Childhood memories of walking through nature with her grandfather and exploring his garden full of frogs, newts and slow worms first sparked Jess’s interest in the natural world.
“My granddad was very close to nature,” she said. “He had a huge rambling garden in Kent which was full of wildlife. When we stayed with him, we would spend hours fishing in his ponds. He loved nature that was wild and untamed.”
This seed of interest grew into a more active concern when Jess visited South East Asia after university and saw the impact of environmental damage inflicted by plastic and pollution.
“Seeing beautiful but tarnished landscapes in countries like Myanmar with my own eyes made me realise the extent of the problem. There was pollution, litter and plastic waste, yet there was also no infrastructure to deal with them – the waste just melted into the ground. People in these areas often live off the land, so when the ecosystem breaks down, it’s these marginalised communities that are most affected.”