Meet the Business for Biodiversity Team

Meet the people behind the platform

Lucy Gaffney

Platform Manager

Before taking on her role as BFBI manager, Lucy worked in the life sciences sector, pivoting to biodiversity and natural capital in 2021. She has a proven track record of launching and leading successful ventures in the life sciences sector and is now considered a leading voice in Ireland’s transition to a nature positive economy.

Lucy has been passionate about nature all her life. Her answer to the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” was always “a conservationist”. She is keenly aware of the challenges that lie ahead but lives by the mantra “we’re not looking for perfect, we’re looking for better”.

Lucy is a keen gardener, working in harmony with nature. Since she moved to her home in 2020, she has planted 75 native flowering trees in her garden and allows much of her garden to exist without interference. This has created an ecosystem that supports a rich variety of local species including foxes, sparrowhawks and frogs.

Iseult Sheehy

Operations

Iseult is a Political Ecologist, working at the nexus of environment, economics, politics and sociology. She has BA in Economics and Political Science, an MSc in Development and was a Fulbright Scholar with the Indigenous Design and Planning Institute in the University of New Mexico, studying aspects of Puebloan and Navajo praxis for sustainability.

Iseult is the former Executive Coordinator of Natural Capital Ireland where she brought her expertise in Natural Capital to many national projects including Ireland’s 4th National Biodiversity Action Plan and the National Economic and Social Council’s Valuing and Accounting for Nature in Ireland briefing paper. Iseult is an Adjunct Teaching Fellow at Trinity College Business school where she coordinates an undergraduate module on business management and environmental crisis and has a keen interest in fostering ecological knowledge across disciplines.

In a previous life Iseult toured internationally with Riverdance as a crew member and witnessed ecological crises such as deadly air quality, severe clear felling and polar ice melts around the world. This was the catalyst for her to move into the environmental space where she has found incredible resilience and optimism collaborating with individuals and organisations to imagine and facilitate a nature-positive future.

Emer Ní Dhúill

Research

With qualifications in horticulture, ecology and botany, Emer received a PhD in conservation biology in 2014 and has had a long career as an ecologist surveying both rare and invasive plant species in Ireland. She is a national expert on the iconic Killarney Fern, a protected species in Ireland and Europe and has developed monitoring guidelines for this species to enable the continued assessment of its conservation status.

Emer’s work as an ecologist has brought her to some of the most remote and beautiful places in Ireland. However, during many field surveys, she has witnessed the negative impact of invasive species and certain land use practices on Ireland’s biodiversity. This pushed her to think more deeply about the biodiversity crisis, focusing on understanding what our impacts and dependencies on biodiversity are. In 2021, Emer joined Natural Capital Ireland as part of the Research Team and has worked on an array of projects and workshops relating to natural capital, biodiversity, and nature-based solutions. Emer also worked with the Heritage Council and Science Foundation Ireland delivering educational workshops on ecology.

Emer has appeared on two TG4 television programs to share her expertise on plant species that she has surveyed. This gave her the opportunity to communicate with a wider audience and also to improve her Irish! Emer has a grá for the Irish language, in particular how Ireland’s nature is intertwined with so many of our place names.

Fiona Smith

Communications

Having started out as an arts and culture writer, Fiona has focused on environmental communications since 2019, when she joined Natural Capital Ireland as Communications Executive. She has since led outreach on several major biodiversity-related projects including Peatlands Gathering, Data 4 Nature and the EPA’s INCASE (Irish Natural Capital Accounting for Sustainable Environments), with Business For Biodiversity Ireland the biggest challenge yet.

Learning about the natural capital approach has been a real eye-opener with regard to the cross-cutting implications of nature loss and degradation for all sectors of society and economy – from health to food to tourism – and how it can be applied at national and ground level to truly value our natural resources.

With an ongoing interest in creative writing, Fiona is interested in the role of storytelling and the media in influencing behaviour, and ever hopeful that biodiversity will be embraced in the mainstream before it’s too late for us to successfully act collectively.

With a degree in History and Greek & Roman Civilisations, and having also worked in the heritage sector, Fiona enjoys how nature is interwoven with history and mythology. She grew up in a new estate next to a cromlech stone in a field full of dandelions and hares, not far from Puck’s Castle, the Witch’s Hat and Killiney Strand.

Contact: fiona.smith@businessforbiodiversity.ie

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