Our volunteer Committee Members bring a diverse range of skills to KRAG, enabling the day to day management of our organisation and successful conservation and education projects.
Steve Songhurst - Chair
Steve was enticed into the group in 2009 with promises of fame and glory…and ended up with the thankless task of trying to save amphibians and reptiles threatened by planning applications. In 2016 he was talked into becoming the group’s Chair, with more promises of fame and glory. Steve has gradually realised that fame & glory requires a lot of behind the scenes hard work with little prospect of the promised nirvana appearing anytime soon! Luckily the role of Chair of KRAG is a voluntary role, which only requires about 25 hours a week. Plenty of time left for Steve to search for other ways to spend his leisure time.
Rick Hodges - Secretary
Rick has been interested in herps for as long as he can remember. At age 16 he joined the British Herpetological Society (BHS) and in the same year got to work in the Reptile House at London Zoo as a volunteer. He has been lucky enough to work overseas in places where he could study the local fauna. In the early 1990s he arrived back in Kent and soon after joined KRAG. Since 2005, he has been KRAG Hon. Secretary, leader of the ‘Helping Adders up Ladders’ project, and coordinator of monitoring projects in West Kent. On behalf of the BHS, he is the editor of The Herpetological Bulletin.
Gail Austen - Treasurer
Gail joined the Committee when invited to be Chair in 2010. She has a general interest in British wildlife, and is passionate about biological recording and its importance in providing valuable information to decision makers. Gail’s role as Chair was multi-faceted and always with new challenges. After 6 years of dedication Gail stepped down from this role to hand the baton over. Gail became the group's treasurer in 2017.
Tara Hall - Education Officer
Tara's always had a passion for wildlife and grew up in Kent's countryside either searching for minibeasts, pond dipping or looking after slow worms in her Nan's back garden. Since then, Tara's love for reptiles and amphibians has lead her to join the KRAG committee in 2016 as Education Officer, where she's keen to spread her knowledge and enthusiasm for Britain's herpetofauna to younger generations
Mike Phillips - Recording Officer
As the recording officer, Mike deals with all of the amphibian and reptile records submitted by members of the public and our amazing volunteers.. He first became involved with the group when co-ordinating the Kent Pond Warden Scheme and was a key player in the instigation of the Great Crested Newt Monitoring Project. He joined the committee in 2004 and has been involved in recording projects and leading KRAG’s training programmes ever since.
Alexandra Marnerou - Recording Officer
Having grown up in Cyprus watching David Attenborough documentaries and dealing with the misunderstood stigma around snakes, Alexandra has always been passionate about all things wild and conservation. A recent zoology graduate, she became involved with KRAG through a training course on surveying for reptiles and amphibians held by KRAG and joined the GCN Monitoring Project back in 2019. She is now monitoring a small area for the presence of reptiles and amphibians and is still very new to the committee but is currently assisting with processing public records and is keen to use her skills further within the group.
Doug Warner - Development Officer
With a long-standing interest in natural history, Doug joined the Great Crested Newt Monitoring Project in 2015 after attending a KRAG training day. He became a member of the KRAG committee in 2019 where, in his role as Development Officer, he assists with enquiries related to building works and herptile welfare.
Amanda Brookman - Toad Patrol Coordinator
Amanda joined the Committee in November 2022 after taking on the Toad Patrol Coordinator’s role, a position she shares with Jackie Williams. Relatively new to the Toads on Roads project, she started patrolling in 2018. Amanda believes that the project is a great way to get involved in citizen science and to take part in a hands-on activity that benefits Kent’s amphibians.
If you are interested in becoming more involved with the running of our group we would be delighted to hear from you