Retired NBN Trust Development Officer given British Empire Medal

We are delighted to hear that Trevor James, the NBN Trust Development Officer from 2001 to 2014, has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours list.

The British Empire Medal (BEM) is awarded for a ‘hands-on’ service to the local community and Trevor has been recognised for services to nature conservation in Hertfordshire, after dedicating the majority of his adult life to recording the county’s plant and beetle species.

His work as county recorder for over 40 years set the benchmark for recording animal and plant life species in Hertfordshire and beyond, leaving a lasting legacy for conservation. Now aged 72, Trevor has personally collated more than one million biological records, including 90,000 plants and 20,000 beetle genera. He has also published two distinguished books, ‘Flora of Hertfordshire’ in 2009, and ‘Beetles of Hertfordshire‘ in 2018 – the latter of which was the first of its kind in the UK, with atlas maps and text as well as photos of species

Responding to the news, Trevor told his local Hertfordshire paper, the Comet, how it felt to receive the Medal:

“The overwhelming feeling is pride”, Trevor said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have been awarded all manner of honorary degrees and awards over the years, but to be officially recognised in this way really is the cherry on the cake.”

Trevor added, however, that he owes much of his success to a huge slice of luck at the start of his career.

“In 1973, I applied for a role as keeper of natural history at Hitchin’s North Hertfordshire Museum,” he said. “I was horribly under-qualified, but I happened to be in the right place at the right time.

“During the interview somebody brought a Maybug in, and it turned out I was the only person in the room who could identify it. I gave my little spiel about the Maybug, and they offered me the job!”

Throughout his career, Trevor has used his records to apply pressure on local authorities, and in one case secured the rerouting of an access road to a new estate helping to save a colony of rare beetles.

Trevor was head of ecology at the Biological Records Centre at Hertfordshire County Council, before leaving in 2001 to become Development Officer for National Recording Schemes at the NBN Trust.

Although he retired in 2014, Trevor remains Hertfordshire’s chief beetle recorder, and still serves on the British Naturalists’ Association, and Hertfordshire’s Natural History Society.

In 2018, Trevor was the recipient of the NBN (Gilbert White) Award for Wildlife Recording.

On behalf of all your Network colleagues and friends – Well done Trevor!

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