Helen Smith completed her PhD in plant ecology at UEA and undertook post-doctoral research in conservation management at Oxford University. Her career took an unexpected turn in 1991 when she moved to live on the edge of Redgrave & Lopham Fen and met her new neighbours – the large, lovely and all-too-exclusive raft spiders. It was love at first sight and she has led the conservation programme for the species ever since. This has successfully established new populations in Broadland and turned her kitchen into a rearing facility for thousands of spiderlings. Currently president of the British Arachnological Society, she now takes all 660+ species of UK spiders under her wing. Her local valley fens have inspired her other passion, the Little Ouse Headwaters Project; this grass-roots movement has restored and reunited many of the area’s fragmented valley fens.