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, Social Media Manager and Biodiversity Database Coordinator

Lee has been fascinated by natural history from an early age and grew up birding the reservoirs, gravel pits and royal parks of south-west London. He has travelled extensively throughout Britain and around the world, watching and photographing wildlife, and it was a visit to the rainforests of Costa Rica that ignited Lee’s passion for the Neotropics, leading to a year travelling South America in 2006 when he fell in love with Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.

During this time Lee spent three months volunteering at REGUA, cataloguing birds and other wildlife on the reserve, training REGUA’s bird guide Adilei, and rewriting the REGUA website. He has remained an ardent volunteer for REGUA ever since, his role now including building and managing the website, managing the social media, writing and producing articles and promotional material, and jointly running the REGUA stand at the British Birdwatching Fair.

Lee graduated in Environmental Science then spent 20 years working in IT before moving on to freelance ecological consultancy and nature writing. Lee was a founding trustee of the UK charity Wader Quest, and still birds his patch of Staines Moor in south-west London, where he is also involved in habitat management.

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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 to travel around South America with her partner Lee. During three months at REGUA, Rachel developed and marked out many of the trails at REGUA that are now so important for visitors and researchers, produced the first REGUA trail leaflets, still in use today and assisted Mauricio in the nursery. In 2008 Rachel also spent a few months volunteering as the Lodge Host.

Rachel has become increasingly involved in the project and is now REGUA Volunteer Coordinator and the first point of contact for volunteer enquiries from all over the world. She also manages and organises the REGUA stand at the British Birdwatching Fair held annually in the UK; a key event for promoting REGUA’s conservation work and attracting tourists to stay at the lodge, and assists with lodge management as well as updating the website and social media. Outside of REGUA, Rachel was also a founding trustee for the UK 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. 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)