Who We Are

Meet the team at Moray Firth Coastal Partnership

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Natalie Palmer

MFCP Manager

As Partnership Manager for the Moray Firth Coastal Partnership, leading on stakeholder engagement, community consultation activities and partnership working, Natalie utilises a collaborative approach in her work. Natalie was previously a senior environmental planner working in various countries and legislative jurisdictions, applying and interpreting various planning and environmental management acts for private, public, and academic institutions. Natalie has been involved in the assessment of environmental and social impacts associated with infrastructure projects, located in various coastal environments in Scotland, New Zealand, and Fiji. Originally from the Beauly Firth area of the Moray Firth, Natalie has been applying all that she has learned as a practitioner to the sustainable development of the Moray Firth. This includes working to conserve the coastal environment, supporting local initiatives, and promoting the sustainable use of our seas.

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Drew Ferguson

Marine Conservation and Engagement Co-ordinator

Drew's role as a Marine Conservation and Engagement Co-ordinator is to lead community engagement in coastal and marine issues. Drew is leading the ‘Our Firth, Our Seashore’ project where he will be working on creating marine education content and keeping our coasts clean.

Currently completing his Geography degree at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Drew has taken a keen interest in conservation and sustainability issues and feels passionate about providing the right education to tackle them. Originally from the Isle of Lewis, Drew spent much of his childhood enjoying the coastal environment and developed a love for being outdoors. Drew is usually found enjoying the hills during his spare time - he hopes to spread awareness of the positive effects nature can have on our wellbeing!

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Vicki Merriman

Funding and Projects Manager

Vicki grew up in Cambridgeshire but spent most of her childhood holidays with her Scottish grandparents, building sandcastles on Blackpool beach and exploring rock pools up and down the west coast of Scotland.  With a degree in Economics from Loughborough University, she has worked for various financial institutions throughout the UK, and relocated to the Highlands in 2006.  Now based in Nairn, and having achieved her lifelong dream of living by the sea, she is looking forward to contributing to the sustainable future of the Moray Firth and all of its inhabitants.  

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Sarah Lamb

MFCP Trustee

Born and raised in Wick, Sarah has a strong connection to the fishing industry. Since graduating from Heriot-Watt with a degree in Marine Biology, Sarah has worked in various aspects of the fishing industry including a research position studying the local brown crab and lobster fishery in Orkney through to the commercial side working with seafood exporter Scrabster Seafoods Ltd. Sarah then moved on to become a Development Officer for the Highland & Moray Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG). This role involved supporting groups and businesses to apply for funding through the European Maritime Fisheries Fund. Now working with the Highland Council, Sarah continues to assist delivering various funding schemes such as the Highland Coastal Communities Fund which aims to encourage the sustainable development of our coastal communities. In her spare time, she can be found travelling the coast enjoying life in her campervan.

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Joanne Allday

MFCP Trustee

Joanne is a Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Born in the Lake District, she moved north of the border in 2012 to live amongst the spectacular scenery, wildlife and people of the Highlands. She is an ambassador for the region and actively promotes sustainable development in the area through her current role as the Strategic Business Development Manager for the Port of Cromarty Firth. Her interests include balancing the needs of business, communities and wildlife to create growth that benefits all, and educating the future workforce in the complexities of modern business and social responsibility.

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Ian Williams

MFCP Trustee

During the early years of Ian’s career he was out at sea as a deck officer for the Merchant Navy, often coming ashore to both commercially and technically operate ships of all types worldwide, before moving into the offshore industry. Working as a consultant Naval Architect, Ian designed several mooring and pipeline systems that were delivered both within the UK and on a worldwide scale. Ian also project managed a number of cutting-edge UK oil exporting systems, was part of industry marine committees and acted as the Marine Technical Authority for a number of UK FPSOs. Ian has had a lifelong interest in marine wildlife and since early retirement volunteers in several local charities; he has a special interest in marine planning and the sustainability of the Moray Firth and its coastal communities.

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Crawford Paris

MFCP Trustee

Crawford’s interest in the marine environment stems back to childhood where family holidays were spent exploring remote islands on the West Coast of Scotland for weeks on end. Originally from South Lanarkshire, Crawford moved to the north-east in 2011 to study at the University of Aberdeen in Marine and Coastal Resource Management and latterly an MSc in Environmental Partnership Management in 2017. Shortly after his studies, Crawford accepted a research position with the University of Edinburgh using innovative methods to capture stakeholder visions for the city shoreline, before being seconded to the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership using a similar approach to engage young adults in marine spatial planning. Gravitating back to the north-east, Crawford then moved on to become a project manager at East Grampian Coastal Partnership - running beach cleans and environmental education through the ‘Turning the Plastic Tide’ marine litter campaign. Crawford is now a Sustainability and Climate Change Officer at Aberdeenshire Council, If you don’t see him on the beach, you’ll find him in the hills!

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Alice Walters

MFCP Trustee

Alice started her working life as a primary school teacher but found herself using holidays to volunteer on marine and coastal research projects around the world. She formalised the decision to shift careers with a studentship at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and a Masters of Research at Heriot Watt University. Originally from the United States, Alice moved to the Moray Firth in 2007 for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Aberdeen and Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) to look at making research more accessible to the public. This role combined her love of teaching with her passion for all things marine and the citizen science Shorewatch Programme was born, supporting volunteers to do surveys for whales and dolphins from land-based sites around Scotland. In her current role with WDC, Alice manages the database for the Shorewatch Programme. She feels strongly about making data accessible and likes nothing more than a well-organised spreadsheet!

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David Denoon

David lives in Inverness and has a keen interest in the environment and communities. He contributes towards protecting his local area and likes to be involved with the marine environment. He studied Marine Biology BSc Hons & MSc at Aberdeen University and has a keen interest in Shark species. He has experience with Marine Spatial Planning as part of the Shetland Marine Spatial Plan and is a member of the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership as part of his role with SEPA. He has worked with SEPA in a variety of roles for 13 years. The majority of this is working as a senior environmental data scientist and project manager, with Water Framework Directive and River Basin Management Plans for water quality (mainly freshwater). He also has experience with partnership working in various roles.

MFCP Trustee