Mary Jackson

Mary Jackson
Head of Education and Communities

“… I get excited by so many different aspects of the work we do whether that is taking art into the school grounds, encouraging musical performances outside, undertaking science and environmental projects or cooking outdoors.”

About Mary

When did you start working for LtL and what does your job involve?

I volunteered back in 1992, then started working for LtL in 1996. I have had a variety of roles since that time from Project Officer to my current role as Head of Education and Communities.

My role is quite wide ranging as I work to develop partnerships within the education sector in the UK and overseas whilst also developing and delivering consultancy and training, including our training for landscape architects.
I represent LtL on the International School Grounds Alliance leadership council and the Play Safety Forum and am looking to build relationships and develop new partnerships with organisations and governmental departments in the UK and overseas.

As part of my role I work with the wider LtL team as well as with potential partners, funders, school and university students and staff to develop new project ideas and build on our reputation for delivering innovative projects that give young people not only a voice but also the skills and knowledge to make a difference through and in the environment of their school grounds.

The 3 experiences that have best equipped you for this role?

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I am a bit of a generalist rather than a specialist and have lots of interests. That means that I get excited by so many different aspects of the work we do whether that is taking art into the school grounds, encouraging musical performances outside, undertaking science and environmental projects or cooking outdoors.

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In 2003 I was lucky enough to receive a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust fellowship. This took me around the world to discover what was happening in school grounds in different countries. Since that time I have continued to visit school grounds projects across the globe as a founding member of the International School Grounds Alliance and it great to be able to bring the learning back to schools in the UK.

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Once upon a time I was a secondary PE teacher before I retrained as a Landscape Architect. I think this gives me an understanding of schools grounds from different angles and means I can support both teacher and designers as they work towards making the best of school grounds for pupils and teachers alike.

Mary’s LtL Experience

What has been your best day at LtL and why?

I think that has to be the day I received a phone call from Sir David Attenborough. At the time I was managing a Hampton Court Show garden and we’d invited him, as our patron, to the opening. Unfortunately he couldn’t come so he phoned us up personally to tell us. It was quite late in the day so I had to phone up the only other colleague who I knew would still be working to tell her – all she said was, ‘Who is this?’ as I’d been so excited I’d forgotten to say it was me ringing her up.

Why a pizza oven?

It was tricky to decide on the right image to put here as I do like to do lots of different things outdoors, but in the end it had to be the pizza oven from my back garden. A group of friends and their kids helped me to build it a couple of years ago and I have to say it makes the best pizza! You may also have noticed the chicken sitting next to it. This is something I made on a sculpture from scrap course so it is made of vegetable dishes, lots of spoons and part of a tap. It makes me smile whenever I look at it.

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