22nd September 2016
Every year during the National Bat Conference the winners of Bat Conservation Trust's annual awards are announced. BCT always receives many worthy nominations, making this decision a very difficult one. This year was no different but we are very happy to announce that the winner of the Vincent Weir Award 2016 is Dr. Rachael Cooper-Bohannon and for the Pete Guest Award 2016 the winner is James Shipman.
Vincent Weir Award
The Vincent Weir Award was first presented at the National Bat Conference in 2010 and has been awarded in each year since. This award aims to reward and encourage research on the conservation biology of bats by new researchers, and to recognize the late Hon. Vincent Weir's major contributions to bat conservation over many years. Rachael Cooper-Bohannon (University of Stirling) is this year's winner of the award for her contribution on identifying priority areas for bat conservation in southern Africa. The key message from this study was that if only areas of high species richness are prioritised as important, then the areas identified with low species richness but rare, at risk or endemic species would be excluded. Alongside this Rachael juggled multiple other things including setting up a charity! Bats without Borders which works across southern Africa to conserve bat populations and biodiversity through education, capacity building and research. To read more about Rachael's achievements please click HERE.
Pete Guest Award
The Pete Guest Award is given in memory of Pete Guest who was an inspirational figure in the bat conservation movement for more than 20 years. Each year, the bat world is invited to nominate individuals who have made an outstanding practical contribution to bat conservation. The criteria for the award include: dedication, innovation, enthusiasm and inspiration in making a difference, both to bats and to people, helping make BCT's vision become a reality. James Shipman received this award for his commitment and his contagious enthusiasm for bat conservation in the UK and Gibraltar, along with his encouragement of new volunteers from all walks of life. He is the Chairman of Berks and South Bucks Bat Group and one of the founders of the GibBats project. To read more about James's work please click HERE.
BCT would like to thank Rachael and James for their inspirational work as well as all the other nominees who tirelessly work to further bat conservation. Bat Conservation is very lucky to have so many dedicated individuals furthering the cause. We hope their dedication continues to inspire others to follow in their footsteps, helping bats in the UK and across the world.
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