Tasso Leventis is a businessman with widespread involvement in wildlife conservation, substantially in Africa. His commitment to bird conservation includes the establishment of an avian research institute in Nigeria, as well as participation in and support for national and international conservation organisations such as Birdlife International and a number of Birdlife's many partner organisations.
His long-term support for conservation has been widely recognised by the award to him of five Honorary Doctorates, as well as a CBE from the British Government and an OFR from the Government of Nigeria. More recently he was feted at the David Attenborough Building in Cambridge to celebrate the long-standing diverse and generous support that he has given to biodiversity conservation over the past 35 years.
As an avowed amateur, his passion is wildlife photography, particularly birds, and many of his photographs are due to be published in a new book on the Bird Families of Africa.
He lives in London with his wife and family although he still travels extensively, mostly to Nigeria, Greece and Cyprus, from where his family originally come
It is a real honour to be asked to be a Patron of the Felbeck Trust. The very best antidote to feelings of environmental despair and hopelessness is to join local community action to make our neighbourhoods better - for wildlife and for ourselves.
I grew up in Reepham and became interested in nature because both my parents were, and their knowledge and enthusiasm was contagious. But I was also influenced by our Norfolk landscape - often intensively farmed but still harbouring wild life.
Like many children of Norfolk, I went away to university and worked in big cities in my twenties, as a journalist for The Times and The Guardian. Feeling increasingly alienated from nature, I decided I needed to reconnect with the things that nourish us and keep us well. In 2009 I set out to see all 59 species of British butterfly in one summer, and this became my first book, The Butterfly Isles.
Since then, I've combined working for the Guardian with writing books, including Badgerlands, a history of humans and badgers, and Islander, a tour around some of Britain's most interesting small islands.
My wife and I were blessed to have twins which also fortunately forced us to come home, back to Norfolk, and avail ourselves of grandparental help!
These days I live in Hoveton with my family and continue to work for The Guardian (recent stories include a big profile of Sir David Attenborough and looking at the impact of HS2), give talks about nature, write books and evangelise about Norfolk to anyone who will listen. My next book, Wild Child, is a celebration of local, neighbourhood nature. It is published in May and I hope it inspires parents and grandparents to help their children spend more time in nature.
It was really interesting returning to the county after 15 years away because I have seen in many places how our countryside has been improved from the desolate days of the 1980s. Good agri-environment schemes have encouraged farmers to do what they want to do, and produce food without exterminating all wildlife. Species that were missing when I was a child have returned: buzzards, purple emperor butterflies, badgers, red kites, otters.
But of course Norfolk is a landscape under pressure and we have lost almost all our turtle doves and nightingales, while development and pointless new roads threaten to further fragment our nature-depleted county.
Ultimately, it is down to us - to fight for nature and create a richer world for everyone and everything in it. That's why I salute you all at the Felbeck Trust who are working to restore and enhance our precious county.
I’m Nick, Norfolk native, lifelong bug-botherer and denizen of a flint cottage by a village duckpond. I grew up in Little Snoring, running wild across the WW2 airfield. From school in Holt, my friends and I would tumble down to Cley to lose ourselves in a golden world of marsh harriers, bitterns and bearded tits. In the past decade I have worked on many projects, events and publications for Norfolk Wildlife Trust, many of them from Cley.
Prior to my return to Norfolk, I read for two degrees, then fled to South America, where for years I worked for conservation NGOs and delighted in the continent’s unrivalled wildlife. Falling into bird tour-leading, I was asked to travel further and have since worked on every continent and ocean. Having stopped flying — through climate concerns — I stay close to my North Norfolk home, speaking, writing and enthusing about wildlife and conservation.