UK team

REGUA works very closely with a small but dedicated team of volunteers in the UK.

Alan Martin
BART Secretary

Alan first visited REGUA in March 2001 and was so impressed with the location, the wildlife and the potential to create an outstanding nature reserve that he has been involved on a voluntary basis ever since. He is closely involved with the governance, finance and fundraising for the project and although his main interest is in birds, he has more recently become interested in lepidoptera, and co-wrote A Guide to the Hawkmoths of the Serra dos Orgaos, South-eastern Brazil.

He is the secretary of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest Trust (BART), a council member of the Rainforest Trust and served for many years as a council member of the World Land Trust – all major donors to REGUA.

Alan is a retired accountant and in addition to his support to REGUA has served as the honorary treasurer and then chairman of the British Trust for Ornithology, honorary treasurer of the RSPB and as a director of Wetlands International. He is now serving as a trustee of Butterfly Conservation and has recently become a director of a very large rainforest project in Sumatra.

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Alan Martin at the British Birdwatching Fair (© Rachel Walls)
Lee Dingain
Webmaster and Database Coordinator

Lee has been fascinated by natural history from an early age and grew up birding the west London reservoirs, gravel pits and royal parks, as well as further afield in Britain and Europe. Lee’s interests extend to all areas of natural history as well as geology and he went on to graduate in Environmental Science. It was a visit to the rainforests of Costa Rica in 2004 that ignited Lee’s passion for the Neotropical wildlife.

Lee spent most of 2006 travelling and birding around South America with his partner Rachel. It was during this trip that Lee spent three months volunteering at REGUA – refining REGUA’s bird list, training rangers on bird identification, writing website content and helping to create the reserve’s trail network – and he has volunteered for REGUA ever since.

Lee splits his time between nature conservation and website development and database management, and uses these skills to build and maintain the REGUA website and social media, and manage the REGUA species database. Lee is also a trustee of the charity Wader Quest and a London Natural History Society Committee Member, and spends much of his spare time birding on his ‘beloved’ Staines Moor in south-west London.

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Lee Dingain with “Olivia” – a rescued orphaned Orange-spined Hairy Dwarf Porcupine (© Alan Martin)
Rachel Walls
Volunteer Coordinator and Birdfair Coordinator

Rachel first visited REGUA in 2006 as a volunteer, just as the volunteer programme was starting, when she took a career break in order to travel around South America with her partner Lee. During a three month spell at REGUA, Rachel helped develop and marked out many of the trails at REGUA that are now so important for visitors and researchers, and produced the first REGUA trail leaflets, that are still in use today. In 2008 Rachel also spent a few months volunteering as our Lodge Host.

Over the years Rachel has become increasingly involved in the project. Based in the UK, Rachel is the Volunteer Coordinator for REGUA and the first point of contact for volunteer enquiries from all over the world, and also organises the REGUA stand at the British Birdwatching Fair held annually at Rutland in the UK – a key event for promoting REGUA’s conservation work and attracting tourists to stay at the lodge, and assists with updating the REGUA website and social media. Rachel is also secretary of the charity Wader Quest

Rachel writes, “REGUA is an inspirational place to visit, especially with Nicholas and Raquel’s never ending enthusiasm and dedication to the reserve and I am very honoured in be involved”.

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Rachel Walls at the British Birdwatching Fair (© Lee Dingain)
Sue Healey
Communications Coordinator

Sue spent her professional life in legal and finance sectors. Growing up in rural Derbyshire, her parents were keen to ensure that a love of the outdoors and nature was bred from an early age. Sue became interested in birdwatching at Minsmere, where after following people into a “shed” behind the beach to see what they were doing she became captivated by the birds to be seen and an obsession was born. Birds are Sue’s prime interest and it was this which brought her to REGUA in 2006.

After frequent holidays to REGUA, Sue’s love for the project grew even stronger. Sue has introduced a huge number of people to REGUA and has organised numerous group trips to the lodge, earning her the title as leader of “Healey Holidays”.

Gradually becoming more involved in the project over the years, Sue spent a few months in 2013 as our volunteer Lodge Host and is now our Communications Coordinator, sourcing news and updates from REGUA and distributing to key supporters in the UK and US, as well as publishing news items on the REGUA website. Sue is also on the committee of her local RSPB Group and a trustee of the charity Wader Quest. Her spare time is spent socialising with friends, relaxing at home, birdwatching, photographing wildlife and planning her next wildlife watching trip.

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Sue Healey of “Healey Holidays” (© Nigel Jones)