Norfolk Wildlife Trust chief executive Brendan Joyce has received an OBE for services to nature conservation.

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk Wildlife Trust CEO Brendan Joyce at Hickling Broad. PHOTO: Nick ButcherNorfolk Wildlife Trust CEO Brendan Joyce at Hickling Broad. PHOTO: Nick Butcher (Image: ©archant2017)

The award was made in recognition of his commitment to protecting Norfolk's wildlife over a career of 30 years in conservation that has seen him lead the trust for 22 years.

Commenting on the award, which he received on November 16, Mr Joyce said: 'It is an incredible honour to receive this award from our Patron, Her Majesty the Queen.

'In recognising my work for Norfolk's wildlife, it also highlights the work of all those around me at the trust both staff and volunteers. 'It also reflects a willingness amongst people in Norfolk to believe in the rights and value of our natural world and I am privileged to champion conservation on their behalf.'

His vision for Norfolk is to see the future of wildlife in the region protected and enhanced through 'sympathetic management' and, crucially, that people are connected with and inspired by region's wildlife and wild spaces.

Major achievements by Mr Joyce during his tenure with the trust include the undertaking of landscape-scale conservation – Living Landscapes – a 50-year programme to create ecological networks and help wildlife survive in the threat of climate change.

This has included significant land acquisitions across the county, including Cley Marshes, Roydon Common NNR and most recently 655 acres of Hickling Broad NNR.

The largest of the Broads, Hickling is a year-round haven for wildlife.

Major projects protecting Norfolk's threatened habitats have also seen the creation of new wetlands in the Wissey Valley and their restoration in the Broads.

In 2007, under Mr Joyce's leadership, the trust opened a new visitor centre at its flagship Cley Marshes nature reserve while the Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre was opened there in 2015 by Sir David Attenborough and Ben Garrod.

Since he joined NWT in 1995, membership of the Trust has trebled, with the current figure standing at over 35,500 members.

Mr Joyce has always believed education to be a crucial factor in the future of nature conservation, and under his leadership more than 25,000 school children and local people annually attend events, workshops and nature reserve visits to learn about Norfolk's wildlife and habitats.