Sussex Wildlife Trust says goodbye to one of its most charismatic and loved members of staff at the end of this month when Mike Russell, nicknamed ‘Mr Wildlife’ by his colleagues, retires after over 30 years.
He joined the Sussex Wildlife Trust in 1985 as warden and lived with his wife, Pauline and two sons, Liam and Niall at Woods Mill nature reserve – the house has since been converted into offices for staff working for the registered charity, the largest nature conservation organisation in Sussex.
Mike has countless memories of ‘special’ wildlife moments but says his life is inextricably linked to the nightingale - Mike’s Evening with Nightingales events are legendary and sell out every year.
During the past 31 years Mike has worked as nature reserve warden, led the Trust’s Education team and developed their People and Wildlife department. He has organised and led thousands of nature based events from 4am dawn choruses to late night excursions onto heathland reserves to introduce people to the haunting sights and sounds of the nightjar.
Mike who lives in Henfield said: “Over the past few years I have returned to perhaps what I enjoy most, organising our adult education programmes and particularly teaching. I find it rewarding to be able to show and inspire people about the wonderful landscapes and wildlife to be found in Sussex.
“Retirement beckons and although I will continue to lead some courses at Woods Mill nature reserve at Henfield and throughout Sussex in the future, I will undoubtedly miss my day to day involvement with the Sussex Wildlife Trust which has been such a huge part of my life.”