The Team

The Team

Shumaisa Khan (Community Gardener, Researcher) interests have taken her through the realms of social sciences, international development, and grassroots movements, all underpinned by her interest in advancing ecological and social justice. In recent years, she has also been exploring traditional healing systems, plant medicine, and regenerative food systems as vehicles to repair both cultural and ecological distress. She feels arts and humanities are crucial, particularly at this juncture of extreme polarisation, in facilitating different ways of expression, and creating spaces for dialogue and reflection.

Dimuthu Meehitiya is our resident Ecologist and Environmental Educator. Dimuthu has worked in conservation for over 25 years, specialising in multiple urban biodiversity enhancement projects, outdoor learning and ecological surveying.

Educated in Environmental Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, he has subsequently worked for organisations such as the London Wetland Centre, the London Wildlife Trust, Bristol Science Centre and the brilliant Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

Rasheeqa Ahmad (Medical Herbalist) is a medical herbalist based in Walthamstow, East London.

She trained at the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine in Glasgow and at Middlesex University (Archway Herbal Clinic) in London, gaining a 1st-class Honours degree and the Ellis Snitcher Memorial Prize for Integrative Medicine in 2012.

Rasheeqa leads on the Mobile Apothecary project alongside a growing network of talented volunteers spanning the areas of arts, herbalism, and horticulture/growing. Since April 2019, she has been bringing people together to collectively learn about medicinal plants and create herbal medicine at Phytology, for distribution to fellow community members facing barriers to health, food, and shelter.

Olly Edmonds (Ecologist) is an experienced Field Ecologist with over six years’ professional consultancy experience in undertaking protected species surveys and ecological appraisals for a wide range of development project. Bats are Olly’s ecological specialism and alongside bat roost character and activity surveys, he has experience in endoscope work, tree surveys and internal and external building inspections. Olly also has extensive experience in relation to other taxa and European Protected Species (e.g. badger, birds, bats, great crested newt, hazel dormouse, otter, reptiles and water vole), alongside Phase 1 habitat surveys, Preliminary Ecological Appraisals and BREEAM/CSH assessments. He has also developed skills in data analysis, report writing, and designing, implementing and overseeing mitigation strategies as an Ecological Clerk of Works.

.Naseem Fatima Khan OBE {11 August 1939 – 8 June 2017} (Co-Founder)  was a British journalist, activist, cultural historian and educator who was influential in effecting policy change about cultural diversity. She wrote a report entitled The Arts Britain Ignores in 1976, which was the first major study highlighting the integral part played in UK culture by black and Asian artists, and also that year she founded the Minority Arts Advisory Service (MAAS). As a journalist she was one of the first theatre reviewers for Time Out magazine, and later wrote regularly for publications including the New Statesman, The Guardian and The Independent.


Margaret Cox (Co-Founder) is a local instigator of one of the largest networks of community allotments in East London, transforming her estate into a food growing hub. She is also the Chair of the Teesdale & Hollybush Tenants and Residents Association, which have taken stewardship of the 1-acre parcel of land, known as Bethnal Green Nature Reserve, since the late 1990s. Cox has lived in the neighbourhood since she was 9, and has been visiting and caring for the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve for the past 50+ years. She referred to herself as the Nature Reserve’s “Mum”.

Michael Smythe (Co-Founder) is an artist and creative director of Nomad Projects, an independent arts foundation that develops experimental projects across digital and location-specific spaces. Nomad Projects critically engages with issues surrounding environmental and social justice within the urban landscape. Michael studied installation, performance and art history at the Australian National University, Canberra, and Hochschule Der Künste, Berlin.

Email – if you would like to become a Bethnal Green Nature Reserve Friend.