Pine marten (Martes martes) in flowering heather, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.





Stirling, 21st September 2019, 09:30 - 18:00


Registration 08:45



Heartbeat fungi



Against a backdrop of crashing global biodiversity and climate breakdown, Scotland has the opportunity to become a world leader in restoring its land and seas to good health. To do so, it needs to see the Big Picture. It needs to be bold. It needs to think beyond its smattering of nature reserves, and to summon up huge bundles of imagination to envisage what a future, wilder Scotland could look like.

The Big Picture Conference explores the potential for rewilding large parts of Scotland. It draws on inspirational stories and experiences from around the world, delivered first hand by rewilding practitioners, policy makers and storytellers.

Heartbeat otter


Download the conference itinerary.


Sean Gerrity is the Founder of American Prairie Reserve (APR.) He served as APR’s President from its inception in 2001 with two employees through seventeen years of growth. As of 2019, APR has forty-five employees and an annual budget of $10 million USD. In his current staff role, Sean is producing APR’s long-range Master Plan which describes where APR aims to be by 2035 and 2050, as the largest protected area for wildlife and biodiversity in the continental United States. Over the past 40 years Sean has visited 38 different countries - many of them numerous times - for work or adventure. These journeys have led him to believe that solutions to most environmental problems already exist and are in fact being practiced successfully in pockets of innovation around the world. He theorizes that our challenge is to keep moving about, be open to learning from others, bring great ideas back to our own nature restoration efforts and implement them in customized ways. Sean serves on the board of directors of APR, is a National Geographic Society Explorer and former NGS Fellow. He serves on National Geographic’s advisory board for their Last Wild Places initiative. He and his wife Kayla live in Bozeman, Montana.

Sir John Lister-Kaye

Sir John Lister-Kaye

Sir John Lister-Kaye is one of Scotland’s best-known naturalists and a lecturer of international repute.  He has received numerous awards, including the World Wilderness Foundation’s gold award, for his commitment to environmental education and conservation.

In a 40-year career, Sir John has held key roles in a number of government and conservation bodies, including being Chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage for the Highlands and the President of the Scottish Wildlife Trust. He lives at Aigas, near Beauly, as the founder and Director of the Aigas Field Centre, which is currently running a Scottish Wildcat captive breeding programme.

Frans Schepers

Frans Schepers

Frans Schepers is Managing Director and one of the founders of Rewilding Europe. During his professional career, which now spans over 30 years, he has specialised in developing conservation strategies, freshwater and species conservation, ecological networks, protected areas and rewilding. His special interest is in rewilding landscapes, where wild nature and wildlife can bounce back and where people can enjoy and benefit.

Under his leadership, Rewilding Europe has initiated four new, innovative initiatives, including the European Rewilding Network, which now has 67 members across 27 different countries. Currently, they have eight large rewilding initiatives, operational in seven countries, all of which have the potential to become rewilding icons for Europe, where wild nature with abundant wildlife provides new socio- economic opportunities.

Jeremy Roberts

Jeremy Roberts

Jeremy is one of the founding partners of the Cairngorms Connect habitat restoration project and, in February 2019, took up the role of Programme Manager. Prior to this, he spent 13 years as Senior Site Manager at the RSPB’s Abernethy nature reserve: 13,700ha of Caledonian pinewood, expanding forest, and sub-Alpine plateau, plus the Loch Garten Osprey Centre – all in the Cairngorms Connect project area. In his early career, Jeremy worked in conservation management for the Peak District National Park, SNH, and the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group. He joined RSPB Scotland in 1997 – initially as Advisory Manager, then moved to Head of Reserves, Scotland; he moved to Abernethy in 2005. Jeremy’s first attempt at ecological restoration was at the age of 9, growing a sycamore sapling in a metal bucket on a London windowsill. He’s learned a lot since.

Lynn Cassells

Lynn Cassells

Lynn Cassells bought Lynbreck Croft with partner Sandra Baer in March 2016. With no background in agriculture, they set about building a new farm business where people, wildlife, farm animals and nature live and work alongside in harmony to build soil, increase biodiversity and produce nutrient dense healthy food. In their own words, they 'farm to be wild' and are passionate about helping reconnect people to land they live in and the food they eat.

Ian Mackenzie

Ian Mackenzie

Ian Mackenzie is a passionate advocate for blurring the lines between where people and wildlife live.  Working for the Scottish Wildlife Trust he has been at the forefront of projects to integrate nature into Scotland’s towns and cities. His work has focused on urban landscapes and helping people recognise the value of the natural habitats within them. Thinking about how people can benefit from the results of ecological restoration has led to award winning projects in Cumbernauld and he is currently leading the charge to ensure the Edinburgh City 2050 vision has nature at its core.

Steve Micklewright

Scottish Rewilding Alliance

Steve Micklewright

Steve is the CEO of Trees for Life and current convenor of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance. Originally from Bristol, Steve is fanatical about plants and initially worked on ancient woodland surveys before moving in to conservation marketing and then working as a lobbyist in London, campaigning to prevent the privatisation of state-owned forests. He has had the clothes ripped off his back while taking direct action to prevent the illegal bulldozing of a wildlife site in Bristol and most recently lived in Malta, campaigning to stop illegal bird hunting. Steve has lived in Scotland for almost four years, working to transform Trees for Life so it can achieve more rewilding and forest restoration in more places in the Highlands.

Nick Underdown

Nick Underdown

A former local journalist, Nick has worked and campaigned on a wide range of rural development issues such as community rights in planning, fish farming regulation, land reform and marine environmental policy. Nick lives in Ross-shire and is Head of Communications at Open Seas, a Scottish charity dedicated to promoting sustainable fishing and recovering the health of Scotland’s coastal seas.


David Hetherington

David Hetherington

Dr David Hetherington completed his doctorate in 2005 at the University of Aberdeen. It explored the feasibility of reintroducing the Eurasian lynx to Scotland, and in the process allowed him to build up a network of contacts across Europe. He then moved to the Cairngorms National Park, where he still lives and works on strategic woodland expansion and wildcat conservation. He sits on the board of Trees for Life, an award-winning charity that works to enhance the native woodland ecology of the Scottish Highlands. He recently published a book with French wildlife photographer, Laurent Geslin, called ‘The Lynx and Us’, which examines the relationship between lynx and people across Europe, and discusses the implications of this for Scotland.

Helen Senn

Helen Senn

Dr Helen Senn is Head of Conservation and Science Programmes at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS). RZSS, through the Scottish Beaver Trial was instrumental in the successful reintroduction of beavers to Scotland and leads the conservation breeding programme for Scottish wildcat.  Helen is responsible for overseeing the RZSS team’s delivery on these projects and others as diverse as the conservation of pine hoverfly, the Pallas’s Cat International Conservation Alliance (PICA), the conservation of chimpanzees communities in the Budongo Forest Uganda and the WildGenes programme which supports projects across the globe with conservation genetic analysis.  She spends the time when she is not at a desk seeking out wild places.

Peter Higgins

Peter Higgins

Peter Higgins is Professor of Outdoor, Environmental and Sustainability Education at the University of Edinburgh, teaching through academic, practical and on-line approaches.

Peter is Director of the Global Environment and Society Academy, UN University Regional Centre of Expertise in ESD (Scotland), and Scottish representative on a related UNESCO programme. Since 1999, he has advised the Scottish Government in these fields, chairing the Learning for Sustainability Advisory and Implementation Groups (2012-2016).

His early career was as a freshwater biologist, during which time he was responsible for the re-introduction of salmon to the Thames.  He has worked as an outdoor educator in a number of Scottish, UK and overseas centres and is a highly qualified outdoor activities instructor.

Polly Pullar

SCOTLAND: The Big Picture

Polly Pullar

Polly Pullar is a conservationist, naturalist, writer and photographer with over 30 years professional experience. She specialises in wildlife and countryside matters, and is also a wildlife rehabilitator. She contributes to numerous publications including The Scots Magazine, Scottish Field, BBC Wildlife & People’s Friend

She is the author of nine books including, Dancing with Ospreys, Rural Portraits - Scotland’s Native Farm Animals, Characters & Landscapes, Further Afield with a Camera, A Drop in the Ocean – Lawrence MacEwen & the Island of Muck, Fauna Scotica – People & Animals in Scotland, and A Richness of Martens – Wildlife Tales from Ardnamurchan, and wrote the text for photographer Neil McIntyre’s book, The Red Squirrel – A Future in the Forest. She is currently working on a nature-writing memoir.




HOST: Peter Cairns

HOST: Peter Cairns

Peter Cairns is a conservation photographer with over 20 years professional experience under his belt. He has co-founded major communication initiatives such as Tooth & Claw, Highland Tiger, Wild Wonders of Europe and 2020VISION. Peter is a Director of The Wild Media Foundation, the Company behind SCOTLAND: The Big Picture. A long-time advocate for rewilding, Peter is a serving Board Member of Scottish charity Trees for Life, and is a Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

Gannet Image

Imagine our seas supporting a greater abundance and diversity of life.


Rewilders of the Future

Holly Gillibrand

Holly is a 13 year old conservationist and activist. She campaigns for the protection of wildlife in Scotland and is a youth ambassador for SCOTLAND: The Big Picture. Holly also coordinates the Fort William Youth Strikes for the Climate and writes a regular environmental column for the Lochaber and Oban Times.

Gus Routledge

Gus Routledge is studying Countryside Management at Scotland's Rural College near Aberdeen. Although his main interest is in ecology and conservation, he takes time to understand other aspects of the countryside to build a bigger picture of Scotland's land management issues.

Vanessa Burton

Vanessa is a researcher in Landscape Ecology, with particular interests in Forest and Landscape Restoration and future scenarios for land use change in Scotland. She is passionate about communicating science to support evidence-based decision making in land use and conservation policy and practice.

Tom Bowser

Tom runs both the Argaty Red Kite and Argaty Red Squirrel projects. He is also a member of the Nature Friendly Farming Network steering group. 



Treat yourself... and our planet!


Rewilding isn’t restricted to landscape scale change. It is a vision that we can integrate into our daily lives. This extends to the products we buy and the organisations we support. An exciting addition to the day’s events is our ‘Rewilding Market’ in the Treehouse, which will host an array of stalls and exhibition stands. What better way to cool our brains cells between presentations than with a bit of retail therapy? 

Rewilding Market and Sponsorship


We invite exhibitor enquiries for the Treehouse Rewilding Market and for Conference Sponsorship.
Download our brochure here.

Heartbeat wildcat



Imagine wild forests reawakened and teeming with wildlife


We promise to:

  • Contribute a percentage of conference revenue to Trees For Life's accredited carbon offsetting initiative.
  • Avoid single use plastics
  • Provide a predominantly vegan lunch, made with local, seasonal produce where possible.
  • Minimise food and drink waste
  • Reuse or recycle any appropriate waste produced
  • Send downloadable E-tickets instead of paper 

You can help by:

  • Bringing your own reusable cup (for hot drinks)
  • Car-sharing or using public transport
  • Using scrap paper if you wish to take notes, or bring a tablet/notebook laptop

The venue, Macrobert Arts Centre, is continuously making efforts to reduce its environmental impact and is a member of the Green Arts Initiative. Find out more here

Heartbeat Caper


Macrobert Arts Centre

University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Image: Macrobert Arts Centre
  • Facilities

    Located at the heart of the University of Stirling, Macrobert Arts Centre is a cultural hub for Stirling, the Forth Valleyand Scotland, making active connections with people, communities and ideas, for entertainment, wellbeing and understanding.


    You can view full access details to the venue here. Macrobert Arts Centre welcomes all visitors with additional access requirements and is committed to making all their spaces accessible to everyone.


    Free Wifi is available at the venue

    Image: Macrobert Arts Centre
  • Getting Here


    Car parking on campus is often very busy, so please allow extra time to get here. You can download a map of the campus car parking facilities. For more information, click here.

    There is no parking charge on campus on the day of the conference.

    We would ask that you, where possible, car share or utilise public transport, to reduce our impact on the environment and the pressure on the car parks.

    There are 3 parking bays at the venue entrance for blue badge holders.


    There are regular bus routes to the University Campus (University Bus Hub – 54 / UL) from Stirling City Centre, as well as Edinburgh and Glasgow.

    Those wishing to travel by train will find services from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee and Perth.

    Nextbikes are also available to rent from Stirling City Centre.

    For more information on the options available, visit here.

  • Local Accommodation

    Stirling Court Hotel is an award-winning hotel, situated right on the University of Stirling campus. It offers an excellent number of facilities, including a wide range of room sizes and a relaxing café-bar. The hotel offers dinner, bed and breakfast and bed and breakfast options. As an attendee of the Big Picture Conference, you will receive a discount of 25% on bed and breakfast at the hotel.

  • Food & Drink

    To make sure everyone returns in the afternoon fed and watered, we will be providing lunch in three sittings. Your sitting number will be given to you at registration.


    During the lunch break, we’ll be serving a warming vegan soup and a selection of sandwiches (non-vegan options available). Please purchase your lunch ticket(s) (£8.95) when you buy your day pass.


    If you’d prefer to bring your own food, that’s not a problem. If you’d like to sit down for lunch within the Macrobert Arts Centre, you’ll be provided with a sitting number.


    If you’d rather a change of scenery at lunch time, there are other eateries within walking distance – such as the cafés on campus or the hotel restaurant, Stirling Court Hotel.

    The university cannot guarantee which campus café’s will be open on the day at this stage, but if you’d like to be updated nearer the time, just let us know.


    Hot drinks and shortbread will be provided at the mid-morning interval, which is included in the price of your ticket. The venue’s coffee shop will also be open if you feel like something a little extra. 

    Image: Macrobert Arts Centre
Beaver image

Imagine a mosaic of wetlands shaped by beavers and echoing to the calls of cranes.




Join us for an unmissable day of inspiring presentations and thought-provoking discussions as we bring rewilding to life.

Please note: quantities can be adjusted on the next page.

The Big Picture Conference

Price: £ 69.00


Thank you for your interest in The Big Picture Conference. This event is now SOLD OUT. If you would like to be added to the reserve list, in case of a cancellation, then please contact  

The Big Picture Conference: STUDENT/UNDER 18s

Please bring proof of student status with you on the day.

Price: £ 35.00


As above.

The Big Picture Conference: Lunch

Price: £ 8.95


If you missed out on the opportunity to book your lunch with us, you will need to bring along a packed lunch or source your lunch outside the venue. For more information, please contact

Heartbeat trees
Dolphin image

Imagine revitalised communities thriving in a nature-based economy.


With many thanks to...