5x15 x Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Trees and Forests

Kew Temperate House
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Join us for the second panel in a new series with Kew Gardens, on the environmental wonders of trees and forests.

Joe Crowley

Joe Crowley is a broadcaster and environmental journalist best known for his regular reports on BBC1’s The One Show and Countryfile. A compelling story-teller, Joe is also a talented investigator and undercover journalist. In 2021 he pitched, co-produced and presented Panorama’s River Pollution Scandal, proving for the first time the illegal dumping of sewage in rivers by the UK water industry. He has also presented a number of ITV Tonight programmes. In 2022, he investigated the Drax Green Energy scandal for BBC Panorama, and revealed how Drax power station is chopping down trees and taking logs from some of the world’s most precious forests.

Ed Ikin

Ed Ikin is the Director of Wakehurst, leading Kew’s 535-acre wild botanic garden and fostering research partnerships with Kew Science. Ed has pioneered major new projects in the Sussex site, including the creation of a new six-acre American Prairie, Wakehurst’s most ambitious horticultural project in over a decade, and the award-winning Winter Garden. In 2021, Ed launched Nature Unlocked: the Landscape Ecology Programme at Wakehurst, a new science research project that uses Wakehurst’s rich landscape as a ‘living laboratory’ to scientifically measure nature’s benefits for people and the environment. Prior to joining Wakehurst, Ed was Chair of London Parks & Gardens Trust and General Manager for National Trust London, opening the organisation's first garden centre at Morden Hall Park. Ed was a 2017 Clore Fellow.

Suzanne Simard

Professor Suzanne Simard is a Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia and the author of the book Finding the Mother Tree. Her research revealed that trees live in a connected society, trading, collaborating, and communicating in sophisticated ways through a shared underground network. She is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; and has been hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers (the Tree of Souls in James Cameron’s Avatar) and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide. Her current research investigates how these complex relationships contribute to forest resiliency, adaptability and recovery and has far-reaching implications for how to manage and heal forests from human impacts, including climate change. She was awarded the Kew International Medal in March 2023, for her ‘invaluable work and devotion’ championing biodiversity in forests.

Kathy Willis

Professor Baroness Kathy Willis, CBE, is Principal of St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, and also Professor of Biodiversity in the Department of Zoology. Prior to this, between December 2013 and September 2018 Professor Willis was Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where she spearheaded the launch of Kew’s Science Strategy 2015-2020. Professor Willis’ research interests focus on the relationship between long-term ecosystem dynamics and environmental change. She has published extensively and written several popular science books (including Plants: From Roots to Riches and Botanicum) and she explored the importance of plants through the BBC Radio 4 series Plants: From Roots to Riches. She also sits on the Natural Capital Committee, an independent advisory body to the UK Government which will take forward the implementation of the new 25-year Environment Plan. Professor Willis was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours list in June 2018.