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Earthwatch at 50: The Critical Six's story


Photo (from left to right front): Valda Uden, Sally Moyes, Maureen O'Neill. (Centre back): Andrew Mitchell and Louise Henson

A proper organisation needs an Executive Director, and perhaps just as importantly, premises.

In 1989, Max Nicholson persuaded Brian Walker to take the reins as Earthwatch Europe’s first Executive Director. Brian was formerly Director General of Oxfam, and was an ideal leader for Earthwatch with his experience and contacts. He quickly set about moving the fledgling organisation out of Louise Henson’s home, and into its own office space.

Photo: Brian Walker in the office

A reflection of the organisation’s confidence and ambition from the start, the new premises were much larger than such a budding team needed. Brian appointed Andrew Mitchell Deputy Director, Louise Henson Head of Science, and swiftly recruited three further staff members: Valda Uden as Office Manager, Sally Moyes to run the field operations and Maureen O’Neill as Head of Fundraising. The new team of six were to be critical to Earthwatch Europe’s early journey and development as it sought to find its feet.

Brian also began to develop two key innovations: fellowships and corporate partnership - which would become fundamental to the success of Earthwatch Europe.

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