Kate is lead consultant at heritage learning consultancy Heritage Insider.
How long have you been working with plants and the natural world?
I started work with the natural world when I was 17 and volunteering for the Scout Association – we co-wrote a book about sustainable development and developed a peer education programme to help spread the message about respect for our natural world. My passion runs back to very early memories of spending all my days outside engrossed in activities such as making mud pies and decorating them with petals and leaves or playing at gardening. During my professional career I qualified as a museum curator in natural sciences and then quickly moved into the people engagement side from there.
Why is helping to connect people and plants important to you?
Creating fantastic visitor experiences at our venues and using them to reconnect people with the environment around them is some of the most important work going on in the heritage sector at the moment. What could be more pertinent than people understanding their world, how it works and how to work with it – plants are an essential part of this world.
Many people think I am an indoor person because much of my work involves meetings and sitting at a computer but I live much of my life in the outdoors and that’s where I’m most comfortable. Whether it’s gardening, dog walking, a nature walk, hiking, visiting a heritage property, boating, cycling or an outdoor boxing session – that’s where I like to be and I want to share that with others.
Tell us about a project you’re really proud to have been involved in.
All of them! My work is really varied and I love every project from helping families get the most from a visit to a historic watermill, training volunteers to write their own interpretation or run guided walks or improving access to a park for disabled people to helping to creating a strategy for a whole landscape or evaluating the impact of habitat improvement project. I am proud of them all.
Finally, what is your favourite plant?
Not a plant at all – fungi. I love them, know nothing about identifying them but appreciate their beauty and love spotting them. The plants I most like growing myself are anything you can eat!