Our team

Without a crack team of enthusiastic professionals, New Caledonian Woodlands simply wouldn’t be able to deliver our valuable projects.

Andy RossAndy Ross


Inspired by a childhood spent amidst Canada’s positive woodland culture, Andy’s passion for the environment knows no bounds and he integrates environmental sustainability into everything he does – including two wood burning stoves to heat his house. Andy started his career in Clinical Psychology and is a fervent promoter of mental well-being and of non-clinical ways to tackle mental ill-health. In 2006 he established New Caledonian Woodlands, thereby finding a way to combine environmental sustainability and mental health; taking mental health outdoors and connecting people with their environment.


Matthew Gilbert-Straw


Matt joined the New Caledonian Woodlands team in April 2018. He’s been working in the Voluntary Sector for over 16 years and is passionate about the outdoors and environmental conservation. With a degree in Ecological Science and Environmental Science and over 7 years experience managing charities, Matt is excited to lead New Caledonian Woodlands on the next stage of its journey.





Donald McPhillimyDonald McPhillimy

Woodland Development Officer

Donald has literally planted 1.3 million trees in his colourful life. He’s looked after trees, woods and forests all over the world- from New Zealand to Argyll, Perthshire, Fife, Lothians and the Scottish Borders. At the forefront of the environmental movement, Donald helped set up Scotland’s first community woodland at Wooplaw and was with Reforesting Scotland right from the outset. He loves getting out into the woods, coppicing, pruning, thinning, harvesting wood fuel and planting trees. Donald also practices environmental stewardship by cutting his own firewood in the Borders for his home wood stove.


Dawn HickieDawn Hickie

Office Manager & Fruitful Woods Furniture Upcycling Officer

After studying architecture at Newcastle University, Dawn made forays to Fiji for a year of volunteering and life experience with a marine conservation expedition. This included journalistic reporting for the National Trust in Northumberland and was the catalyst for her finding work within the third sector.

Dawn is relishing the opportunity to learn as much as she can from her vastly knowledgeable colleagues. Her 2 cocker spaniels Boris and Oscar have become unofficial office mascots which ensure she takes full advantage of their countryside setting and the walks to and from work.


Diarmid BaillieDiarmid Baillie

Good Wood Project Officer

Despite formal training and a vocation in psychotherapy and counselling, Diarmid’s love of the outdoors spurred him to embark on a 6 month adventure ‘wwoofing’ and cycling around Scotland. Stumbling upon New Caledonian Woodlands, Diarmid found the perfect way to combine his professional background with an environmental approach.

Ben Campbell

Westburn Woods Project Officer

Ben’s connection to nature started at an early age and in later years his passion for environmental and social justice it took him around the world, working with communities on environmental projects in Europe, South America, Asia and Australia. He cares deeply about connecting people to nature and the benefits this brings. He is a strong advocate for activism and empowering communities to create change.

Judy Paul

Wellbeing Project Officer

Judy’s passion has always been about mobilising people power, training and working as a careers adviser and coach before moving into environmental education. Doing forest schools training was a game changer and for the last 7 years Judy has been trying to find ways to spend more time in the woodlands, discovering their magic and sharing it with others. When the opportunity to work for New Caledonian Woodlands came up she jumped at the chance and is thoroughly enjoying combining her people and planet interests as Wellbeing Project Officer.

Sam Gardiner

Sam Gardiner

Fruitful Woods Project Officer

Responsible for the creation of our many wonderful wooden objects, Sam brings a diverse bag of tricks, skills and experience gained in Wales and England. He has travelled all over, gaining the practical skills to back up his academic knowledge and since returning to the UK, has actively pursued a career in conservation. Keeping true to the Northerner stereotype, he likes a bit of banter.


Megan Mackie

Occupational Therapist

Before starting with New Caledonian Woodlands Megan dreamed of combining her Occupational Therapy role with her enthusiasm for the therapeutic benefit of spending time in natural environments. Working for the Fruitful Woods and Good Wood projects has given her the perfect opportunity to do this. She has been inspired by her own personal experience of working as a volunteer for conservation and community garden projects as well as spending 6 weeks walking across the north of Spain.  She is passionate about recovery values and person-centred practice which she brings to her work with our participants. Megan provides specialised support, care, consideration and assessment for Fruitful Woods participants as part of their journey back to work.