VCT Lectures

VCT Lectures

The Annual Environment Lecture was established as a means of discharging our key objective: To undertake research and analysis into wildlife associated with chalk streams and other habitats associated with watercress and other salad crops and to disseminate the useful results for the public benefit with a view to increasing public knowledge and awareness thereof.

They aimed to broaden public interest in the habitats with which we are concerned in particular, and broader issues of sustainability in general.

Judith Batchelar


The 2015 Vitacress Conservation Trust annual lecture was delivered by Judith Batchelar, Brand Director at Sainsbury’s, on Tuesday, 31 March. Hosted by the University of Southampton, the talk explored the potential ideas that come from looking at environmental challenges through a new lens.

View the poster for this event here

Lord Deben


This year’s lecture, Energy and Climate Change: The Challenge – How Shall We Respond? was given by Lord Deben, at the University of Southampton.

Watch the lecture here

View picture of the lecture here

Chris Huhne


This year’s lecture, Can We Afford Not To Invest In Renewable Energy? was given by Chris Huhne, MP for Eastleigh in Hampshire.  The lecture, hosted by Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, was well attended. 

The audience, which included a number of students from the college, enjoyed a robust and thought-provoking lecture followed by a lively Q&A session at the end. For further information about the event, please email

2010 Environment Debate


The Vitacress Conservation Trust 2010 Environment Debate took place at The Turner Sims Concert Hall, The University of Southampton.

The debate was introduced and moderated by Lord Selborne, Patron of the Trust at the time.  The three speakers, Professor Ian Crute, former Director of Rothamsted Research Centre; Tim Nevard OAM, Executive Director of Conservation Grade Farming and Lord Peter Melchett, Organic Producer and Policy Director of the Soil Association each gave a 10 minute presentation airing their contrasting views on ‘Eating the Future’.

They then took questions from the audience which was made up by over 200 members of the public and invited guests.

View Tim Nevard’s presentation

View Ian Crute’s presentation

VCT Lecture 2009


The third Vitacress Conservation Trust Environmental Lecture was held at Southampton University on Thursday, May 2009.

This year’s lecture was given by Chris Packham. One of the University of Southampton’s most high-profile alumni, Chris is widely acknowledged as a presenter, author and photographer with an unrivalled passion for the environment. He has recently joined BBC2’s popular live wildlife programme Springwatch

At an exciting and critically important time for environmental issues, Chris both challenged and stimulated thought with his lecture, addressing current attitudes to conservation and what is influencing practice and policy. He considered the problems of complacency, inflexibility and sentimentalism and how a new generation of ideas and initiatives are challenging such views.

Steve Rothwell, a Vitacress Conservation Trust Trustee says: “We were delighted Chris agreed to deliver the third VCT Environmental Lecture. His local roots, global perspective and passion for conservation combined to deliver a most stimulating evening”.

VCT Lecture 2008


The second Vitacress Conservation Trust Environmental Lecture took place at Southampton University on 1 May 2008.

Professor John Beddington CMG FRS, Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Office for Science, gave a fascinating presentation entitled “Sustainability in a Changing World”. This highlighted various global challenges and possible solutions to them, covering food, energy and water security in the context of climate change, population growth and alleviating poverty.

The lecture also considered how governments, non-governmental organisations and others need to work together and use science, technology and engineering to help combat the threats posed.

Professor Beddington commented:

“Issues surrounding sustainability and climate change are increasingly coming to the fore for everyone. The challenges we face on matters such as food and energy security are serious.

I am grateful to both the University of Southampton and the Vitacress Conservation Trust for inviting me and I welcome this opportunity to outline my thoughts on some of these issues.”

VCT Lecture 2007


On 27 March 2007, the University of Southampton hosted the inaugural Vitacress Conservation Trust annual environmental lecture.

We were delighted to secure a high profile speaker, Helen Philips, Chief Executive of Natural England, who gave a lecture on Chalk Rivers: A World-Class Environment. An audience of over 200 delegates heard Helen speak about the biodiversity and wildlife of chalk rivers in the UK. Helen discussed the role Natural England is playing in helping to conserve and protect these important habitats. The work being undertaken in conjunction with the watercress industry is mainly centred on the headwaters of chalk rivers in the south, to draw-up an operational code of practice.

Our Other Activities…

School Visits

School Visits

Children have been discovering the wonders of the natural environment through up close and personal encounters with mini-beasts and freshwater creatures. Our visits to Vitacress Salads’ Abbotts Ann Farm run in conjunction with Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s education team.



Our forums encourage discussion and new ideas for the management of the wellsprings of some of Europe’s most ecologically important rivers. Find out when our next annual Chalk Stream Headwaters forum will be taking place.