David Manser, owner of Ponds & Plants, is a 4th generation horticulturist. He had his first greenhouse at age 8, and has built up a lifetime of knowledge regarding plant care and maintenance. David attended college in northern England to broaden his knowledge of all aspects of horticulture, and ran his own landscaping business in the UK when propagation was just a hobby to him. Since moving to the United States in 1992, he has branched out in several different directions. One of those is conservation work. He has traveled all over the world aiding with endangered species and working with organizations such as: The Wildlife Conservation Society and The Turtle Survival Alliance. He has travelled to places such as Thailand, Burma, Singapore, India, Vietnam, Myanmar, Mexico, Belize, and Cambodia.
I’ve been fortunate to work with David Manser for over a decade. We have traveled throughout South and Southeast Asia together in efforts to conserve some of the rarest turtles of the world. He has been incredibly helpful in designing/building ponds for projects where we must raise hatchling turtles for a few years before they can be released in the wild as well as more elaborate and larger ponds aimed at promoting captive breeding.
My first trip with David was to Myanmar in 2007. We flew together to Mandalay and started pond construction almost immediately after nearly 36 hours of being in transit. David always had a smile on his face and was quick to laugh, often at his own expense. He jumped right in and begin teaching our crew on the finer points of a properly executed ‘turtle pond’. The ponds we first made are still a crucial part of conservation programming and have been running flawlessly ever since.
Recently, he has made several trips with me to Cambodia on our most ambitious project to date. His knowledge has proven invaluable in the design and construction of our new breeding center for the Southern River Terrapin, Batagur affinis. I’ve been highlighting David’s volunteer work in-country but I am also indebted to him for the numerous hours on the phone we have had as he has imparted so much of his knowledge into planning this project. He always has taken my calls and given me fair and constructive evaluations of our plans. David is a joy to work with and I hope he can always find the time to travel with me as he truly is one of the best of the best.