News and events
NBN Award winners 2019
The winners and runners up of the NBN Awards for Wildlife Recording 2019 were announced at the Albert Hall, Nottingham during an evening ceremony on Wednesday 13 November 2019.
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 2019
Michael Sinclair, (age 15, from Glasgow, Strathclyde) is the winner of the NBN Young Person’s Award 2019. Michael records birds, moths and bats and is an ambassador for the Cameron Bespolka Trust as well as being a Young Rewildling Ambassador for Scotland the Big Picture.
Michael Sinclair, winner of the NBN Young Person’s Award 2019, says:
“With our nature under ever-greater threat, I think it’s so important to record and share information that will help us understand how different species are affected by challenges like habitat loss, climate change and environmental pollution.
“I’m passionate about involving young people in nature and have devoted lots of my spare time volunteering in my local community to set up a nest-recording group as well as delivering bat walks and setting up an Eco-committee at my school that now has over 15 active members. There is no better feeling than seeing other people my age get excited about nature.”
The runner up of the NBN Young Person’s Award is 19 year old Will Scott, from North Yorkshire. He is actively recording and monitoring birds locally and feeding into BirdTrack. He is also committed to engaging and connecting others to the natural world.
NBN Newcomer Award 2019
Sue Taylor, (from Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire) is the winner of the NBN Newcomer Award 2019. Sue has taken up regular wildlife recording in the last few years and is now carrying out surveys and other activities for a range of organisations, including Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, Butterfly Conservation and Buckinghamshire Invertebrate Group.
Sue Taylor, winner of the NBN Newcomer Award 2019, says:
“Our Natural world is in trouble, I can’t solve all the problems but I can provide data to help others to more clearly understand the effects that major issues such as climate change, or local factors such as site management, have on our wildlife and in particular the Invertebrate fauna.
“Recording has taken me to some wonderful places and a purpose for being there. It has also brought me into contact with some incredibly talented and inspirational people including the Wardens and Rangers who care for the reserves and entomology experts who have been very generous with their knowledge.
“The big bonus is that I really enjoy it all. I love being out and about, finding and watching invertebrates, seeing the connections between living things and then the challenge of learning to identify them. Sometimes there is also the thrill of finding rarely recorded species and I can share the excitement with the other like-minded people I meet.”
The runner-up of the NBN Newcomer Award is Cerin Poland (from Truro, Cornwall) – a dedicated and passionate naturalist with a huge enthusiasm for scientific recording, nature conservation, and sharing his knowledge with others.
Currently studying for a degree in Conservation and Ecology, the runner-up has a natural interest in recording and observing wildlife. What he can’t learn on training courses, he researches himself, using photography as an aid in identifying unknown species. He then confirms his sightings and identification with County experts before submitting his records. He takes up all opportunities to shadow local experts in the field, always looking to improve his skills and knowledge. He is also adept at researching the life-cycle stages of things that he discovers and then going out looking for those too.
Unfortunately Cerin was unable to attend the prize-giving ceremony.
NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Marine 2019
Dawn Watson, (from Saxmundham, Suffolk) is the winner of the NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Marine 2019. Dawn has been the regional coordinator for the Seasearch project in East Anglia since 2007. She typically completes 50-60 field survey forms per year and has submitted over 36,000 taxonomic records to the Seasearch dataset which is publicly available on the NBN Atlas under a CC-BY licence.
Dawn Watson, winner of the NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Marine 2019, says:
“I have been excited about the underwater world since watching Jacques Cousteau with my father on black and white TV in the 1970s and finally took up diving with a local club in 1998. They were proper BSAC divers who were mostly interested in metal wreckage and what could be prised off it – I was much more interested in finding out what all the colourful squiggly things living on it were!
“In 2005 the club was contacted by Seasearch and offered an Observer course which opened up a whole new world to my partner Rob and myself. We were soon travelling the country and going on dives and courses with like-minded people who became long lasting friends.
“Marine recording still feels very much like a frontier – new things can arrive in your local area that nobody has ever described; we have a purple sponge in Norfolk that lives within 100m of the beach that doesn’t even have a scientific name and has never been recorded anywhere else!”
The runner-up of the NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Marine 2019 is Jane Pottas, (from Whitby, North Yorkshire) Seashore Recorder for Whitby Naturalists’ Club and also an active member of the Yorkshire Naturalist Union’s Marine and Coastal section.
Although a good all-round marine recorder, Jane’s real passion is seaweed which she describes as ‘the Cinderella of the sea’ because it is so often underappreciated or ignored. As a member of the British Phycological Society’s Biodiversity and Conservation Committee, Jane helps to ensure that seaweed records are used to inform policy and environmental decision-making.
Unfortunately Jane was unable to attend the prize-giving ceremony.
NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Terrestrial 2019
Ian Wallace, (from Liverpool, Merseyside) is the winner of the NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Terrestrial 2019. Ian has been recording caddisflies since the 1970s. In the intervening years he has visited every corner of the UK to make new records of this under-recorded group. Since establishing the Caddisfly Recording Scheme Ian has amassed over 410,000 records!
Ian Wallace, winner of the NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Terrestrial 2019, says:
“Every record advances our knowledge of a species’ biology and is thus a little bit of science in action. That has always driven my ambition as a personal recorder and underpins my efforts to improve identification resources to continually increase the number of people who will add caddis to the groups they record.
“These days I probably spend as much time helping others identify caddis, especially as photographs, as doing my own recording.
“Half a million records on the NBN Atlas means caddis are no longer a seriously under-recorded group but it is the intrinsic value of each record that keeps me going and fuels my ambition to help others.”
The runner-up of the NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Terrestrial is Alan Outen, (from Shefford, Bedfordshire) Recorder for Bryophytes of both the British Bryological Society and the Bedfordshire Natural History Society for 40 years and also Hertfordshire Recorder for Fungi for over 30 years and for Bedfordshire for 13 years.
Unfortunately Alan was not able to attend, but Wilf Powell, Honorary Chair of the Bedfordshire Natural History Society accepted Alan’s award on his behalf.
NBN Group Award
Joy of Wildlife group is the winner of the NBN Group Award 2019. They started in 2012 and concentrated on invertebrate recording in Shropshire. Since then, the group has widened to include botanists, birders, mycologists and lichenologists. All the members of the Joy of Wildlife group possess a love of nature as well as a breadth and depth of knowledge that is the envy of many professional ecologists.
Keith Fowler, Coordinator of the Joy of Wildlife group, says:
“The purpose of the group has changed over the years from the initial excitement at finding a target species or group for an atlas project to helping the Shropshire Wildlife Trust and other landowners and managers understand the range of invertebrates that use their land.
“It is always brilliant to find a new or rare species for an area or even the vice-county but it is equally important to us to record the more common species. We each have our own specialities and abilities but we try to learn off each other to broaden our knowledge and we will endeavour to show things of interest to anyone who joins us or ambles up to us to ask “what are you doing?”.
“However the most important factor is that we enjoy what we are doing and the camaraderie of the group; this encourages others to come along and try their hand at what we do.”
The runner-up of the NBN Group Award is Croxteth Park Volunteer Group (from Liverpool, Merseyside). They run Wildlife Recording Walks – that are open to everyone who wants to come along and discover the wonders of their park, as well as organising moth trapping and recording sessions.
Neil Hodges, Chair of the National Biodiversity Network Trust said:
“I am delighted that the NBN Awards for Wildlife Recording give us the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of so many of the UK’s unsung wildlife recording heroes. Their tireless efforts – often voluntary – deserve due recognition. These wildlife recorders not only improve our knowledge of this country’s biodiversity, thereby contributing greatly to the call to save our threatened habitats and species, but they also enthuse other people about nature and the great outdoors.”
This year we are indebted to six organisations for their support and sponsorship of the prizes:
1. Opticron for sponsoring the NBN Young Person’s Winner and Runner up and the NBN Newcomer Winner and Runner up.
2. Mrs Ceri Leigh for sponsoring prizes for the NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Terrestrial and the NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Marine.
3.Field Studies Council (FSC) for sponsoring the prize for the NBN Group Award.
8. William Collins for sponsoring prizes across the categories
You can also see who were shortlisted as the 2019 NBN Award Finalists.
John Sawyer NBN Open Data Award
The Earthworm Society of Britain is the winner of the John Sawyer NBN Open Data Award 2019.