About

In 1982 The Conservation Foundation was formed by David Shreeve and David Bellamy to promote positive environmental news, awareness and action.


An environmental entrepreneur from the outset, for 30 years we have been creating original initiatives that have inspired and enabled thousands of people to engage with the environment.


Our projects are run as partnerships - with corporate and individual sponsors, government departments, media organisation, trusts and foundations. We also create and manage award schemes, awareness campaigns, publications and events covering a wide range of environmental issues.


The Conservation Foundation is a registered charity number 284656. To view our accounts and other information please visit the Charity Commission's website.


  • 1979

    The roots of The Conservation Foundation go back to an elm planting ceremony in October 1979 in Harlow, Essex, which grew into a European-wide project with the support of Pitney Bowes.

  • 1982

    Elms Across Europe raised awareness of the plight of the English Elm and helped to provide a tree which enabled elm biodiversity to be maintained. The scheme also showed commercial organisations that there was an opportunity for them to become involved in environmental issues. As a result Pitney Bowes supported the launch of The Conservation Foundation in 1982.

    For the Foundation the year also marked the start of the Ford Awards, a conservation grants scheme that ran for almost two decades, the recording of Serefina: The story of a whale, which was voiced by David Bellamy, Joanna Lumley & Tom Baker, and the first Conservation Annual.

  • 1983

    As well as publishing the second Conservation Annual, 1983 also saw the launch of the Acorn Green Toys and Comics which enabled a children's nature area to be created in Sherwood Forest.

  • 1984

    1984 saw the Foundation launch the Electricity Council's environmental awards for projects especially designed for people with disabilities.

  • 1985

    The year saw the Foundation work withNatWest on the Environmental Entrepreneurs Guide, the launch of the Rare Species Board Game, and Spike Milligan help to launch the third Conservation Annual.


    1985 also saw the launch of the Young Scientists for Rainforests grants scheme for ethno-medical and ethno-botanical research.


  • 1986

    Healthier Profits: Business, Success & The Green Factor was published, and The Country House Awards were launched with the support of The Sunday Telegraph and Jackson-Stops & Staff.

  • 1987

    The year saw the launch of the Ancient Yew Tree and, with the Great Storm, also the Observer Tree Appeal to help those in need. The What? On Earth book was also published, along with the Environment Now Magazine and the Bisto Kids Wonderful World of Nature book. David Bellamy also helped launch the Foundation's Oak Wood Map of Britain.

  • 1988

    The Foundation worked with Osborne & Little to produce the Puff Fabrics for Barn Owl Conservation.

  • 1989

    The TSB Environmental Investor Fund was launched for environmental research into the investments held, it also saw the launch of the Network 21 magazine to help environmental initiatives and organisations collaborate, along with various products to raise funds for environmental schemes including the unusual Fluppets - children's puppets to support the Madagascan Environmental Research Group - a Wildlife Wallpaper Range, the Save the World Board Game. There was also the Daily Telegraph & Natwest Clean Technology Competition and the Lifestyle Magazine, the "green guide to healthy living".

  • 1990

    The new decade brought with it the start of the Parish Pump Programme, a DEFRA-supported newsletter to help communities collaborate on green initiatives and become aware of the support available to them. The Alp Action campaign also launched with the Bellerive Foundation, and the PA Golden Leaf Awards were launched to encourage good environmental management within the business community. The Cooking to Conserve book was also published to support environmental work in Kenya and the Scouts Green Charter was established. The CO-OP Wildlife Families Fund was also established for environmental projects such as Scottish barn owl conservation, re-introduction of Chough birds in Cornwall and the Nower Wood Dormice Project.

  • 1991

    The London's Green Corners Awards were launched, along with a competition with BBC Radio 5: In the News for young reporters. The year also saw an Awareness Tour of Peru's Environment.

  • 1992

    Celebrating the 777th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, a New Magna Carter was launched. The Tourism for Tomorrow Conference was also run with British Airways, whilst the Foundation also published The Road from Rio after conducting a survey of business views of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.

  • 1993

    The grant giving Lloyds Alerts were launched for community groups and an initiative to encourage support for Russia's environment was launched at the Victoria & Albert museum, with a conference in Suzdal in Russia the following year.The year was also the start of the Wessex Watermarks, a grant giving scheme that the Foundation runs to this day.

  • 1994

    In 1994 the Foundation launched the Channel 4 Amateur Naturalist Pack, the LEDU Guides to The Green Economy support videos (no Youtube yet!) and David Bellamy planted Kew Garden's Time Capsule.

  • 1995

    The first of a series of Master Classes featuring leading experts in environmental fields for business executives with environmental responsibilities began.

  • 1996

    The David Bellamy's Conservation Awards were launched to encourage good practice in the tourism industry, along with a series of Elm Workshops for national and European elm enthusiasts & local authority tree officers.

  • 1997

    The first of many editions of Yew News was launched as was the Walt Disney Children's Summit which brought together young people from around the world to share their environmental experiences.

  • 2000

    The Yews for the Millenium project began distributing thousands of saplings and a song by Graham Preskett was produced for the occasion.

  • 2001

    The Foundation helped to form the Friends of St James' Cemetry who campaign for the restoration of an important site in the centre of Liverpool, whilst the Network 21 publication went digital with Newsnet 21. Whilst a series of events with the New Renaissance Group began including a workshop held in Edinburgh which brought together experts sharing an interest in action to promote a sustainable future for humanity in harmony with nature.

  • 2004

    Big Bird Races, designed to spotlight the plight of the albatross from long line fishing, began with the Challenge cup presented by Prince Philip.

  • 2007

    The Foundation began it's first project with O2, the O2 Its Your Community awards which gave grants for community projects, and also the launch of the Tools Shed garden tool recycling project for prisons, schools and community groups.

  • 2008

    A a pop-up allotment in one of the world's most famous gardens was undertaken through the Spring Renaissance at Covent Garden which showcased among the best of the London's Green Corners awards.

  • 2009

    Our nationwide elm project, The Great British Elm Experiment was launched. So far it's provided saplings to over a thousand schools and community groups.

  • 2010

    Gardening Against the Odds which honours unsung gardening heroes who bring joy to others was launched with The Sunday Telegraph, whilst our second project with O2, the O2 Think Big awards were also launched, with a new focus on grants for young people.

  • 2011

    Our Heritage Lottery Fund supported Ulmus londinium project was launched to raise awareness of London's elm heritage and to record and regenerate the elm population.

  • 2012

    In 2012 the Foundation celebrated it's 30th anniversary!