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Autumn Leaves

About us

Footprint East Neuk was founded by Sonja Potjewijd, Helen Browning and Ruth Brown in June 2020. The charity is currently run by seven trustees and supported by our membership, donations and grants from funding bodies.

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Helen Browning

Helen qualified from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh in 2001 and in 2005 gained an MSc in Wild Animal Health from the Royal Veterinary College, London. In 2011 she completed an MSc in Infectious Disease at the University of Edinburgh, before undertaking a PhD at the Sea Mammal Research Unit, University of St Andrews, investigating viral and genetic risk factors contributing to the development of cancer in the California sea lion, completing in 2014. She now works in small animal general practice in Fife.

Maarten Zwart

Maarten is a lecturer in neuroscience at the University of St Andrews. He completed his undergraduate degree in bioengineering at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands before moving to the UK to undertake a PhD at Cambridge University. His postdoctoral studies took him to the USA where he worked at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Virginia. He now runs the Zwart Lab at the School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St Andrews.

Ruth Brown

Ruth is an associate lecturer at The Open University. She studied Marine Biology at Glasgow University, graduating in 1998, and completed an MSc in 2002 at Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London. She went on to gain a PhD in seabird ecology in 2008, at Queen Mary, University of London. Ruth has worked on seabird research projects around the world, including in Hawaii with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and in Antarctica with British Antarctic Survey. She currently teaches undergraduate biology at The Open University.

Sonja Potjewijd

Sonja is a Project Officer at Transition St Andrews, and a Project Consultant on various Shared Path projects in the East Neuk. She is also the Principal Officer of the East Neuk Community Action Plan and a Director of the Fife Communities Climate Action Network. Born and raised in The Netherlands, she has lived in both the UK and the USA, where she has gained extensive experience of volunteer management, environmental campaigning, and educating and empowering people to think globally and take action on environmental issues.

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Jenny Paterson

Jenny is the Rewilding Officer for the “Rewilding Kinkell” project at Kinkell Byre in St. Andrews. She gained an HND in Countryside Management in 2012 from SRUC Elmwood, and was selected from 850 applicants to get a much coveted place on Forestry and Land Scotland’s apprenticeship scheme. After four years she became the Conservation Manager at the prestigious Cameron House Resort on Loch Lomond, where she managed over 400 acres of woodland and wetland until 2021. Jenny has a keen interest in bats and is a member of the Fife and Kinross Bat Group as well as being a seasoned bat surveyor.

Julia Cowie

Julia is a Master in both Public Health and Public and Social Administration with professional qualifications in Town and Country Planning and a BDesign. She is a retired Strategy Manager with experience delivering major capital programmes and working with people with disability to deliver improved quality of service and she has thirteen years experience in the Children’s Hearing System. Julia is an artist and is the Treasurer of a local arts organisation. She is part of the planning group for Gallery 495, Cellardyke, and also helps to run the Anstruther and District Allotments Association.

Amanda Root

Amanda is a retired academic with a specialism in climate change. She has a PhD in the social sciences and a Masters Degree in Counselling. Whilst working as a local government manager she set up and ran various schemes including a rent deposit scheme and a ‘prescription for health’ scheme in which GPs ‘prescribed’ exercise and time in nature, often instead of antidepressants. She was formerly a Minute Secretary for the Scottish Fisheries Museum Board, and is a volunteer for The Cellardyke Tidal Pool Project.

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