What is the GCUSA and why was it formed?
Game Conservancy USA is an officially registered not-for-profit that exists to support and raise funds for GWCT. It was set up by individuals who had an interest in and enthusiasm for countryside sports in the UK and the wonderful traditions they entail. They were concerned about maintaining and building on these interests, and the same theme continues today – our current supporters are very largely those that participate in these sports in the UK. They are all very conscious of the challenges currently being faced both from the pressures on the countryside itself, but also the lack of understanding in some quarters of how much sporting interests contribute to the countryside and the rural economy.
How has the GCUSA changed while you have been in charge?
The breadth of support has expanded, both in number of people and financial contribution.
Why support the work of the GWCT?
In essence GWCT is a scientific undertaking but one that directly supports and improves the contribution that sporting estates have so maintaining the traditional but ensuring that fields aren’t farmed ‘from post to post’ and making recommendations to encourage a whole host of indigenous plant, insect and bird life to flourish as part of a well-balanced countryside.
What have been the biggest challenges during your tenure?
In the early years we had to improve the administrative support and structures to make them more professional and effective, an example being bringing Robyn Hatch (Director, GCUSA) on board.
What have been your biggest achievements?
There has been recognition that the US has raised substantial resources for GWCT largely through UK-sourced lots, but also from lots secured here in the US. I’m also pleased that the UK estate owners who provide the lots look very favourably on delivering lots to the US, confident that they will secure premium prices.
What’s the best advice you have received?
Not advice really but simply the observation that expanding our membership (on both sides of the pond) increases our influence.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing game and wildlife conservation?
I’d say it is the lack of understanding by non-participants of how the whole fabric of sporting interests fit into the wider countryside.
Can you give your reasons why you think people should support the GCUSA/GWCT?
Among the host of reasons to join, I’d single out the need to preserve the very important component that sporting interests contribute to the UK and the real economy – you only need to look at last grouse season to understand the economic impact.