The winners of the 2018 UK Awards for Biological Recording and Information Sharing were announced at a special evening ceremony at the Albert Hall, Nottingham on 21 November 2018.
These awards have been developed by the National Biodiversity Network, the National Forum for Biological Recording and the Biological Records Centre. Their intention is to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions made to biological recording by adults and young people, which is helping to improve our understanding of the UK’s wildlife.
David Robertson Adult Award
Bryony Chapman (working in Maidstone, Kent) is the winner of the 2018 David Robertson Adult Award for recording marine and coastal wildlife.
Bryony has worked tirelessly for Kent Wildlife Trust for the last 14 years and was responsible for developing and running the Shoresearch and Seasearch programmes in Kent.
Her expertise and enthusiasm for sharing knowledge has inspired a generation of volunteer divers and coastal surveyors, increasing their knowledge and identification skills and leading to the collation of a detailed data set for the Kent Coast.
Bryony Chapman said:
“The thing that excites me about biological recording is the element of discovery – finding a species that’s new to me or observing behaviour I haven’t seen before, and I also love being part of a fantastic community of amateur naturalists with whom I can share these discoveries.
“Being able to use and contribute to the NBN Atlas is a huge motivating factor – it is very important to me to see my records in a national context and I love being able to fill gaps by putting new dots on the map!”
Download photo of Bryony Chapman receiving her award.
Gilbert White Adult Award
Trevor James (from Ashwell in Hertfordshire) is the winner of the 2018 Gilbert White Adult Award for recording terrestrial and freshwater wildlife.
Trevor has been a county recorder for both plants and beetles in Hertfordshire for 40 years. Almost entirely self-taught, he is the author of Flora of Hertfordshire (2009) and of Beetles of Hertfordshire (2018). Trevor has made an outstanding contribution to the taxonomic and geographic understanding of plants and beetles, both at county level and nationally.
Trevor James said:
“I became hooked on wildlife recording as a youngster, and found it rewarding contributing to the bigger picture of our knowledge, firstly with birds and then with other things. It led to my later career as a naturalist in a local museum, then setting up Hertfordshire’s local records centre and finally working alongside the UK BRC at Monk’s Wood for the NBN Trust!
“In the meantime, I also became an organiser of plant recording in Hertfordshire and then with the BSBI nationally. I had also taken up the study of Coleoptera locally while I was in a local museum and have kept that on ever since. For me, the main driver is finding real facts to back up conservation effort. Part of it is also the camaraderie of working alongside others with similar interests.”
Download photo of Martin Harvey receiving the award on behalf of Trevor James.
Gilbert White Youth Award
Mya-Rose Craig, 16 years old (from Compton Martin in Somerset) is the winner of the 2018 Gilbert White Youth Award for recording terrestrial and freshwater wildlife.
Mya-Rose Craig said:
“I am ecstatic to win this prestigious Gilbert White Youth Award. Obtaining my BTO C Licence for bird ringing, as soon as I reached the age of 16 was very important to me, allowing me to ring alone in my garden regularly. As is taking part in the garden Bioblitz.
“I have been bird ringing and taking part in the BTO Nest Recording Scheme since I was 9 years old and feel that it is really important scientific work.
“Encouraging other teenagers to enjoy bird ringing and bio-blitzing is also really important to me, especially those who live in areas of deprivation or are Visible Minority Ethnic (VME). I have organised four camps, Camp Avalon, engaging these young people. Doing a bioblitz, bird ringing and mothing are always hugely popular. It is moving to watch a VME teenager who has never been to the countryside hold a bird and see the pure delight on their face and understand the importance of what they are doing.
“I hope that through the organisation I have set up, Black2Nature, we can reach out to even more young people.”
Download photo of Larissa Roberts receiving the award on behalf of Mya-Rose Craig.
Adult Newcomer Award
George Greiff (from Ventnor on the Isle of Wight) is the winner of the 2018 Adult Newcomer Award for wildlife recording.
At only 22 years old, George is self-taught and has recently compiled a paper on the bryophyte flora of the Sandown Bay area of the Isle of Wight. He is developing an interest in lichenicolous fungi – an area that even experienced lichenologist know little about. Almost all of George’s records have been new for the Isle of Wight and some of his records (confirmed by experts) are actually new to the UK!
George Greiff says:
“The Isle of Wight has been a wonderful base for local recording and identification of the groups of organisms I am most interested in – bryophytes and ascomycetes, including the fungal parasites of bryophytes and lichens.
“I developed my interest in cryptogamic botany when I encountered my first liverwort, Conocephalum conicum, growing on the damp brickwork of a Victorian railway bridge. It has somewhat spiralled out of control since then and I have found many very interesting and rare species in my area, some new to the UK. Most of these are obscure fungi, showing that amateurs can contribute to the national database.
“I am now in my first year of study reading biology at the University of Oxford.”
Download photo of George Greiff receiving his award.
Lynne Farrell Group Award
Capturing Our Coast (covering all the coasts of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) is the winner of the 2018 Lynne Farrell Group Award for wildlife recording.
Capturing Our Coast is a project run by a group of organisations across the UK, including six research institutes and universities, the Marine Conservation Society and Earthwatch. The aim of the project is to work with citizen scientists across the country to survey biodiversity across the coastline and improve our understanding of the distribution and abundance of intertidal species, that are historically under-recorded.
In three short years, over 100,000 species presence/absence and abundance records have been submitted to Capturing Our Coast. These records cover over 50 different intertidal species covering a range of taxonomic groups, from red and brown algae to molluscs and crustacea. In addition, the group have run a number of successful public campaigns, including timed searches for invasive species on shores throughout the UK where 70 citizen scientists contributed 315 full surveys.
Dr Jane Delany, Project Lead at Capturing Our Coast, says:
“Many of our volunteers get involved because they have a love of the coast, they live on the coast and want to explore it more, or because of an interest in wildlife and marine species.
“What keeps them going are the exciting, unexpected finds, and the fact that when you start looking, you find far more than you ever expected. The sheer diversity of wildlife they encounter feeds their interest and makes them want to learn more. It is also a great way to spend time outdoors, do something meaningful, get involved in local marine conservation and meet people with similar interests.
“The sheer variety of activities we offer has been the key to the breadth of our appeal to such a wide range of audiences – people can get involved despite limitations of time, tides and knowledge, and can find things to do as part of an existing hobby, or to entertain their family, and whether it be at home or on holiday. We hope we are right in saying that there has been something available for anyone who has shown any interest, whatever their motivation!”
Download photo of Stephanie Dickens and Jade Chenery receiving the award on behalf of Capturing Our Coast.
Professor Michael Hassell, Chairman of the National Biodiversity Network said:
“The painstaking work that individual and groups of biological recorders undertake over many years is lamentably not publicly recognised all too often. We wanted to correct that, and celebrate the outstanding contributions that British biological recorders have made to improving our understanding of wildlife in the UK.”
This year we are indebted to six organisations for their support and sponsorship of the prizes:
1. Opticron for sponsoring the prizes for the Adult Newcomer Award, the Gilbert White Youth Award, the Gilbert White Adult runner-up and the David Robertson adult runner-up.
2. Paramo Directional Clothing for sponsoring the prizes for the Gilbert White Adult Award and the David Robertson Adult Award.
3. Field Studies Council (FSC) for sponsoring the prize for the Lynne Farrell Group Award.
4. Nature Photographers Ltd for sponsoring prizes in the following categories: David Robertson Adult winner, Gilbert White Adult winner, Gilbert White Youth winner and runner up, Adult Newcomer winner and runner up and Lynne Farrell Group winner and runner up.
5. British Wildlife for sponsoring prizes for the Gilbert White youth runner up and the Adult Newcomer runner up.
6. NHBS for sponsoring prizes for the Gilbert White youth runner up and the Adult Newcomer runner up.
John Sawyer NBN Open Data Award
The Wildlife Trusts is the winner of the 2018 John Sawyer NBN Open Data Award.
Download photo of Nigel Doar and Donal Griffin, representing the Wildlife Trusts, receiving their award.
From left to right:
Michael Hassell (NBN Chairman), Nigel Doar and Donal Griffin (from The Wildlife Trusts – winners of the 2018 John Sawyer NBN Open Data Award), George Greiff (winner of the 2018 Adult Newcomer Award), Stephanie Dickens and Jade Chenery (from Capturing Our Coast – winners of the 2018 Lynne Farrell Group Award) and Bryony Chapman (of Kent Wildlife Trust – winner of the 2018 David Robertson Adult Award).