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Board of Trustees

Officer trustees

 

David Gibbons
Chair

David GibbonsDavid's first introduction to bats was as an enthusiastic teenager during field visits with the Bedfordshire Natural History Society. Despite this promising early start, David's career took a different path and he ended up as an ornithologist.

Following a Natural Sciences degree, and a doctorate specialising in behavioural ecology at Cambridge, he worked for two long memorable summers in the Camargue on birds and damselflies. His first proper job was with the British Trust for Ornithology, where he collated information from thousands of birdwatchers to produce an atlas of the distribution of birds in Britain and Ireland.

He moved from the BTO to the RSPB in 1994, and for the last fourteen years has been responsible for overseeing the RSPB's scientific programme. The research portfolio of David's team is very broad, ranging from trying to understand why house sparrows are disappearing in London, to using novel technologies to track seabirds at sea and migrant birds across Africa, to monitoring the wildlife of a Sumatran rainforest. More broadly, David is also involved in setting the direction for RSPB's conservation work.

He is a former Chair of the European Birds Census Council, and helped to set up bird monitoring schemes across Europe. He is on the Steering Committee of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, a collaboration between academics and conservation organisations that is establishing a new conservation campus within the university.

David hopes that his knowledge of research, monitoring, conservation and organisational management, both in the UK and internationally, will be of value to BCT. He is also very keen to learn more about bats, and is helping out with the NBMP field survey in his home county of Suffolk.

 

Abigail Entwistle
Vice Chair

Abi is currently Director of Conservation Science and Design at Fauna & Flora International (FFI). After studying Zoology at Oxford she undertook a PhD at Aberdeen University with Professors Paul Racey and John Speakman, focusing on conservation biology of the brown long-eared bat. This involved three years of roost visits, ringing and radio tracking, and resulted in an ongoing passion for bats.

Following her PhD she worked on a conservation project targeting the Pemba flying fox in Tanzania. This project was partly funded by FFI, and after her return to the UK she started volunteering for FFI, and has stayed there ever since, in a variety of roles. Abi is fascinated by bats and hopes that her experience in conservation planning and impact assessment, and in the application of conservation science in conservation management can be useful to BCT going forward.

 

Steve Markham
Hon Secretary

Steve MarkhamSteve is an Environmental Scientist, who has had a career working for companies to develop mathematical models helping clean up rivers and estuaries of the UK and overseas. More recently he has been designing rainwater harvest and irrigation systems, and undertaking the management and investigation of building water systems.

He has always had an interest in conservation and holds Natural England roost visitor and mitigation licences. For the last 11 years, as a Director of Marquis & Lord Ltd, he continues to do business in the water management field and undertakes professional bat work.

 

Tom Andrews
Treasurer

Tom Andrews - TrusteeTom has worked for a wide variety of wildlife conservation organisations including WWF, IUCN and the Wildlife Trusts and is currently Programmes Director for the Soil Association. He says bats really came to his attention when managing an eco-tourism project in Uganda where, every night, hundreds of thousands of bats would explode into the dusk from a large escarpment cave, desperate to evade the circling bat hawks. “Since then, bats have seemed to enter my life more and more, from assisting with bat walks in Northumberland to wondering how many are in the walls and roof of our cottage.” Tom hopes to use his fundraising, communications and project management experience to help BCT's work.

 

Bat Group nominated trustees

 

Annika Binet

Annika has been an active volunteer bat worker since 2007, first in Australia and then in Jersey. She has been a member of the Jersey Bat Group since 2008 and has served two separate terms as Chair of the Jersey Bat Group. Annika is also a member of the Wiltshire Bat Group and has worked with a number of other bat groups. Her various bat group experience gives her a good understanding of the day to day operation of a charitable bat group and of volunteer bat workers generally. Annika founded her own bat research and training non-profit organisation with a small team of research volunteers in order to conduct additional Channel Island wide bat research projects. She has given talks and provided training to volunteer bat workers not just in Jersey but also for the Societe Guernsiaise Bat Section in Guernsey and the Alderney Wildlife Trust; and she is also establishing connections with the conservation volunteers in Sark.

 

Bob Cornes 

Bob has been involved with bats and a member of the Bedfordshire Bat Group for 26 years. He has been a licensed bat worker for most of that time. He has served as chair and is currently treasurer of the Bedfordshire Bat Group, as well as a member of the Cambridgeshire and North Bucks Bat Groups. Bob has been a member of BCT for 24 years and is a member of the Barbastelle and Bechstein's Technical Advisory Group.

Before taking early retirement from teaching, Bob spent thirty years teaching biology, mostly at A level. He has also previously served on the Council of his local Wildlife Trust.

 

Steven Roe

Steve has been an active voluntary bat worker for the last eighteen years and has become a familiar face across the bat worker community, especially since co-organising a three-day autumn swarming conference in 2017.

He joined Derbyshire Bat Conservation Group (DBCG) when he was twelve years old, has been a trustee of DBCG for seven years, and represents the group at the bi-annual East and West Midlands bat group meetings.  

Steve made his passion a career and became a
professional ecologist, now specialising in bat ecology.
Having joined the DBCG at a young age, Steve is in a good position to link the millennial generation of volunteers and their skill set with the majority of bat groups who are often in need of a technological support, e.g. in the areas of social media and GIS mapping of records. Steve hopes to bring a younger person’s perspective to the BCT board and to look at ways to engage the younger generations in bat conservation. 

 

Ordinary trustees 

 

Jean Matthews

Jean was inspired to join the Avon Bat Group after meeting the noctules, Fred and Freda, at a talk given by Gareth Jones in the first “Year of the Bat”, 1986. She joined the Gwynedd Bat Group when she moved to north Wales in 1989 and became a bat carer soon after that. She started working as Protected Species Advisor for the Nature Conservancy Council in 1990 and trained as bat licence trainer in 1994.

She continued in that role until joining the Countryside Council for Wales’ Species Team as Mammal Ecologist (Bats and Riparian Mammals) in 2004. She was a member of the Editorial Board for the Bat Survey Guidelines and of the steering groups for various research projects. She was responsible for managing the Wales Lesser Horseshoe Bat Summer Roost Monitoring Scheme before it was taken on by the NBMP. She feels privileged to spend time observing these tantalizing creatures and to be able to count at the same sites she has been visiting since the early 1990s.

Jean retired from Natural Resources Wales in 2017 but has retained a role with the Eurobats’ Advisory Committee and also sits on the Natural England Bat Expert Panel.

Jean was the North Wales Bat Groups’ delegate to BCT Forum for several years and hopes that her experience of bat conservation from different perspectives will be useful to BCT. 

 

Kirsty Park

K Park trustee

Kirsty is a Reader in Conservation Science at the University of Stirling. Her interest in bats was sparked as a teenager when a bat flew in to the house and was rescued from being washed down a plug hole.

She then went on to do a degree in Biology at Leeds University where, by happy coincidence, John Altringham was based and became involved with his research in the North York Moors. Following this she completed a PhD in bat ecology at Bristol University under the supervision of both Gareth Jones and John.

Since then her research interests have broadened to encompass the effects of anthropogenic change on biodiversity and how best to manage this. Much of this relates to animal ecology and conservation in managed environments (e.g. urban, agricultural, forestry). Kirsty hopes that her experience will help BCT continue to expand its scientific research and that the results of this are implemented for the benefit of bat conservation.

 

Rupert Lancaster 

photo

Rupert is Non-Fiction Publisher at Hodder & Stoughton, responsible for books by a wide range of authors including Ray Mears, Robert Peston, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Melvyn Bragg, Tristan Gooley and Simon King.

Born in Hereford, he trained as a teacher before moving to bookselling and then into publishing. After working as Publicity Director of Jonathan Cape, he became Group Marketing Director, then Editorial Director of Chatto & Windus. He was head of Random House Enterprises before joining Hodder Headline in 1995.

Rupert has had a life-long interest in the natural world  and as a director of the Fortis Green Community Allotments Trust in north London, he’s been working with the Haringey Wildlife Officer to enhance the biodiversity of the allotment site and the adjoining grounds of Tetherdown School, where he’s a Community Governor. His interest in bats began when he published The Complete Bat by James Robertson while working at Chatto & Windus in 1990. He’s particularly interested in the PR and marketing side of conservation and the role of local and central government.

 

Robert Upex 

 

Robert is a barrister and Emeritus Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Surrey.  He is a specialist in employment law and has written a number of books on the subject, among them "The Law of Termination of Employment".  He was also a part-time Employment Judge for 12 years.

He hopes that his legal expertise will be of assistance to BCT in dealing with the challenges posed by the legal environment in which it operates.  And he hopes to increase his knowledge of bats and their habitats. 

  

Roger Mortlock 

Roger Mortlock is Chief Executive of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT), the county’s largest environmental charity with 28,000 members and over 60 nature reserves. He joined GWT in 2013 from the Soil Association where he was Deputy Director and Chair of the Food for Life Partnership.

Previously he has worked in policy, communications and fundraising roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal College of Nursing and the national volunteer agency, Community Service Volunteers. He is also Chair of the Soil Association Land Trust which holds productive land in trust for future generations, and a Trustee at Hawkwood College. His interest in bats started when he was given a bat detector, aged 12. Professionally he has a particular interest in green infrastructure in the built environment, finding solutions that work for both bats and people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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