The NBN Trust was formed in 2000 as a means of overseeing and facilitating the development and work of the National Biodiversity Network.

Today the concept of sharing information about wildlife is widely accepted. To appreciate fully where we are today, however, we need to step back to the 1980’s to understand how the idea for a network was formed and also to chart the highs, and a few initial lows, which have seen the evolution of the NBN to the functioning network for nature, which now exists.

1988

  • Linnean Society Report, “Biological Recording: Need & Network” was produced by Prof. Sam Berry. This project was promoted by the National Federation for Biological Recording (NFBR) and Biology Curators Group under Paul Harding.

1990

  • 1990: The Co-ordinating Commission for Biological Recording (CCBR), chaired by Sir John Burnett, started work on research for building a case for a national system.
  • 1990-1992: Collation of detailed data on data holdings, their location and use throughout the UK1995: CCBR Report “Biological Recording in the United Kingdom” was published. This included a detailed national scheme for Biological recording and publication coincided with “Biodiversity: the UK Steering Group Report – Meeting the Rio Challenge”. The CCBR proposed national scheme was rejected by the then Department of the Environment, hence the initiatives, which followed.

1996

  • Initial moves to establish a UK-wide biological recording network. Foundation of NBN partnership.

1998

  • The first NBN Business Plan was submitted to the Millennium Commission for funding, but failed.
  • The Linking Local Environmental Records Centres (LERC’s) Project started by the WLTs
  • Sir John Burnett became Chairman designate for, what was to become, the NBN Trust.

1999

  • NBN Partnership confirmed, and NBN Trust proposed.
  • Dr Jim Munford appointed as Programme Director and Jo Purdy as Company Secretary.

2000

  • NBN Trust formed as a charitable company limited by guarantee.

2001

  • The prototype Gateway started.
  • The Linking LERC’s Project ended.
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Joint Venture Agreement started
  • Linking Societies & Schemes Project Officer (now Development Officer), Trevor James, appointed.
  • Access & Accreditation Project Officer (later Data Access Officer), Oliver Grafton, appointed.
  • November: First NBN Conference held at the Natural History Museum – “New perspectives in biological recording”

2002

  • Technical Liaison Officer, Andy Brewer, appointed.
  • November : Second NBN Conference held at the Natural History Museum – “Societies in the National Biodiversity Network: reviewing opportunities”

2003

  • Watsonian Vice County Boundaries digitisation project undertaken
  • Species Dictionary website launched with Sophia Lambert, Director of Wildlife, Countryside & Flood Management, Defra as the guest speaker
  • November : Third NBN Conference held at the Natural History Museum – “The appliance of science: biological recording for new applications”

2004

  • Habitats Dictionary launched
  • New Gateway site launched. Ben Bradshaw, Minister for Nature Conservation and Fisheries, makes keynote address.
  • September – The NBN Gateway begins to make data available to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).
  • November – Fourth NBN Conference held at the Zoological Society of London – “How real are your records?: exploring data quality”
  • November – Defra funding helps to set up the Harlequin Ladybird project as the invasive creature first arrives in Britain
  • December : Mandy Henshall joins the team as Communications Officer

2005

  • 18.5million species records and 136 different datasets available on the Gateway
  • Business Analyst, Geoff Johnson, appointed
  • The end of an era as Sir John Burnett steps down as Chairman
  • New beginnings as Sir Neil Chalmers takes the helm.
  • February – Prototype web services rolled out
  • March  – Automated uploading and the regular replication cycle begins – NBN exchange format and validator established.
  • June – The new release of the Gateway version 3.1 launched including a redesigned database which allowed more data to be held.
  • July – NBN is Organisation of Note in Geographical magazine
  • September – First Honorary Members Award given to Paul Harding MBE
  • September – Second Honorary Members Award given to Sir John Burnett
  • November – Third Honorary Members Award given to Bob George
  • November – Fifth NBN Conference held at the Natural History Museum – “Focus on wildlife: current activities in societies & schemes”
  • November – An article on the Gateway features in British Wildlife magazine. The number of visits hits 100,000

2006

  • January – NBN contributor badges launched
  • March – 20 million records on the Gateway and it is receiving an average of 120,000 visits per month. 20 millionth record is a common mayfly (Baetis rhodani), which was recorded in the Upper Tweed by the Tweed River Purification Board. The record was sent to the Gateway by Craig MacAdam of CAMSTARS (the Caddisfly, Mayfly and Stonefly Recording Scheme).
  • April – Wadham brainstorming session with Trustees to review strategy
  • June – NBN article appears in IEEM’s In Practice magazine
  • July – Improving Wildlife Data Quality guide produced
  • July – Web services launched
  • September – Data Access Group is formed under the chairmanship of Keith Porter
  • November – Volunteer Development Group formed under the chairmanship of Amy Coyte
  • November – Sixth NBN Conference held at the Natural History Museum – “Who has been using our records?: making use of data through the NBN”
  • November – Fourth Honorary Membership Award given to Charles Copp
  • December – Use of NBN for analysis and trends appears in BES “Bulletin”

2007

  • Running a National Recording Scheme or Society Guidance produced
  • New NBN logo and brand identity launched
  • March – Almost 25 million records available through the Gateway (59 different datasets from 29 organisations)
  • Agency meetings throughout the year with Chairman and Programme Director
  • June – NBN article in IEEM’s In Practice magazine
  • NBN submits evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Science Technology during their enquiry into the state of taxonomy in the UK
  • BRERC starts project to submit data to the Gateway
  • 22nd July – Sir John Burnett dies
  • 19th September – Jeff Watson (NBN Trustee) dies
  • October – Graham French joins the team as Technical Liaison Officer
  • October – Two day technical workshop held
  • November – Gateway developer Jon Cooper relocates to CEH Lancaster
  • November: Seventh NBN Conference – “Recording together: data flow and data partnerships”
  • November – Fifth Honorary Membership Award given to Trevor James
  • November – Review of LERCs published
  • November – All Wales LERCs launched
  • December – Defra contract ends
  • December – OPAL is awarded Big Lottery Funding. NBN is awarded £350,000 to develop attributed polygon data and an on-line recording tool
  • 2007 – 08 New Gateway hardware infrastructure

2008

  • February – new Defra contract secured until 2011
  • March – online training survey helps to shape the future training delivered by the NBN
  • March – the Gateway holds 28.3 million records from 230 datasets
  • March – National Trust submit Wicken Fen dataset
  • April – RHS submit their invasive species datasets
  • Statements of Intent launched
  • Governance review undertaken. Programme Director becomes Chief Executive
  • April – Inaugural John Burnett Memorial Lecture given by Lord May of Oxford
  • May – NBN Trust Secretariat move to new offices in Nottingham
  • August – Richard Burkmar joins the team under the OPAL work programme
  • September – Strategy Implementation Group has inaugural meeting
  • September – Gateway servers moved to CEH Wallingford
  • NSS and LERC liaison groups disband
  • November – OPAL launches
  • November – NBN Eighth Conference : Making records count: exploring the many uses of wildlife data
  • November – Sixth Honorary Membership award given to Steve Cham
  • November – New NBN website launched and promotional material
  • December – Biological Records Centre moves from Monks Wood to CEH Wallingford. Monks Wood closes

2009

  • March  – 32.5 million records on the Gateway
  • July  – new version of web services released
  • August – Richard Burkmar leaves the team
  • September  – Deryck Steer retires as MD of JNCC and steps down as Treasurer of NBN Trust
  • September – Charles Copp, NBN Trust Honorary Member passes away
  • October – Kathryn McAuley joins the NBN Trust Secretariat as Communications Officer
  • October  – Indicia, the online recording toolkit (developed under OPAL) is rolled out
  • 19th November – One day technical seminar held at the Natural History Museum
  • November – Ninth NBN Conference – Non-native species: alien invaders or benign newcomers? Held at Royal Institution of Great Britain
  • November – Seventh Honorary membership Award given to Sam Berry
  • 20th November – Darwin Guide to Recording Wildlife launched (produced under Defra contract)
  • December  – Paul Gilbertson and Selvameena Dhandapani join the Gateway development team.
  • December – Lynn Heeley joins the team as Technical Liaison Officer

2010

  • January – Oliver Grafton leaves the NBN Trust team to work for BARS
  • 12th March – Ecological Consultant’s Seminar held at the Natural History Museum
  • March – 50 million records on the Gateway
  • 23rd March – RISC (Recording Invasive Species Counts) Project launches at The Linnean Society
  • August – NBN Trust is 10 years old
  • August – Paula Lightfoot joins the team as Data Access Officer
  • August – Easy maps become part of NBN website
  • September – Jo Purdy leaves the NBN secretariat after 11 years with the NBN Trust
  • September – Eighth Honorary membership awarded to Derek Lott
  • October – Tenth NBN Conference “Opening opportunities for biodiversity – working with the NBN”. Held at The Royal Society
  • October – Annual John Burnett memorial lecture delivered by Dr Andy Clements, BTO

2011

  • January – Kathryn McAuley leaves the NBN Trust
  • February – 60 million records on the Gateway
  • 4th April – Gateway version 4 is released with new mapping functionality
  • 4th April – Sarah Hyslop joins the NBN Trust as Business Administrator
  • May – NBN Record Cleaner released
  • June – Get Map URL launched on the Interactive Mapping Tool
  • June – Honorary member, Derek Lott passes away
  • July – The first OPAL dataset is uploaded to the NBN Gateway (earthworms)
  • July – Corfe Mullen is the first BioBlitz to use Indicia
  • August – Web Mapping Services (WMS) are released
  • September – Instant Indicia is launched
  • October – NBN Gateway version 4.1 is released
  • October – Consultation on the NBN Gateway data access controls is launched
  • 15th October – Data management tools workshop takes place in Edinburgh
  • 18th November – Eleventh NBN Conference – “Evolution or revolution? The impact of technologies on biological recording”. Held at The Royal Society. Richard Benyon MP delivers the keynote address
  • 18th November – Annual John Burnett memorial lecture delivered by Sir Neil Chalmers
  • 19th November – Data management tools workshop takes place in London
  • 22nd November – Johannes Vogel resigns as NBN Trustee
  • 30th November – First phase of the Consultation on the NBN Gateway data access controls ends
  • December – Defra confirms a new contract with the NBN Trust for 2011-2014
  • 15th December – New look NBN website launches
  • December – NBN Record Cleaner version 1.0.6.9 released

2012

  • January – Second phase of the Consultation on the NBN Gateway data access controls commences
  • January – Earl of Selborne is announced as NBN Trust Patron
  • January – Tom Hunt is appointed as ALERC National Coordinator
  • February – NBN Record Cleaner version 1.0.7.0 released
  • February – NBN Gateway version 4.2 released
  • 21st February – Final Board of Trustees’ meeting with Sir Neil Chalmers as Chair
  • 21st February – Alan McKirdy resigns as Trustee
  • 21st February – Dr Roddy Fairley and Ian Owens co-opted as NBN Trustees
  • February – Record breaking month in terms of the number of datasets loaded onto the NBN Gateway, with 75 datasets added
  • 27th February – Sir Neil Chalmers retires as NBN Trust Chairman
  • 1st March – Professor Michael Hassell CBE FRS becomes the Trust’s third chairman
  • 20th March – Data management tools workshop takes place in Birmingham
  • 8th April – 70 million records on the NBN Gateway. The species in question is a lichen – Parmelia saxatilis
  • May – 75 millionth record uploaded to the NBN Gateway – Impatiens glandulifera (Himalayan Balsam).
  • May – Data access controls consultation – outcome published
  • June  – Charles Hussey retires from the Species Dictionary. He is replaced by Chris Raper.
  • July – iRecord launches
  • July  – LERC accreditation launches
  • July – NBN Trust 2011-2012 Annual Report published
  • August – Biological Recording and Species Identification Programme saved and transferred to the Manchester Metropolitan University
  • November – New version of NBN Record Cleaner released
  • November – Andy Clements becomes a Trustee
  • 23rd November – Twelfth NBN Conference “Biological recording – fit for purpose?” takes place at the Royal Society and is videod for the first time
  • 23rd November – Annual John Burnett memorial lecture is delivered by Sir John Lawton
  • 23rd November – John Newbould receives Honorary Membership of the NBN Trust
  • December – NBN Trust Secretariat moves offices
  • December – Richard Pywell becomes a Trustee
  • December – Julia Blanchard becomes a Trustee

2013

  • January – Guide to the NBN Data Exchange Format is updated
  • February – New version of NBN Record Cleaner released
  • February – North East Yorkshire EDC receives LERC accreditation
  • February – NBN holds special two day strategic meeting
  • March – Natural Resources Wales launches
  • March – Teresa Frost becomes a Trustee
  • 20th March – NBN Trust celebratory event “A quarter of a billion records project – celebrating the present, looking to the future” is held at the Natural History Museum
  • April – New look NBN eNews launches
  • April – New NBN RESTful Web Services developed
  • April – Thames Valley ERC receives LERC accreditation
  • May – Jennifer Ashworth becomes a Trustee
  • May – iRecord ladybird phone app launches
  • July – National Federation for Biological Recording achieves charity status and becomes National Forum for Biological Recording
  • August – New NBN Trust membership schemes launches
  • August – NBN displays at INTECOL 2013
  • August – New NBN Record Cleaner rules
  • August – Defra published Triennial Review
  • September – NBN displays and hosts a workshop at the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy Conference
  • September – Pond Conservation becomes Freshwater Habitats Trust
  • September – 90 million records on the NBN Gateway
  • October – NBN Gateway version 5 launches
  • October – NBN Trust convenes a meeting to discuss Pollinators at the Natural History Museum
  • 9th November – Bob George, the NBN Trust’s fourth Honorary Member passes away
  • 15th November – 13th annual NBN Conference is held at the Royal Society with a theme of “Future Challenges for the NBN”
  • 15th November – Honorary membership award given to Stuart Ball
  • 15th November – Sir John Burnett memorial lecture given by Professor Bill Sutherland
  • December – NBN Conference survey carried out

2014

  • January – Paula Lightfoot leaves as the NBN Trust’s Data Access Officer
  • 20th January – Workshop to discuss use of NBN data with the research community is held at the Natural History Museum
  • February – Rachel Stroud is appointed as the NBN Trust’s Data & Liaison Officer
  • March – NBN exhibits at Ecobuild
  • March – New Director of OPAL UK appointed
  • March – John Sawyer is appointed as the NBN Trust’s new Chief Executive, to take over from Jim Munford on 1st May 2014
  • March – Confirmation that the ALERC National Coordinator role will continue until September 2014
  • March – rNBN package is available in beta mode for testing
  • March – Natural Capital Committee second report published
  • May – John Sawyer takes over as CEO and Jim Munford steps down
  • August – NBN Strategy consultation commences
  • September – 100 millionth species record (2-spot ladybird) is added to the NBN Gateway
  • October – NBN Strategy consultation – outputs are summarised
  • October – NBN Strategy workshops take place in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland
  • November – NBN Strategy workshop takes place in England
  • 20th November – Two Gateway workshops held to discuss T&C and needs analysis
  • 20th November – first meeting of Gateway User Group takes place
  • 21st November – 14th NBN Conference held at The Royal Society, London with a theme of “Climate, collaboration and collection – Informing the new conservation agenda”
  • 21st November – Honorary Membership given to Jim Munford and Val Burton
  • 21st November – Sir John Burnett memorial lecture given by Professor Chris Thomas
  • November – Peter Doherty of Atlas of Living Australia spends a week in the UK talking about the Atlas and data storage
  • December – Field Studies Council becomes 100th member of the NBN

2015

  • January – First version of NBN Strategy drafted
  • January – UK Wildlife Portal created – working with Atlas of Living Australia
  • January – NBN Gateway Technical and User review report finalised
  • January – Case Study for the data.gov.uk website written on the Release of Data Project
  • February – Giselle Sterry joins the team as Business Administrator to cover Sarah Hyslop’s maternity leave
  • February – Successful bid to Release of Data Grant projects for end of year money for ongoing work to project manage existing contracts and publish data
  • March – New Communications Strategy published
  • March – Atlas of Living Wales and Northern Ireland meetings held
  • 3rd April – NBN is fifteen!
  • April – NBN draft Strategic Action Plan 2015-2020 released for comment
  • May – Ella Vogel joins the team as Consultants Portal project Officer
  • July – Lizzy Arnold starts a summer internship with the NBN
  • July – Alan Stewart and Tim Hill join the NBN Board of Trustees
  • August – NBN Strategy 2015 -2020 is published
  • August – UK Awards to celebrate biological recording and information sharing are launched
  • August – BRERC makes all of its non-sensitive species records, older than 15 years, available to the public at full resolution on the NBN Gateway.
  • September – Purba Choudhury joins the team as Communications Officer
  • September – Atlas of Living Scotland launches in beta form
  • September – NBN Crowdsourcing Data Capture Summit
  • September – Data Holding Certificates for NBN Data Partners published
  • September – Consultants Portal reaches 16000+ records
  • October – Ben Brown joins the team to carry out a Recorder Motivation project
  • October – Atlas of Living Wales meeting with Welsh Government and Northern Ireland process started
  • 6th November – John Sawyer, NBN CEO dies
  • 17th November – Rachel Stroud becomes interim CEO
  • 19th and 20th November – First ever two day NBN Conference held in York with over 170 delegates attending
  • 19th November – Winners of the inaugural UK Awards to celebrate biological recording and information sharing announced at a special evening ceremony in York
  • 20th November – Sir John Burnett memorial lecture given by David Stroud
  • 20th November – Honorary membership of the NBN given to Bill Ely
  • 6th December – NBN Gateway map used in BBC Countryfile feature on Wild Boar

2016

  • January – James McCulloch (winner of the Gilbert White youth award 2015) features in My Agenda in the January issue of BBC Wildlife magazine
  • February – David Fenwick (winner of the David Robertson adult award 2015) features in My Agenda in the February issue of BBC Wildlife magazine
  • February – NBN and SBIF agree to bring the two organisations together to improve alignment
  • March – NBN response to “Opinion” article on confusion of recording schemes in December 2015 BBC Wildlife magazine, published in letters, March 2016 issue
  • 1st April – Christine Johnston becomes the NBN Scottish Liaison Officer
  • 1st April – Giselle Sterry becomes the NBN Membership and Business Development Officer
  • 23rd May – Jo Judge becomes the NBN CEO
  • 27th May – NBN Atlas Scotland launches to stakeholders at the RBG, Edinburgh
  • August – first meeting of the Working Group for Captivating & Engaging
  • 25th October – Nottingham in Parliament Day
  • 17th and 18th November – Sixteenth NBN Conference is held at National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh.  Almost 180 delegates attended.
  • 17th November – Winners of the 2016 UK Awards for biological recording and information sharing announced in Edinburgh
  • 18th November – Sir John Burnett memorial lecture given by Charles Godfray
  • 18th November – Honorary membership of the NBN given to Steve Wilkinson
  • November – NBN Atlas is shortlisted for Nature of Scotland Awards
  • November – Data Partner Agreements circulated to all data partners for transfer of data to the NBN Atlas from the NBN Gateway

2017

  • February – Rachel Stroud leaves the NBN
  • February – Biological recording display installed at Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
  • February – Duncan Rowland joins the NBN team as temporary Programmer for the NBN Atlas
  • 28th February – deadline for the return of Data Partner Agreements for transfer from the NBN Gateway to NBN Atlas.
  • 31st March – NBN Gateway is turned off. Thanks for the memories.
  • 1st April – NBN Atlas, NBN Atlas Scotland and NBN Atlas Wales go live.