News & Views

Over the past six months all BSG Ecology’s Directors have attended a two-day course on Mental Health First Aid Training. The role of a Mental Health First Aider in the workplace is to act as a go to person for any staff member experiencing a mental health issue, and direct them towards the resources or professional help they need.
Bird ringing has been conducted at Oxwich Marsh by Gower Ringing Group since February 2013. This is co-ordinated by Owain Gabb, a licensed bird ringer and trainer, and the Director of our Welsh offices. The marsh is managed by Natural Resources Wales, and habitats include open water, reed bed, wet woodland and species-rich grassland to the landward side of an extensive area of sand dunes and open sandy foreshore. The entire area is notified a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
BSG Ecology has recently made a substantial donation to South Wales based Celtic Wildflowers to help them in the next phase of their growth. Celtic Wildflowers was established in 2018 by Barry Stewart, a well-known and highly respected freelance ecologist, and his wife Sandra, who also runs a successful ecotourism company. They set up the business to address demand for locally sourced devil’s-bit scabious (the food plant of the protected marsh fritillary butterfly), in response to a series of habitat restoration projects which were failing to source sufficient quantities of plants of local provenance. 
For the past three years BSG Ecology’s Kate Rooney has been an invited to deliver a lecture to final year Oxford Brookes Biosciences students as part of their Ecological Consultancy module. During this year's talk, Kate outlined the role which ecological consultants play in development projects, and the skills and qualities which BSG Ecology look for in a graduate level recruit. The students then worked through a case study based on a project BSG had been involved with, and discussed the scope and specification of protected species surveys for the site along with potential mitigation solutions.
BSG Ecology Director Peter Shepherd was recently invited for a second time to address the European Criminal Law Association – this time on the subject of Protecting the Environment after Brexit. The nature of the subject matter obviously requires a degree of ‘crystal ball gazing,’ so the talk started with what we know; among a series of depressing statistics, the State of Nature Report 2019 highlighted declines in 41 % of UK species, identified that 15 % are threatened with extinction, that we have lost 133 species entirely since 1970 and that the rate of biodiversity loss in the UK has been greater than the global average. The report is one of many sources that identify how critical it is that we take action to reverse biodiversity declines.
BSG Ecology’s Guy Miller, one of our licenced bat ecologists, supported by Adam Long (Access Techniques Ltd), an industrial rope access specialist, has recently conducted aerial surveys of the Grand Bridge at Blenheim Park, Oxfordshire. The aim has been to identify and inspect features of the bridge that have the potential to support roosting bats and nesting birds. The resulting information will be used to inform the approach taken to forthcoming repair work, ensuring that it is legally compliant and that opportunities for birds and bats are retained within the structure following renovation.

During winter 2019/20 ecologist Emily Moore has taken a sabbatical to travel and to work with the African Bat Conservation Trust. She has been involved in research in relation to the ecology of various bat species, including little epauletted fruit bat, white-bellied free-tailed bat, yellow-bellied house bat, and Egyptian slit-faced bat, and has also taken part in local projects to raise awareness of the benefits of healthy bat populations to ecosystems and local communities.

We are delighted to announce that the Walthamstow Wetlands project was successful in the ‘Adding Value through Landscape’ category at the 2019 Landscape Awards. BSG Ecology were involved in the project for over seven years, designing the ornithological survey protocol, the results of which were critical to informing the Habitats Regulations Assessment of the proposals and the design of the scheme, and co-ordinating consultation with Natural England.

Walthamstow Wetlands is among the contenders in the ‘Adding Value through Landscape’ category at the Landscape Institute Awards, 2019. Peter Shepherd will be attending the event in London on 28 November at the invitation of the project lead Kinnear Landscape Architects (KLA) Ltd. BSG Ecology were instrumental in guiding the vision for this large-scale (new) urban nature reserve through the Habitats Regulations Assessment process.

BSG Ecology's Peter Newbold and Sarah Joscelyne recently delivered training aimed at providing recent Natural England recruits with a better understanding of the practicalities of survey and mitigation for great crested newts.  The training was delivered over two days at O&H Hampton's Crown Lakes and Western Peripheral Road sites, where BSG has been overseeing mitigation and habitat creation aimed at various species under a multi-species project-wide mitigation licence.
BSG Ecology’s Owain Gabb and James Garside were among the speakers at the Swansea University Employability Event on 23 October 2019. The event was set up to provide second year Biosciences students with insight into the range of career options available to them. Our talk naturally concerned ecological consultancy as one obvious potential career pathway.