BBOWT’s Volunteers recognised at awards

Finemere Volunteer Work Party

The hard work of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust’s (BBOWT) volunteers has been celebrated at a special awards ceremony.

BBOWT held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and conference at Oxford Brookes University on Saturday.

BBOWT has 1,800 volunteers and each and every one of them is important to us.

They are an essential and highly valued resource. They help on the ground, carrying out practical - and often very physical work - on our reserves, they carry out surveys, help with our educational activities and events, work in the office and keep an eye on our livestock. Without them, BBOWT wouldn’t be able to achieve the results for wildlife that it does.

Five people received awards for their outstanding individual contribution.

Carol Dedman has been supporting College Lake’s education administration since early 2014. While much of her work is unseen, she is a hugely important and valued part of the team and her impact is vital.

Driven by her desire to share the huge amount of detailed knowledge she has gained about invertebrates, Sue Taylor wrote, organised and presented the 'Introduction to recording invertebrates' course. The free indoor and outdoor practical seminar took place over four Sundays at Dancers End.

Carol Dedman and Sue Taylor

Carol Dedman and Sue Taylor

Elizabeth Henderson plays an essential part in running the charcoal burning at Warburg. This allows the raw materials from coppicing to be transformed into a sellable product. She has also run charcoal burning training courses for volunteers and members at Warburg, again providing essential support and organisation to the course from beginning to end. 

Peter Simpson is the technical lead of Warburg’s charcoal burning team. He does a lot of research into safety equipment to enable the Charcoal team to work safely with this very dusty product.

John Ashford has been an active volunteer with BBOWT since 2011 when he first joined the Midweek team in the year he ‘retired’ at 75 years old! 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.

Peter Simpson

Peter Simpson

Three groups received awards for their outstanding group contributions.

The Buckinghamshire Mid-Week Team concentrates its efforts in the south of the county. Known as the 'A-Team' they have existed for around 10 years, meeting weekly, often traveling 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 benefitted many of the rare orchids and butterflies that find their home on these isolated sites.

The Buckinghamshire Mid-Week Team

The Buckinghamshire Mid-Week Team 

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. 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.

The Friends of Chimney Meadows

The Friends of Chimney Meadows 

Without the 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. The volunteers clearly care about each other, work hard and return to their lives refreshed and cheerful, giving immeasurable benefit to the wider world.

Finemere Volunteer Work Party

Finemere Volunteer Work Party

At the AGM Steve Backshall, who became president of BBOWT in 2010, was re-appointed for a further three years.

Martin Spray CBE and Dr Pam Berry were re-elected as honorary vice-presidents.

It was announced that Barbara Muston will step down from her position as Chair in December.

Joanna Simons was re-elected as a trustee for her second term, and Chris Mees and Mike Pollard were elected as new trustees.

Three trustees retired from the Board at the AGM – James Gillies, Sir Paul Hayter and Diana Nettleton. Tim Lowth also retired in March.  We thank them for their significant contribution to our work over the last few years.