait painting and ceramics.