Awards are presented at our AGM where we recognise outstanding individual and group contributions and present lifetime achievement awards.
The volunteers awards recognise and celebrate all the hard work our volunteers across the three counties do throughout the year, every year, in all weathers, giving so generously of their time and skills.
“It’s no understatement to say that without our volunteers we simply wouldn’t be able to achieve the results for wildlife that we do”
Meet the winners!
For their Outstanding Individual contributions
John has been an active volunteer with BBOWT since 2011 when he first joined the Berkshire midweek team in the year he ‘retired’ at 75 years old! He quickly became a key member of the group, working his socks off and engendering a keen sense of identity and camaraderie within the group. Aside from running regular surveys for fungi, orchids and geology, John has also led guided walks and taken on a mentor role for the Wildlife Trainees. John has developed a great feeling of trust, friendship and companionship within the team.
Carol is dedicated, loyal, reliable and completely unflappable! She has been supporting College Lake’s education administration since early 2014. Among her many tasks she works on the education database bookings, even ringing schools before their visit to make sure everything is in order, collates data for reporting and generates all the ‘paperwork’ that is needed for the team. Whilst most of what she does is unseen, she is a hugely important and valued part of the team and her impact is vital.
Dedicated and enthusiastic, Elizabeth Henderson (or 'Liz') plays an essential part in running the charcoal burning at Warburg Nature Reserve. This allows the raw materials from coppicing to be transformed into a sellable product. She ensures the whole process, from the burns to the unloading of the kilns, runs smoothly. This includes visiting the kilns, sometimes several times, at the end of burning to check the smoke - necessary for determining when the chimneys should be closed off. She has also run charcoal burning training courses for volunteers and members at Warburg Nature Reserve, again providing essential support and organisation to the course from beginning to end.
Peter is a long-term dedicated volunteer, a reservoir of extremely invaluable historical site knowledge at Warburg Nature Reserve, who has made a huge contribution to the charcoal burning team at Warburg Nature Reserve. He takes conservation very seriously, and he is the technical lead in the charcoal burning. Peter does a lot of research into safety Equipment to enable the charcoal team to work safely with this very dusty product. He has also been the driving force behind technical adaptations, including an enclosed rotary sieve that has significantly improved the charcoal produced.
“It’s as if I have been going around blind until now” is a well known phrase to those who attended Sue's 'Introduction to recording invertebrates' course. Sue wrote, organised and presented the course, driven by her desire to share the huge amount of detailed knowledge she has gained about invertebrates. The free indoor and outdoor practical seminar took place over four Sundays at Dancersend. In the words of one attendee, "We were transfixed!"
For their Outstanding Group Contributions
Buckinghamshire Mid-week Team
The Buckinghamshire Mid-Week Team is a “roving” team, which concentrates its efforts in the south of the county. Known as the 'A-Team' they have existed for around 10 years, meeting weekly, often travelling up to an hour to sites, regardless of the weather or task. Part of their role has been helping with our push to restore chalk grassland sites across the Buckinghamshire side of the Chilterns which has benefited many of the rare orchids and butterflies that find their home on these isolated sites. It is no exaggeration to say that, without them, we would not achieve our work plan in South Buckinghamshire.
Chimney Meadows work party
The Friends of Chimney Meadows are recognised for changing what was arable, barren and overgrazed land to the wildlife-rich landscape it is today. Twice a month the volunteers venture out in order to keep on top of all the vegetation and infrastructure management, which is a very big job. The group accomplishes a huge amount in a day from scrub clearance, cutting back protruding branches and making habitat piles, to dead-hedging, fence repairs, and car park maintenance. Each member complements the group with their unique skills, sharing a great sense of camaraderie and a passion to care for the wildlife and to create a positive experience for visitors.
Finemere Volunteer work party
Finemere Wood simply wouldn’t sustain the populations of birds, invertebrates such as purple emperor, and impressive ride and meadow vegetation assemblages without the fantastic dedication of its resident work party. They have completed an impressive list of tasks, including cutting a 50x50m coppice coupe in a winter, plus several ride-side scallops, maintaining deer management lawns, constructing many metres of fencing, path clearance and access work, all taken in their stride and with a smile. The volunteers clearly care about each other, work hard and return to their lives refreshed and cheerful, giving immeasurable benefit to the wider world.
For their Outstanding Individual Contributions
Adrian Bayliss has spent an incredible number of hours observing the breeding activity of key bird species at College Lake. Thanks to Adrian’s dedication, we have been able to get accurate numbers about the breeding success of all five of our key breeding species for the last three years. This data is vital for our habitat management.
Judith Bishop is a long standing volunteer who assists our membership team. She is never daunted by the amount of membership packs she has to process! She has become a valued member of our membership team and we sincerely appreciate her volunteering with us.
Stuart Edwards has been an active volunteer with the Trust for more than six years. Volunteering at Woolley Firs, he has helped us to implement our grazing plan across multiple sites. He has also helped us to fulfill our stewardship obligations, which has enabled us to bring this work in house with a considerable financial saving for the Trust.
Rick Saunders began volunteering with BBOWT in 2010, and immediately brought to the team his passion for conservation, learning, and supporting others. He has participated in just about every type of practical task there is including surveying, handling grazing animals, felling and fencing – and writing articles for the Oxford Mail!
Val Siddiqui volunteers in the External Affairs team at HQ. She played an important role during the 2017 general election when we were contacting parliamentary candidates. Val’s contribution forms a key part of our advocacy effort to engage politicians and organisations about the importance of the environment.
For their Outstanding Group Contributions
Bob Evans and Mike Wells volunteer with the Conservation, Policy and Strategy team at HQ. They help support the team with data management and provide technical know-how with data management and analysis. They have each helped immensely with areas of work which the team would otherwise not have the time or expertise to do.
David Croucher and Malcolm Edwards have volunteered at College Lake for more than eighteen years. They have built, modified and refurbished many buildings to a very high standard. The effect of the projects on the facilities provided for visitors, staff and volunteers at College Lake is immense.
The Nature Memories Café volunteers welcome people with dementia and their carers to the Nature Discovery Centre in Thatcham each week. The volunteers help up to 30 people at each session to engage in activities that connect them to the natural world. People leave the sessions feeling valued and supported.
The Oxfordshire Mid-Week Team is a group of around 15 people have who been volunteering for the Trust for many years. This hard working group has dealt with this year’s snow storms and blistering summer heat. They also helped set up and run Countryfile in August. The Reserves Team would not have been able to get this far without our Mid-Week Team.
The Upper Ray Meadows work party is formed of 16 volunteers who meet weekly and cover nine nature reserves. By installing stock fencing, coppicing and hedge-laying they have helped ensure that our wildflower meadows are in fantastic condition. The hedgerows have been given a new lease of life and are perfect for Brown and Black Hairstreak butterflies. The group assists with the management of sites which up until now we have struggled to maintain.
The Wild Banbury volunteer group has made a huge contribution towards the conservation of wildlife habitats in Banbury’s public spaces. They are always ready to get their hands dirty and try something new. This year they have helped to restore a pond in icy weather, and worked hard during this year’s incredibly hot summer.
Lifetime Achievement Awards
George Bray has been an important part of College Lake’s arable project for many years. His specialist knowledge of how to grow incredibly rare plants has helped the project to become nationally important. He has enabled many people to enjoy rare and beautiful species and has also helped to raise awareness of the impacts that intensive farming has had on certain species.
Martin and Sue Smith have been involved with Hartslock nature reserve and the surrounding area for approximately 30 years where they have carried out orchid counts and helped out at a Local Wildlife Site. After years with the Hartslock work party, they also became stock-watchers. Come rain or shine, Martin and Sue venture out on their weekly hike up the steep slopes of the reserve to check on our grazing sheep. We are hugely grateful for their many years of help and support!
Richard Tomlin began volunteering for BBONT in the early 1970s but it wasn’t until he retired in around 2002 that he took on major roles within the BBOWT Chilterns Group. He helps with fundraising, leads bird-related walks, carries out bird surveys at reserves, and designs and produces posters for events.
Ann Wilson became involved with what was then BBONT in 1965. She became the membership secretary for BBONT when the Trust had just 5,000 members and ran a tight ship for many years, working from her kitchen table. Ann has contributed to BBOWT Chilterns events for 50 years. She is a Trust hero with a lifetime of active support for the cause.
John Dellow, Dr John Ward-Smith, Anne Booth, Dr Alan Showler, Becky Woodell, Louise Spicer, Mike Turton and Margaret Cochrane received Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Len Jessup, Rodney Sims and Richard Hall were recognised for their outstanding individual contributions.
The Bowdown Friday Team, The College Lake and Meadow Farm maintenance team, The Nature Tots volunteer group at Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre (SCEEC) and The SCEEC Friday Volunteers were recognised for their outstanding contributions as volunteer groups.
Derek Emes, Dr Michael Keith-Lucas and Shirley Townend from Berkshire received Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Ciaran Kealy from Oxford was voted Volunteer of the Year for his dedication and commitment to the conservation work parties he volunteers with in Oxfordshire.
Woolley Firs Nature Tots Group in Berkshire was voted Volunteer Group of the Year for their professionalism and expertise running popular sessions for pre-school children.
Theale Area Bird Conservation Group, which carries out conservation work at Hosehill Lake reserve was voted Volunteer Group of the year.
Lloyd Garvey from West Berkshire was voted Volunteer of the year for all the many and varied roles he carries out for the Trust.
Roger Frankum, who has retired as warden of Hungerford Marsh after 35 years, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.