TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham has been appointed a Visiting Professor at the University of Lincoln, UK.

The award-winning conservationist, photographer and environmental campaigner will deliver lectures and workshops to students in Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences, sharing his expertise and insights on wildlife conservation.

The host of BBC’s Springwatch series officially opened the new Joseph Banks Laboratories at the University after delivering his first lecture to around 300 students.

He was joined at the ceremony by Charles Darwin the tortoise, who rebuffed the traditional ribbon-cutting in favour of chewing through a chain of his favourite snack – rocket and dandelion leaves! The tortoise lives at the University where he helps researchers develop their understanding of the cognitive capabilities of reptiles.

Chris is a familiar face on UK television screens from a broadcasting career presenting popular wildlife programmes such as The Really Wild Show, Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Secrets of our Living Planet.

As a Visiting Professor, Chris will bring his passion, knowledge and enthusiasm for wildlife to the classroom, challenging students to think differently about the ethical and practical considerations of conservation.

He will work with undergraduates from a range of science subjects, including Biology, Animal Behaviour and Welfare, Zoology, Biomedical, Biochemistry and Bioveterinary Science. He will also deliver sessions for Photography and Media Production students.

Chris said: “If you really care for a subject, you should teach it and I am delighted by this opportunity to share my passion for wildlife and my experiences of some of the most urgent conservation issues we face.

“I have been extremely fortunate to have been able to pursue a career in the areas which fascinate and impassion me. The future is in the hands of this generation and I hope to contribute to preparing them for this responsibility. There is simplicity in nature’s perfection and so much to learn. I am envious of the students at Lincoln who are embarking on that journey of discovery.”

In 2010 Chris was awarded the Dilys Breese BTO Medal for ‘his outstanding work in promoting science to new audiences’ and he is an enthusiastic supporter of many wildlife, conservation or environmental charities. He ran the hugely successful production company ‘Head over Heels‘ making programmes for Animal Planet, National Geographic, ITV and the BBC.

Dr Libby John, Head of the University of Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences, said: “We are delighted to welcome Chris to the academic staff at the University. At Lincoln we provide our students with a varied and engaging programme of scientific study. Students have the opportunity to work closely with world class academics on real research projects, engage in international fieldtrips and conduct a wide variety of project work. Chris will bring a hugely valuable perspective to our conservation teaching which will further stimulate and challenge students.”

CP and ribbon cutting