My time at the NBN – Jonathan Fenn

I’ve been working with the National Biodiversity Network at the Nottingham office for three months as the work placement portion of my PhD, but my time at the NBN has now come to an end.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to help out with the launch of the NBN Atlas, producing guides and videos to help people get to grips with the new service, and hopefully encouraging people to take full advantage of all its various features and functions. Learning all the ins and outs of the NBN Atlas over the past few months has really helped me to appreciate its potential as a means for engaging both seasoned naturalists and complete novices with the biodiversity around them. I have also been helping out with publicising this year’s UK Awards for Biological Recording and Information Sharing – it’s been great to see the nominations coming in and hear from recorders and naturalists from all walks of life and from across the whole country. These awards are a great way of celebrating and appreciating the important work of recorders, and encouraging people to get involved – hopefully it will continue to grow in the years to come.

Biodiversity recording is a far cry from the research I normally conduct in my PhD, where I look at the immune systems of wild mammal populations, and it’s been really refreshing to get out of the lab and get stuck into a completely different facet of biological study. I’ve always had a profound interest in nature and ecology, which is why I think what the NBN does is so important. Free, open access to the NBN Atlas can really help people discover the joy of learning about the plethora of interesting species on their doorstep. In addition, having such a vast wealth of data so readily available is an invaluable resource for conservationists, researchers and ecologists. In a rapidly changing, globalised world, the native wildlife of Britain is under constant pressure from a shifting climate, invasive species and shrinking habitats. In order to protect the health of our ecosystems, we require detailed knowledge of how they might be changing, and the usefulness of such a comprehensive record of our nation’s wildlife cannot be understated.

The NBN has been a great place to work; the whole team has not only been extremely supportive and enthusiastic throughout, but is clearly very passionate about getting people involved in biological recording. I’ll miss working with the Nottingham group, but I greatly look forward to seeing the NBN’s membership grow and the NBN Atlas being used and added to for many years to come.

Thank you Jonathan!

The NBN Secretariat has greatly valued Jonathan’s work during the last three months. His main focus was to create a series of How To Videos and Guides for the NBN Atlas and he has done these very professionally and we hope they will be of great use to the NBN Atlas users.  You can take a look at them on the Help pages of the the NBN Atlas. 

In addition to the Help guides and his work on the wider promotion of the UK Awards, Jonathan has also created a series of top tip emails for registered NBN Atlas users, which we will be issuing in the coming weeks.

Jonathan’s very capable, extra pair of hands came at a critical time for us with the launch of the NBN Atlas and his work has been invaluable.  We wish him all the very best for the future!

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