Conservation Conversation
Patrick Casement

Conservation conversation


This issue we focus on Committee member Patrick Casement, Chair of the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside, representing Northern Ireland on JNCC. His previous public appointments were committee member of the Committee for Nature Conservation, including Chair of their scientific sub committee, from 1985 to 1989, council member of the CNCC, including Chair of their Antrim/Londonderry sub committee and member of their scientific sub committee, from 1989 to 1996.Patrick Casement, Chair of the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside



Q. Species that inspired you as a child?

A.  Birds generally. In particular, the swallow, with its association with human habitation, its flying ability, and its re-appearance each spring from Africa, which seemed both highly romantic and scientifically fascinating at the same time.


Q. What concerns you most about the natural world in the next two decades?

A.  Climate change, both in terms of its effects and its causes. Natural ecosystems seem well able to cope with gradual change, but I fear that what awaits us is more rapid and extreme than they will be able to adapt to.


Q. What would you do with a £1 million grant for nature conservation?

A.  Invest in an education programme that would enable every primary school child in Northern Ireland to get out of the classroom and experience wildlife first hand while learning something of the practical issues of nature conservation.


Q. What would you like to achieve in your time at JNCC?

A.  To ensure that Northern Ireland is fully engaged with the rest of the United Kingdom in conserving its natural heritage, while gaining the benefits of the experience and expertise of Great Britain.


Q. Who is your human hero in the natural world?

A.  Robert Lloyd Praeger (1865-1953), remarkable Irish naturalist, whose explorations and descriptions of every corner of this island have provided an incomparable baseline for much of our understanding of Irish wildlife.


Q. What is your favourite place?

A.  Murlough Bay, on the north-east corner of Ireland – beautiful scenery, fabulous views to Scotland and Rathlin Island, extraordinary geology, rare plants, and an other-worldly atmosphere.


Q.  What’s your pet hate in nature conservation?

A.   Too much paper, too many meetings!


Q. Desert Island disc?

A.  All along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix.


Q. What do you do when you’re not saving the world?

A.  I run a farm, rearing quality beef from suckler cows.


Q. Porritt, Attenborough or Titchmarsh?

A.  Attenborough – in a class of his own.


Q. Place you’d most like to visit?

A.  South Island of New Zealand.


Q. When I’m reincarnated, I’m coming back as………?

A.  A dolphin. I would love to be able to experience the marine environment as an integral (and intelligent) part of it rather than being rather frightened by its magnitude and power and literally out of my depth.

Please cite as: Patrick Casement, Conservation Conversation