Dr Trevor Tween is Luton’s answer to David Bellamy – a cuddly, bewhiskered Cambridge graduate who sees beauty all around him.
The council’s 55-year-old senior landscape and ecology officer shares the legendary’s botanist’s enthusiasm for the plant world and believes we’re extraordinarily blessed to live in this part of Bedfordshire.
He said: “Luton is an amazing place with the urban environment so close to the Chilterns’ area of outstanding natural beauty. We’re really lucky to have such a diverse natural landscape right on our doorstep.”
But he admits he’s concerned about the spread of ash dieback and fears containing it will prove challenging, particularly as the spores of the fungus are wind-blown.
He said: “It would be very sad to lose the ash trees that are in many parts of town, in important woodlands and along our roadsides.
“We’re awaiting government guidance on controlling the disease but I suspect it will be very difficult.”
The father-of-two has been interested in the environment as long as he can remember.
His mother taught him the names of all the trees in their local park in Croydon while he was still in his pushchair.
He recalled: “My knowledge was quite remarkable.
“There’s a family story that when we were on holiday in Weymouth I asked the landlady’s husband what he was doing.
“He replied: ‘Planting flowers.’ And I said: ‘What sort of flowers?’”
Trevor read geology, botany and zoology at university. He was the first person to record a sea slug habitat at Croyd Bay in Devon and looked set for a career in marine biology – until he met his librarian wife and settled for something less nautical.
He’s passionate about natural history and delighted that orchids are now growing on Dallow Downs following conservation work some years ago.
“The Chilterns are just one step down from a national park and they’re right on our north east border,” he said. “It’s important we try to preserve that.
“We’ve got Bradgers Hill with its cowslip meadow just off the A6 near Barnfield. It’s like a little bit of heaven, close to an urban development and a school.
“And there are lots of places where you can look down a road and see a nice green hill.” He’s an advocate of teaching youngsters to recognise native species and runs regular nature walks to encourage others to share his whole-hearted enthusiasm for the Luton we live in.
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