President’s Symposium, October 2020


The subject of our 2020 symposium will be
Valuing and Restoring Nature.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic we are unable to hold the symposium in the normal format, but it will go ahead in a “virtual” form.

It has been curated by Clare Broom, our President for 2020-21.

Our annual President’s Symposium is a keenly anticipated event attracting many DA members and guests. This year’s symposium is such an important and appropriate topic for discussion – particularly in this country and at this time – that we have decided to ask the speakers to record their presentations in advance and their thoughts and messages for us all will be uploaded here for everyone to enjoy.


The symposium will go live on Saturday 3rd October 2020 immediately after our AGM. There is no need to book – just make yourself comfortable and visit this page any time after the AGM.

The speakers will be:

Harry Barton (CEO Devon Wildlife Trust)Building a nature recovery network in Devon
Prof. Ian Bateman OBE (Exeter University)Valuing Nature: unavoidable and necessary
Prof. Rosie Hails MBE (National Trust)Restoring nature for public benefit
Mel Squires MBE (NFU)South West farming’s positive role in delivering the Net Zero Solution
Rachel Thomas CBE, DL (Exmoor Society)Battleground bred the Exmoor Society

We also plan to set up a discussion forum for questions and comments. Everyone will be able to read the content, but to post a message it will be necessary to register. See this page for the simple registration process.From the leaflet that was published before the pandemic took hold:

In a speech delivered at Kew Gardens in July 2019, Michael Gove, then Secretary of State for the Environment, admitted that “The United Kingdom is now among the most nature depleted countries in the world.”

The decline in nature is well documented and the need for recovery widely accepted. Whilst there are many conservation successes to be celebrated, traditional scientific and ethical arguments for the conservation of nature have failed to protect our natural capital assets, such as species and soils and the ecosystem services they provide.

Researchers and practitioners in Devon are helping to lead the way in finding and testing solutions to the nature crisis. Via five papers and a panel discussion, the symposium will explore some of this work and demonstrate how attempts are being made to value, restore and enhance nature for the benefit of all.


We wish to express our deepest gratitude to our President and to all the speakers for their spirited co-operation at such a busy and difficult time for them.