News & Views

Achieving a good work life balance can be challenging as a professional ecologist, particularly during the spring and summer when fieldwork is most intensive. It is therefore extremely important to find ways to unwind individually and as teams, through building relationships with others that go beyond the projects and the survey work.

BSG Ecology has been involved in the ecological design and monitoring of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park since 2008.  In late June 2022 BSG Ecology Director Dr Peter Shepherd joined other members of the design team, LDA Design Directors Neil Mattinson and Andrew Harland, to lead a tour around the Olympic Park. The outing was part of the itinerary for the London Festival of Architecture, and the audience included landscape architects, architects and planners.

Ecological consultancy involves the collection of large amounts of data. An effective system to ensure proper safeguarding and management of these data is therefore critical for any consultancy as data are valuable assets, can be costly to secure, and can have a huge influence on important development planning decisions.
During Spring 2022 Dr Jim Fairclough, invertebrate ecologist and principal consultant at BSG, has provided detailed training on invertebrate habitat evaluation and basic aquatic and terrestrial invertebrate survey techniques to staff based in our Wales, Derbyshire and Oxford offices. The objective of the training has been to help staff assess habitats of likely value to invertebrates more confidently, and to upskill staff in survey techniques, so that they can be more involved in assisting and supporting survey programmes.

BSG Ecology is very proud to announce that the camera developed by Principal Ecologist Gareth Lang has won this year’s Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) award for innovation.

BSG Ecology were delighted to be invited to provide two lectures as part of the three-day course on Managing Wildlife in the Historic Environment at West Dean College, Sussex. Attendees included those actively engaged in the conservation and management of historic buildings and sites, including architects, engineers, contractors and site managers.  Our inputs involved delivering the opening seminar, which provided an introduction to caring for the ecological significance of heritage buildings

This is the second year in which we have provided a paid internship to a student on Reading University’s Masters course on Species Identification and Survey Skills. These placements allow us to seasonally flex our workforce a little, while the student has the opportunity to shadow experienced technical specialists during fieldwork, develop their own survey capabilities, and also to learn key consultancy skills such as team working, prioritisation and problem solving in a commercial environment.

We were delighted to be invited to appear on the recent episode of BBC Countryfile showcasing the Blenheim Estate. BSG has completed wide-ranging ecological work at Blenheim to inform conservation work to buildings, identify opportunities for estate-wide biodiversity enhancement and to provide the evidence base to understand the ecological impacts of projects, such as the desilting of Blenheim Lake (a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its bird communities). This work has been overseen by Director of Ecology, Dr Peter Shepherd, who appeared on the programme.

At BSG Ecology we recognise the importance of training and development for ecologists at all stages of their career. For new recruits we have a structured and comprehensive programme which is complemented by external training and mentoring. ‘Consultancy skills’ is a core element of this training, and is essential in helping new staff understand the culture of the organisation. It is also key to their professional development as ecological consultants, as it is aimed at equipping them to do their job as effectively as possible.

Principal Ecologists Daniel Foster and Rachel Potter have been accepted on to the Bat Earned Recognition (BER) pilot; a joint partnership project between Natural England, the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and the Bat Conservation Trust. BER has significant potential benefit to developers, as it gives them the security that they should receive high quality technical advice and will also speed up the licencing process.