Outdoor educational charity reveals next chief executive


A leading outdoor education charity has revealed its next chief executive.

The Ernest Cook Trust has announced that Ed Ikin will take up the top job later this year. 

Ikin is currently the director of Wakehurst, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex, and co-founded Kew’s Nature Unlocked programme, which researches the multiple benefits of nature, building successful collaborations across government and the corporate sector.

The Ernest Cook Trust, based in Gloucestershire, owns and manages rural landholdings across six counties and uses its income to create outdoor learning opportunities for young people, families and their communities, particularly from underserved areas.

Ikin said: “Access to nature can transform lives and the national debate on land use needs to put people at its core.

“The Ernest Cook Trust is driven by the transformative power of nature and outdoor learning and I’m excited to work with its energised and purposeful team to increase the impact of the Trust and ensure more people benefit from its mission.

“I have enjoyed a wonderful eight years with RBG Kew and am profoundly grateful to them for all the opportunities and support they’ve given me.”

Ikin will take over from the trust’s interim chief executive, Dr Ian Gambles, who has held the post since November 2022 during the period of extended compassionate leave of chief executive Dr Victoria Edwards OBE.

In a statement, the Trust said Edwards would leave the organisation in October after almost seven years as its chief executive and “16 years of commitment and exceptional contribution to the Trust”. 

It said that after a handover with Ikin she would return to the charity as a trustee.

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