Asa Gurden, Trustee - The Heart of England Forest

Asa Gurden

Asa is currently the Head of Scout Adventures at The Scouts, a network of outdoor centres that works with over 160,000 people a year.  He has spent over 20 years working in the outdoor sector across commercial and charity sector organisations in a wide range of roles from instructing, product design, training and management.

His passion for the outdoors comes from early engagement with Scouts, a place that so often starts people’s interest in sharing adventures, appreciating nature as well as teaching a myriad of skills for life. Having read about the aspirations of the Heart of England Forest it was a perfect alignment with his core belief that everyone should have access to the natural environment and at least a little bit of adventure.

Asa aims to use his beliefs, skills and experience to help the Heart of England Forest engage people in their work and access the great spaces being developed.

It’s not always about climbing mountains or shooting rapids on a river, the most important thing for me as an outdoor practitioner is that people whatever their abilities or skills get to experience nature and the great outdoors.  All the evidence tells us the being outdoors is good for you both physically and mentally – with this in mind the Heart of England Forest is in a great position to enable more people to access the outdoors now and for many generations to come.”

Asa was appointed onto the Heart of England Forest Board in May 2020.

Q&A with Asa

Why did you choose to give your time and get involved with the charity?

Simply because I think the work of the Heart of England Forest is really important and valuable. I felt I could add value, but also learn something from working with a different type of organisation to the ones that I work for or volunteer with.

What expertise do you bring to the trustee role?

I hope that my knowledge and expertise in the areas of using the natural environment to educate people and get them outside and more engaged is helpful, as well as my expertise around Health and Safety.

What aspect of the charity’s work interests you the most?

The management of the land and nurturing the Forest, and the future potential to grow the number of visitors.

Where/how do you think the Heart of England Forest is making the most difference?

Growing such an amazing Forest to have an impact now, but also for generations to come.

What are the biggest challenges that you feel are facing the charity over the next 12 months?

The increased footfall from people realising what is on their doorstep during the pandemic and managing the impact of this on the environment, and the continued negative impact climate change is having on tree planting.

What 3 words would you use to describe the work of the Forest?

Diverse, inspiring and visionary.

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