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NBN Award winners 2022
The winners and runners-up of the NBN Awards for Wildlife Recording 2022 were announced at the Natural History Museum, in London, on Wednesday 9 November 2022.
These national Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions adults and young people are making to wildlife recording and data sharing, which is helping to improve our understanding of the UK’s biodiversity.
There are five Award categories:
• NBN Young Person’s Award (open to individuals aged 11-20)
• NBN Newcomer Award (open to individuals 21 years +)
• NBN Award for wildlife recording – Marine (open to individuals 21 years +)
• NBN Award for wildlife recording – Terrestrial (open to individuals 21 years +)
• NBN Group Award (no age restrictions)
NBN Young Person’s Award 2022
Amy Fleming, (age 20, from Worcestershire) is the winner of the NBN Young Person’s Award 2022.
Amy joined Worcestershire wildlife trusts ‘outdoor origins: youth volunteer group’ in 2019 and during the last three years has risen though the ranks to now being a supervisor for this group – mentoring new members and working with Wildlife Trust staff to lead and design interesting and engaging sessions for the rest of the group.
As a result of her experience with the youth group, Amy has progressed onto Worcestershire Wildlife Trusts’ traineeship scheme – and became the youngest person to pass her chainsaw licence! She also volunteers on bat surveys, tree surveys, deer surveys, and mammal surveys, and is now working towards her dormouse licence.
Amy Fleming’s nature blog on Instagram and Twitter has over 2,000 followers – and she uses them to raise awareness of contemporary issues within the environment, climate change and conservation as well as for sharing her wildlife photography.
Amy Fleming, winner of the NBN Young Person’s Award 2022, says:
“What excites me about wildlife recording is the anticipation before a survey and knowing that you are playing your part in the collation of crucial data. Before and during a survey you don’t know what you will come across or how many of a species you will find!
“Take dormouse surveys for example, the excitement bought with bagging the nest box, sliding the lid off and seeing a sleeping dormouse or an explosion of juvenile dormice. Every recording session is different, and it is so rewarding looking at the data you’ve collected, knowing that it will be part of vital national research and aiding in natures recovery!”
Download photo of Amy Fleming.
The runner-up of the NBN Young Person’s Award 2022, is 18 year old Joe Fryer, (from North Yorkshire).
Joe volunteers with Nosterfield Nature Reserve, as well as with the East Dales and Tees bird ringing groups. He has so far dedicated his life to birds and even from the age of three, was able to name all the garden birds on the feeders outside.
Now age 18, Joe actively records a variety of wildlife from different taxonomic groups. For example, he carries out butterfly surveys as regularly as twice a week at Nosterfield Nature Reserve – his keen eye can spot up to 50 butterflies in one survey!
Every second of Joe’s spare time is spent on either looking at wildlife or planning what he is going to see next. Every adventure and species the runner-up finds is updated to twitter for his 700+ followers to see.
Joe Fryer, runner-up of the NBN Young Person’s Award 2022, says:
“I find wildlife recording exciting as I can use my findings to see how populations of species have changed due to me helping regenerate and restore habitats in my local area, volunteering at Nosterfield nature reserve.”
captured my interest in observing nature. I enjoy watching how populations fluctuate throughout the year, how years compare to one another and how external factors act on the environment. It is important to try to understand the changes in our ecosystems.”
Download photo of Joe Fryer.
NBN Newcomer Award 2022
James Common, (from Tyne & Wear) is the winner of the NBN Newcomer Award 2022.
With a background previously in birdwatching, James is new to the world of botany, and has been recording plants seriously for just two years. Entirely self-taught, he became a member of BSBI in 2020 and in late 2021, became Vice-County Recorder for North Northumberland (VC68). James now also volunteers his time as an iRecord verifier for plants in South Northumberland.
James Common’s recording is not restricted to plants and in 2022, he took on a personal challenge to find and record all of the North East’s ladybird species. Sharing over 250 records this year alone and uncovering 26 species so far, he has made several exciting discoveries.
From bees to butterflies, beetles and even the odd spider, James regularly shares his finds via his blog, as well as adding all his sightings to iRecord.
James Common, winner of the NBN Newcomer Award 2022, says:
“What excites me most about wildlife recording is the incredible diversity of life that can be uncovered in a tiny area – a street, park or nature reserve. For me, it is the sense of discovery, plain and simple. I find recording goes beyond ‘box ticking’ and is a great way to explore the natural history of my local area. Each day is different, and each species found is a new and exciting discovery, however small.”
Download photo of James Common.
2022 NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Marine
Matt Slater, (from Cornwall) is the winner of the 2022 NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Marine.
Matt has been the Seasearch coordinator for Cornwall on behalf of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, for over 8 years. During this time, he has overseen the collection of over 30,000 records. He is also an active recorder, personally contributing over 5,000 Seasearch records over 18 years.
Matt has also run the Shoresearch Cornwall volunteer programme at Cornwall Wildlife Trust over the last decade. This project has carried out hundreds of surveys to record intertidal species and habitats.
Matt Slater is the consummate enthusiast and is recognised throughout the County for his knowledge and passion for the marine environment. He is the go-to person for all aspects of marine biology in Cornwall and is often featured on regional television. With various media contacts, Matt regularly creates and posts beautiful videos of the marine environment, which help encourage viewers to start recording what they find.
Matt Slater, winner of the 2022 NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Marine, says:
“I have been fascinated with marine life all my life and recording is something that comes naturally! I worked for many years in the aquarium industry where I enjoyed working with local people and fishermen to collect marine records and submit them.
“Since joining Cornwall Wildlife Trust in 2012 I have further developed my skills in citizen science marine surveying and lead Shoresearch Cornwall – a marine recording citizen science project – which has now been launched nationally via the Royal society of Wildlife Trusts, and I am the Cornwall Coordinator for Seasearch a national citizen science programme for volunteer divers and snorkellers.
“I am passionate about recording and have so many favourite groups of organisms and I love how every dive, snorkel or rock pooling session still yields animals and seaweeds that I haven’t seen before despite having been doing this for so many years!”
Download photo of Matt Slater.
Kate Williams, (from Cornwall), is the runner-up of the 2022 NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Marine.
Kate is entirely self-taught and over the last nine years has volunteered with Seaquest Southwest – a land-based citizen science project recording marine species.
During this time Kate has carried out over 400 surveys for the project, equating to 829 hours of effort at 35 different sites around Cornwall and over 50% of the records in the project database are hers!
Kate’s records of rare inshore bottlenose dolphins which reside in Cornish waters, has enabled the Cornwall Wildlife Trust to build up a picture of their population status and key breeding and feeding sites – and they are using this information to inform policy makers.
Kate Williams, runner-up of the 2022 NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Marine, says:
“Collecting data on our wildlife is the only way we will be able to understand, conserve and protect it.
“I started recording at a young age when I became a keen bird watcher with the help of a book loaned to me by my teacher. I have always loved mathematical problems, so data fascinates me, and I soon became a section writer for the annual bird report for the county. Recording then extended to being part of the Garden Moth Recording scheme and moving close to the coast meant that marine recording was the next step.
“The Seaquest SW project run by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust has been my main interest; surveying to record cetaceans and other large marine life. My recording extends to recording dead marine life washed up on the shore and recording the Cornish Grey Seal population with the Seal Research Trust. The Sequest project also gives me the opportunity to share my love of wildlife with people of all ages which is great fun. Everyone always wants to talk about the first time they saw dolphins!”
Download photo of Kate Williams.
2022 NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Terrestrial
Steven Allain, (from Kent), is the winner of the 2022 NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Terrestrial.
Steven has worked hard to both generate and verify records of amphibians and reptiles in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Norfolk since 2016 and in the last two years in Kent.
All of the records that Steven generates are shared with the local Amphibian and Reptile Groups. He is Chairman of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Amphibian and Reptile Group, and also the Norfolk Amphibian and Reptile Group as well as being Volunteer Officer for the Bedfordshire Reptile and Amphibian Group.
Steven is often consulted by Animal and Plant Health Agency regarding the presence of non-native amphibian and reptile species in the UK, and his passion and enthusiasm for amphibians and reptiles, and his unique ways of engaging people helped him to also win the 2022 Anglia Ruskin University Sustainability Champion Award.
Steven Allain, winner of the 2022 NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Terrestrial, says:
“The main thing that excites me about recording amphibians and reptiles, is that they are historically under-recorded. This means that it is fairly easy to discover new populations of even the most widespread species that no one knew were present in an area. For me, it is all about putting dots on maps, and trying to cover as large a geographical area as possible, to help maintain up-to-date distribution maps of our herpetofauna.”
Download photo of Steven Allain.
Imogen Cavadino, (from Kingston Upon Thames), is joint-runner-up of the 2022 NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Terrestrial.
Imogen has encouraged and facilitated the recording of slugs across the UK. An in-depth citizen science project – Slugs Count – run by Imogen, has generated over 21,000 identifications of slug to species, resulting in 3,047 records.
Imogen Cavadino is also a respected and active member of the biological recording community – a user of iRecord and iNaturalist – she has generated over 450 records covering a range of non-slug taxa. However, she is much more active as a verifier, providing over 1000 identifications on iNaturalist, and over 900 verifications for slug records on iRecord.
She is a passionate, skilled and engaging speaker and trainer, influencing a range of audiences and institutions such as the Royal Horticultural Society who no longer refer to slugs as garden pests, but emphasise the role slugs play in balanced garden ecosystems and discourage pesticide use.
Imogen Cavadino, joint-runner-up of the 2022 NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Terrestrial, says:
“I enjoy getting out in the field and feeling connected to nature, but what excites me most about wildlife recording is sharing my knowledge with others and being part of a bigger picture. Slugs and snails are not a very popular and often misunderstood group, so I enjoy educating others about their diversity, roles in the ecosystem and the challenges these species face.
“As an early career scientist, I’ve experienced first-hand how important biological records made by the public are across all taxa. They are vital in increasing understanding of the changes happening in our native biodiversity due to human actions, increased international trade, and climate change.”
Download photo of Imogen Cavadino.
Steve McWilliam, (from Merseyside), is joint-runner-up of the 2022 NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Terrestrial.
Steve founded Cheshire’s Local Record Centre – RECORD – a pilot LRC, in the year 2000. Its existence played a part in the emergence of the National Biodiversity Network and the NBN Trust.
Steve has engaged with several recording systems over the years, and is a prolific user of iNaturalist through his desire for his records to be available, open and of benefit to biodiversity, now and into the future. On iNaturalist, Steve has over 84,000 records, over 3,000 species and has assisted with over 100,000 identifications.
An advocate for the need to record even the most common species, Steve says: “If you don’t know it is there, then you don’t know when it is gone”. He records across all taxonomic groups using his camera and collecting specimens when necessary and for confirmation.
Steve McWilliam, joint-runner-up of the 2022 NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Terrestrial, says:
“A number of things excite me about recording wildlife:
“1. The chance to learn from others when I get things wrong or cannot get a record/specimen/photo to an accurate identification.
“2. The chance to excite others about the natural world which surrounds them and to inform them of the need to understand what we have living with us before it is too late and it has all gone.
“3. The ability to share information about what I see and find with others for many and multifarious uses.
“4. To see my data combined with that from others actually used to make a positive difference to the world, our local areas and to people.
“5. The chance to assist in environmental projects and hypotheses.”
Download a photo of Steve McWilliam.
NBN Group Award 2022
Tice’s Meadow Bird Group, (from Surrey), is the winner of the NBN Group Award 2022.
Tice’s Meadow Bird Group (TMBG) was formally established in 2014 and is involved with a local nature reserve. They carry out both regular formal ecological surveys and casual records – with the visiting public regularly encouraged to record and report their sightings.
TMBG’s bird database contains over 100,000 records, with over 21,000 sightings logged in 2021. These records are shared with the Surrey Bird Club and British Trust for Ornithology. Its pan-species list stands at over 1,500 species recorded at the nature reserve.
The Group’s annual BioBlitz includes walks for small mammals, dragonflies, butterflies, moths, bats and birds, as well as children’s activities and stalls from local conservation groups. Their streaming web cameras inside Kestrel and Barn Owl boxes are particularly popular with the general public, and are used as teaching aids in local schools.
Mark Elsoffer, representing Tice’s Meadow Bird Group – winner of the NBN Group Award 2022 – says:
“Recording the wildlife found at Tice’s Meadow Nature Reserve is a passion for our volunteers – a vital task that combines the joy of being outdoors and amongst nature, with important scientific effort.
“Our volunteers conduct regular scientific surveys of the birds, moths, butterflies, dragonflies and bats on site, with all records uploaded to national schemes for analysis.
“Findings from our biodiversity surveys are reported to the Site Aftercare Management Committee, and taken into account when planning future habitat management and improvement works. The records have also been used in the campaign for the site’s very future, and formed a key piece of evidence that led to the six local councils combining to buy the site and save it for the local community.
“Finding new species for site is a cause for excitement, as is discovering new breeding species, and identifying positive recoveries in threatened species that have been targeted with habitat management to increase their chances.”
Download photo of some members of Tice’s Meadow Bird Group.
Harrow Nature Conservation Forum, (from Middlesex), is the runner-up of the NBN Group Award 2022.
Harrow Nature Conservation Forum was established in 1985. An entirely volunteer organisation of 47 people, it supports the work of the volunteer wardens of the nature reserves and wild open spaces in their locality.
The Forum’s wardens note interesting species on their sites and report them to their central database of over 10,000 records. In addition, they regularly perform more formal surveys covering many different taxonomical groups – and all their data is shared with Green Space Information for Greater London.
Harrow Nature Conservation Forum runs a full programme of guided walks and other activities – all year round – for the public, all free of charge.
Stephen Bolsover, Chairman, Harrow Nature Conservation Forum – runner-up of the NBN Group Award 2022 – says:
“Knowing the names of the plants and animals that one sees in wild places gives pleasure in itself – we can appreciate the complexity of wildlife sites rather than simply seeing a pretty image.
“It is always exciting to find new species and to check databases to see how unique the record of it is – is it new to Harrow? to London? But at base the impetus for recording is to monitor and improve management – is the biodiversity of the sites steady or improving; if not, what should we be doing differently?”
Download photo of some members of Harrow Nature Conservation Forum.
Lisa Chilton, Chief Executive Officer of the NBN Trust, says:
“We are delighted to be celebrating the achievements of these NBN Award winners and runners-up today. Congratulations are wholly deserved by these amazing wildlife recorders who are advancing our knowledge of the UK’s biodiversity – as well as inspiring others to take up the monitoring of wildlife.
“Recording which plants, animals and fungi exist in different locations and habitats is the foundation of wildlife conservation – without this information we can’t tell if our collective efforts to save and restore nature are working or not. Today’s Award-winning wildlife recorders – many of them volunteers – are all going ‘above and beyond’ to help nature!”
Awards Sponsors 2022
This year we are indebted to nine organisations for their support and sponsorship of the prizes:
2. Habitat Aid
5. W.W. Norton
John Sawyer NBN Open Data Award 2022
This Award is given to a member of the National Biodiversity Network Trust who is making a valuable contribution to open biodiversity data in the UK.
The Network has 167 Data Partners and of the 205 million biological records shared on the NBN Atlas, 53.5 million?have an Open licence. This award recognises and celebrates the outstanding contribution of NBN Data Partners towards achieving the NBN mission of “making data work for nature”.
The UK Trichoptera (Caddisfly) Recording Scheme is the winner of the John Sawyer NBN Open Data Award 2022.
This national recording scheme has almost half a million verified records in two datasets on the NBN Atlas – of 198 species of trichoptera. 93% of the records are shared on an Open licence and over 80% have a resolution of 100 m or higher. The datasets cover the period 1813 to August 2022 and both datasets are updated regularly on the NBN Atlas with recent records maintained in both iRecord and the recording scheme’s own database. The scheme is part of the Riverfly Recording Schemes.