Helen Jacobs


A colour photograph of a woman sitting at a table covered in an informative scientific poster

Aug 2017 – Presenting conservation work to NWG board members (Image provided by Helen Jacobs)

  • BORN 1981, St Asaph, Wales, UK
  • WORKED I was lucky enough to start my career at Essex & Suffolk Water straight from University and have been with them ever since!  Before this I worked in my school holidays for companies such as BNFL (British Nuclear Fuels Ltd) in Warrington and FTSE in London, which gave me a good insight into how different businesses run.
  • HONOURS BSc, MSc, MCIEEM; In 2010 I was made a full member of my institute, the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.
  • MINERVA SCIENTIFICA PROJECT Echoes from Essex 2020

Artistic Connections

I do consider creating a garden as an artistic endeavour. A few years ago I worked with two others to create a garden in an overgrown area at my children’s school. It is now tended by a group of students in the gardening club and produces plentiful fruit, flowers and tadpoles each year!


Title: Splash Burble Gurgle Whoosh – The Essex Water Cycle Mega Song
First Released: Online during the Covid-19 Pandemic, 7th Sept 2020 as part of the “Echoes from Essex” project

This truly MEGA song was written and performed in August 2020 by Essex children who took part in workshops online with Essex & Suffolk Water Scientists, electric voice theatre composers FRANCES M LYNCH and CHERYL FRANCES-HOAD, Essex Music Hub Workshop Leader Nicola Collis and Artist Jack Cornell

The project was supported by the Arts Council Emergency Response Fund (National Lottery).


I was lucky enough to have 2 engaging science teachers at school and so I knew I wanted to study Biology and Chemistry at A-level. Before starting my Ecology degree at Durham University, I spent time volunteering at a national park in Borneo, helping to create a botanic garden. This gap year experience certainly strengthened my love of forests, plants, and showed me the urgent need for conservation. On returning I completed a Master’s degree in Taxonomy and Biodiversity at Imperial College hosted at the Natural History Museum in Knightsbridge.


As a student I earned money as a bar maid, a receptionist, an office assistant and a data entry clerk.  Other than that I have always been an ecologist.

Getting muddy planting reeds at Abberton Reservoir (Image provided by Helen Jacobs)

Scientific Achievements

  • I am proud that I have brought all of Essex & Suffolk’s woodland into sensitive management to improve it’s value for wildlife. I have worked with the Forestry Commission and various county Wildlife Trusts to do this, and because working with woodland is such a long-term commitment, I hope it will be carried on by whoever does my job next.
  • I have recently helped with a project to re-introduce the native black honey bee to Essex. More information can be found here.
Did You Know?

During my Master’s degree I worked in one of the two iconic towers at the Natural History Museum which is actually a micro-biology lab. We would sit on the outside of the tower to eat our sandwiches and look out over London!


The first female scientist to inspire me was my own mother, June Crabtree. In the 1960s she was one of the few women studying Chemical Engineering in the UK and she went on to have a full career in the nuclear energy industry tackling some of the big issues like how to reprocess the waste fuel. She was made a Fellow of her professional institute and never missed an opportunity to encourage young people into engineering!