Meet Our Cotswold Outdoor Heroes


Celebrating people who are making the right choice for the environment

 

We're passionate about the outdoors and know that now more than ever, it's essential that we do our bit to protect the places we love. To highlight the importance of sustainability and protecting our planet, we've launched a new campaign that champions local environmental heroes who make a real difference in their area. With it, we aim to inspire others to do their bit to protect our environment whilst highlighting that even small changes can have a big impact.

 

After a national search, we've chosen six individuals from across the country as our Cotswold Outdoor Heroes. Read on to discover more about our heroes and what they have been doing to protect their local outdoors.

 

Becky Grierson, Environmentalist and Cotswold Outdoor Hero from Wolverhampton

 

Aislinn Mottahedin-Fardo, Woodland Ranger and Cotswold Outdoor Hero from Exmoor

 

Ben Kniveton, Environmentalist and Cotswold Outdoor Hero from Pickering

 

Hannah Lee, Environmentalist and Cotswold Outdoor Hero from Edinburgh

 

Rona Hunnisett , Beach Cleaning Volunteer and Cotswold Outdoor Hero from Peacehaven

 

Theresa Bristow, Environmentalist and Cotswold Outdoor Hero from Nottingham

 

Becky Grierson, Environmentalist and Cotswold Outdoor Hero from Wolverhampton

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As a busy single mum, working full-time as an assistant chef at an independent care home, Becky dedicates every spare moment to her pioneering health and wellbeing camping initiative for single-parent families.

 

In 2020, she set up a Facebook group with her business partner Adam Howells to encourage people to pick up litter. It was this group that was later the catalyst for the hugely valuable summer camping programme.

“Like so many others, during lockdown, I walked more than ever and began noticing the amount of litter in my area. I started to litter pick every time I went out, and since then, my passion for educating others about the outdoors, and helping single-parent families like mine, has continued to grow.”

 

Rebecca says: “Lockdown was hard for single parents, the weight of jobs, responsibilities and loneliness took its toll, and I’m speaking from experience. I wanted to show people that getting outdoors, camping and enjoying nature can boost your mental health.”

 

“Adam and I came up with the idea of allowing single-parent families to go camping as a group, providing them with the help and support they’d need to enjoy a memorable break.”

 

Convinced she can do more, Rebecca has big plans for the future: “I want to help people enjoy and understand the importance and benefit of enjoying our wonderful countryside responsibly because, after all, our children are the future.”

 



Aislinn Mottahedin-Fardo, Woodland Ranger and Cotswold Outdoor Hero from Exmoor

Aislinn Mottahedin-Fardo is making an exceptional contribution to her local area as a dedicated National Trust woodland ranger at the Holnicote Estate on Exmoor’s National Park.

 

In her role, Aislinn protects natural environments for future generations. “I live and breathe my job, I love it, and I’m beyond thrilled to be the face of Cotswold Outdoor’s new campaign,” says Aislinn. “There’s a whole team of us, so I see this as recognition for all the rangers. We all work tirelessly to care for the countryside and preserve the natural environment, so it’s healthy, safe and beautiful with functioning and resilient ecosystems while enabling visitors to access and enjoy it.”

 

 “Making a connection with the world is completely captivating and being surrounded by bountiful nature rejuvenates and inspires us. We all have the opportunity to make positive changes to help our planet, and it’s our collective responsibility to do our bit. I’m proud to work with Cotswold Outdoor and champion their sustainability message; it’s fantastic to see a retailer inspiring customers to make small but impactful changes.”

 



Ben Kniveton, Environmentalist and Cotswold Outdoor Hero from Pickering

Ben Kniveton, a dedicated environmentalist, has founded a community group to preserve nature and is working on a pioneering initiative with his local council to encourage wildlife into the local area.

 

Working full time for the National Centre for Birds of Prey in Helmsley, Ben uses every spare moment he has to play his part in protecting the planet. “My love of animals started when I used to visit my friend’s pot-bellied pig as a youngster, and it was a passion that grew and grew along with my sense of responsibility for protecting the world we live in,” says Ben.

 

Through his community group, Wildlife Friendly Pickering, Ben has encouraged hundreds of families to make small changes in their garden spaces to help preserve wildlife. Ben also shares regular advice and monthly themes to inspire his members to do their bit.

 

Ben’s advice for people out there wanting to do their bit for the environment is: “Don’t get caught up in environmental anxiety - it’s the small steps that make a big difference. Just making one little change in your garden to encourage wildlife can have an impact. I truly believe you will always find magical moments in nature.”

 



Hannah Lee, Environmentalist and Cotswold Outdoor Hero from Edinburgh

A true ambassador for women in science, 26-year-old Hannah Lee from Edinburgh is committed to marine conservation. Alongside completing a PhD in Marine Biology focusing on blue carbon ecosystems, she manages to find time to volunteer for the Marine Conservation Society.

 

“When protected or restored, blue carbon ecosystems store carbon, but if they become degraded or destroyed, these ecosystems emit the carbon they have stored for centuries into the atmosphere and oceans and become sources of greenhouse gases,” says Hannah.

 

Experts estimate that as much as 1.02 billion tons of carbon dioxide is being released annually from degraded coastal ecosystems - the equivalent to 19% of emissions from tropical deforestation globally¹, so Hannah is taking action to play her part in combating the global climate crisis and nurturing marine biodiversity.

 

Believing that it is our shared responsibility to create conditions that foster diversity, Hannah says: “The world needs science, and science needs women and girls. It’s more important than ever to recognise women’s contributions in science, smash stereotypes and defeat discrimination. I’m on a mission to do just that, and I hope to inspire as many females as possible. After all, it’s research, together with scientific and technical innovation, that is critical to saving the planet.

 

“If everyone helps just a little bit, imagine the changes we could see globally. It’s time for people to sit up, take action and get enthusiastic about the natural world and protecting it. Water is our planet's most precious resource- so together, let’s take care of it.”

 

¹ www.thebluecarboninitiative.org



Rona Hunnisett, Beach Cleaning Volunteer and Cotswold Outdoor Hero from Peacehaven

Originally from South London, when Rona Hunnisett moved to her dream home by the sea in Peacehaven, little did she know what an environmental epiphany she would experience.

 

Perched on a clifftop overlooking the picturesque Peacehaven beach, it wasn’t long before Rona started to notice the amount of litter scattered along the clifftop path and on the beach, and so began her journey into fighting for a cleaner, better-protected and healthier ocean. 

 

“It was a real shock to see how much litter gets dropped on the beach,” says Rona. “I had to do something about it, so my husband and I started by going for walks and picking up litter and taking it home to our bins. I joined the local Deans Beach and Environment Volunteers group, where I met a group of wonderful and like-minded people, many of whom have become great friends. We go out on monthly beach cleans in all weathers and cover the three beaches in the Deans areas here in East Sussex. It’s incredible the amount of rubbish we collect, from plastic bottles and crisp packets to stacks of disposable face masks and old fishing nets, there’s so much.”

 

Talking about the important message she wants to spread about plastic pollution and littering, Rona says: “We all need to change our behaviour. Get out there today and make a difference. However small, every little action counts. Don’t wait for someone else to pick up the cast-aside plastic bottle on the pavement or the crisp packets blowing across the beach. Act now, and together we can make the world a better place.”



Theresa Bristow, Environmentalist and Cotswold Outdoor Hero from Nottingham

There isn’t a day that goes by when Theresa isn't out with her trusty litter picker and tote bag on a mission to clean up the streets, river and canals of Nottingham. 

 

Theresa, or ‘Tree’ as she’s known by her friends, has collected thousands of plastic bottles and hundreds of bags of litter and set up a local Terracycle Depo for hard-to-recycle plastics. 

 

“From a very young age, whenever we went to the beach on holiday, my mum would encourage us to pick up any litter and put it in the bin. So, I’ve been brought up understanding the impact litter can have on the environment,” says Theresa.

 

Theresa’s advice for people out there wanting to do their bit for the environment is: “Everybody needs to play their part, and if they do, the world will be a better place. I live by what author Helen Keller once said: ‘I am only one, but still, I am one. I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something.’ We must protect the environment; children are our future and the planets too. Let’s teach them how to take care of it.”



We’re on a mission to enable people to keep enjoying the outdoors, but we understand that we all have a role to play in changing buying habits to help protect it. The most sustainable product is the product you already own, but when you have to buy something new, the best thing you can do is buy the right kit the first time and make the most of it. 

 

Our in-store experts are passionate about the outdoors and have years of experience to help our customers make the right choice. In addition, we offer services like Repair and Care to keep your kit performing for longer and Recycle My Gear which gives damaged kit a new lease of life and keeps it out of landfill. But we still have work to do.

 

Find out more about our sustainability mission.

 


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