ITF is run by a small dedicated team who manage the day-to-day work that ITF undertake in the UK and in Africa.

    Paul Laird

    Programmes Manager

    Paul joined ITF in August 2015 as Programmes Manager, with responsibility for managing the diverse portfolio of projects, small and large, that ITF supports in Africa and the UK.

    Paul trained as a forester in Scotland and has an MSc in Environmental Management. He has over 20 years’ experience of managing forestry, agricultural and rural development projects in Africa. More recently, with Earthwatch Institute, he has worked with major companies on agricultural sustainability, corporate responsibility and employee engagement programmes. He previously worked with Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Living Earth Foundation, SOS Sahel International, the Kenyan Forest Department and the UK Forestry Commission.

    He has a particular interest in exploring ways in which local involvement in conservation and restoration of forests and ecosystems can contribute to sustainable livelihoods for rural communities.

    My favourite tree – Wild cherry (Prunus avium).

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    Marika Haseldine

    Finance and Facilities Manager

    Marika joined ITF in July 2016 as Finance and Facilities Manager, with responsibility for handling generous donations and managing a budget.

    Marika read Chemistry at Oxford University before spending 8 years in the finance department of a software company providing services to Hedge Funds and Investment Banks. During this time she gained her ACCA qualification and oversaw the acquisition of the company by an international financial services provider. It has been a long-held ambition for Marika to move into the NGO world and she is delighted to join the ITF team and help support some amazing projects all over the world.

    When not in the office Marika likes to cycle and swim with her family. She also loves to experiment with vegan cooking and baking.

    My favourite tree – Walnut tree (Juglans regia).

    Haseldine picture

    James Kemp

    Head of Fundraising

    James joined ITF as Head of Fundraising in 2019, bringing nearly twenty years experience in fundraising and the not for profit sector. He started his career in research and fundraising for a think tank working on sustanable security. Most recently he worked on product strategy for a responsible business consultancy. James was also Oxfam’s Head of Strategic Communications Planning, and a project manager in Oxfam’s Fundraising Division. He was also a Nominet Trust Trustee, while working in Nominet’s technical department.


    My favourite tree – Silver Birch (Betula pendula), although that might change tomorrow.


    Teresa Gitonga

    Centenary Campaign Manager

    Teresa hold a Master’s degree in Project Planning and Management from the University of Nairobi, and a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. Teresa has over 10 years experience empowering community based organisations in environmental management, including community mobilization and empowerment, resource mobilisation and gender integration in natural resource management.

    My favourite tree – Royal Poinciana (Delonix Regia).


    Aisha Karanja

    Centenary Campaign Manager (Maternity Cover)

    Aisha joins us to cover Teresa Gitonga. She has years of professional experience in environmental and community development. She is skilled in building, and implementing green processes and sustainability initiatives. She has led teams in their core mission of empowering communities in Biodiversity, environment, climate adaption and mitigation, and gender equality and Livelihoods, as well as advocacy while continuing to carve out space for women’s voices to be heard and valued. She gained a Master’s degree in Community Development and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political science, economics and sociology both from Agra University, India and also hold a Post graduate diploma (PGD) in journalism and mass communications.


    Fauzia Shaaban

    Centenary Campaign Assistant (Maternity Cover)

    Fauzia joins us to assist Aisha Karanja. She has a combination of practical management skills and innovative thinking having served in diverse client relation positions in various institutions. She specialised in providing right-hand administrative support and guidance to keep business organized, functioning smoothly and moving forward. Fauzia trained in Front Office Operation and Administration, while completing my Bachelor of Arts degree in Education with a major in English Literature from the Mount Kenya University, Kenya.


    Sue Pitt

    Wellbeing In The Woods Project Manager

    Sue joined ITF in March 2016. Based in Sheffield, she has responsibility for delivering ITF’s ‘Wellbeing In The Woods’ Project and previously ‘Fruit-full Communities’.

    Sue initially qualified in Medicine from Oxford and Sheffield Universities and spent two summers volunteering in hospitals in South Africa and Tanzania. She then turned her interest to research and completed a PhD in the history of medicine. She has many years experience of teaching and supporting young people in a variety of educational contexts and is a qualified coach/mentor. She has experience of project management and partnership working, most recently with an urban ecology company in Manchester.

    Sue is particularly interested in how planting and growing can promote confidence, health and wellbeing as well as providing economically and environmentally sustainable futures for communities.

    My favourite tree – Rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia).


    Sam Pearce

    Programmes Development Officer

    Sam joined ITF in September 2019. He has a diverse background, having read Music at Oxford University before receiving a MSc in Marine Environmental Management at the University of York. Since then, he has worked as a freelancer in many aspects of conservation and campaigning, living and working in London, Moscow, Azores, and across the Middle East. Most recently his work has been in marine topics such as coral reef restoration, illegal fishing and cetacean conservation, and he has spent much time on ocean-going sailing boats looking for whales.

    As a teenager he read ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’ by Jean Giono and since then he has been fascinated in the possibilities of large-scale landscape restoration. His arrival at ITF therefore marks a return to his former passion for trees and he is excited to get into the field, spade in hand. Sam is a qualified sailor, keen diver and daily narrowboater, and in his free-time he enjoys being outdoors, be it walking, rock climbing, swimming or camping.


    My favourite tree – Scot’s Pine (Pinus sylvestris).

    Sam Pearce sialing

    Nicola Doyle

    Marketing and Communications Officer

    Nicola has a varied background in arts and education since graduating with a 1st class hons in Interactive Design for Entertainment Media at the International School for Digital Conent, Liverpool. She brings design, writing, directing, teaching and public speaking skills over to ITF. She has dedicated her life to becoming one of the next generation of environmental leaders, starting off by publishing her first children’s book about plastic pollution in the ocean called ‘Albert Ross the Albatross – Blue Spaghetti’.

    She once lived in the New Zealand bush in a tiny-house with 3 walls, where she learned how to forage and use plants for medicine.


    My favourite tree – Weeping willow tree (Salix babylonica).


    Michelle Mitchell

    Finance Administration Assistant

    Michelle joined ITF in 2018 in our Oxford offices. She grew up in Reading and trained and worked as a secretary until her first daughter was born. After this she moved to France and worked as a childminder and also in an English Tea Room. After moving back to the UK she worked as a TA in a primary school, and she has also worked at the Warnefield Hospital. A qualified massage therapist and Reiki practitioner, her hobbies include decorating/interior design, sewing, reading, walking with her dog Eddie.


    My favourite tree – Cherry Blossom tree (Prunus serrulata).

    Michelle Mitchell 2

    Jenny Weld

    Fundraising and Marketing Assistant

    Jenny joined ITF in September 2019. She studied biology at Sheffield University and always wanted to work in the charity sector. After university she gained experience in the fundraising department of a large development charity before joining ITF. This role brings together her passion for the environment, social justice and communicating with a wide variety of people. She loves public speaking and encouraging others to be part of something big. Jenny is particularly interested in the role trees will play as we combat climate change and the way ITF’s projects empower women. In her spare time she likes to paint, dance, longboard, party and work with students at her local church.


    My favourite tree – Bullhorn Acacia (Vachellia cornigera).

    Jenny website


    ITF is supported by a small dedicated team of volunteers who support the day-to-day work that ITF undertake in the UK and in Africa.

    Divya Ashwini

    Programmes Volunteer

    Divya is a molecular biotechnologist by qualification and left her career as a scientist in a pharmaceutical industry in search of something meaningful. She worked with ActionAid India, a Human rights NGO, raising corporate funds. Her desire to work hands-on and utilise her creative and research skills lead her to an urban wildlife NGO- Avian and Reptile Rehabilitation Center, as a creative lead and outreach coordinator.

    July 2019 presented her an opportunity to live in the UK and here she is; volunteering with ITF, meeting new people, making new friends and working towards a cause she truly believe in!


    My favourite tree – Peepul tree (Ficus religiosa)

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