International Women's Day 2017
Meet Helen Baker - a keen photographer and poet who
manages research at JNCC.
Q) What is your role at JNCC?
My job title is research manager, but I’m currently involved in
both UK and international activities and projects that probably
don’t match this job title. Along with a couple of colleagues I
provide a coordination role for the SNCB Chief Scientists,
preparing meeting agendas, collating papers, taking minutes and
communicating feedback to staff on decisions. I manage a couple of
projects, including one funded by Defra through the CSSF to
undertake natural capital assessments in the UK Overseas
Territories in the South Atlantic. I also manage JNCC inputs into
the EU project BiodivERsA, which is a long-term collaboration
between research councils and other partners from most European
countries supporting strategic research. I also have oversight of
the JNCC contribution to the Agreement on the Conservation of
Albatrosses and Petrels, supporting the ACAP officer and guiding
expert inputs. At a more operational level, I lead on the evidence
quality assurance policy in JNCC.
Q) Your dreams and ambitions - complete the sentence "One day,
Write more poetry, do more writing and drawing, and take more
photographs. I love being out in the countryside and doing arty
things that draw on my day to day experiences of our great
outdoors. I would also like to get more involved in helping local
businesses to take sustainable management steps that embed an
understanding of the value of nature; I would like to set up a
small charity to do that.
Q) What advice would you give to your younger self?
Be more independent and take more risks, and seek out more
opportunities to work abroad – understanding diversity in human
culture and values is key to nature conservation and you can only
do that if you go, live and learn.
Q) Which positive female role models do you admire?
All of them. The works and lives of many post-war female
biologists, like Rachel Carson, had an important influence on me
and my female cohort at university. And, as an activist, I have
huge admiration for the women who gave me the right to vote, and
since then the right to be almost equal with my male peers.
Q) What do you think is the biggest issue affecting women
around the world today?
It’s hard to pick one, but I think belief systems or societal
governance that do not give women the right to make decisions for
themselves or to be part of societal decision making are still a