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’s passion for herps started aged 6; something to do with a cowboy outfit with rattlesnake skin trimmings! At 16 he joined the British Herpetological Society and in the same year volunteered to work in the Reptile House at London Zoo. His job as a biologist has taken him around the world looking for amphibians and reptiles. He arrived in Kent in the early 1990s and soon after joined KRAG. Since 2005, he has been KRAG Hon. Secretary and leader of the ‘Helping Adders up Ladders’ project.
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
John Watson-Reynolds - Education Officer
John has been teaching Biology since 2004 in a range of schools across Kent and south-east London. He completed a degree at Edinburgh University in biology and is completing postgraduate studies in environmental sciences at Birkbeck, University of London. John is interested in ecology especially the impact of invasive species. His aim is to support the KRAG committee to engage with young people interested in amphibians and reptiles and to encourage a broader interest in the local environment and the incredible reptile and amphibian species that live in Kent.
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 2005 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.
If you are interested in becoming more involved with the running of our group we would be delighted to hear from you