Biodiversity

Jan Collins, Head of Biodiversity

Jan Collins, Head of Biodiversity

Jan’s first exposure to bats was in 1999, mist netting and harp trapping bats in Vietnam as part of a biodiversity survey. She was struck by how different bats are from other mammals and by the diversity in species worldwide (and, indeed, the challenges they face!) so joined her Local Bat Group immediately upon returning to the UK. Bats soon turned into a career. Jan’s professional experience is primarily as an ecological consultant specialising in bats, but she also has experience in Environmental Records Centre and Local Planning Authority work. Within her consultancy roles she has provided surveys and advice covering a range of industries, including property and construction, commercial and retail, government, transport, energy and nature conservation. Jan is a full member of CIEEM, a Chartered Environmentalist, holds a Natural England bat survey licence and is a member of Kent Bat Group. Jan has been more specifically involved with bats and wind farms over recent years, including an MSc research project on surveying for bats at height and various wind farm development projects in the UK and abroad.

Email Jan: jcollins@bats.org.uk

Jo Ferguson, Built Environment Manager

Jo Ferguson, Built Environment Manager

Jo joined the Bat Conservation Trust in April 2015 as the Built Environment Officer and became the Built Environment Manager in early 2019. She has been involved with bat conservation in a voluntary and professional capacity for over 15 years. Jo first became involved during a year’s placement with the Wildlife Trusts in West Wales in 2003. She was introduced during that time to bat survey equipment and monitoring techniques for some of the UK’s rarest species; barbastelle and both lesser and greater horseshoe bats. After experiencing these completely unique mammals at close quarters, she was hooked!

Many years of volunteering with various bat groups followed as she finished her degree in Zoology and gained Natural England bat licences for roost visits and surveys. Jo’s more recent professional experience is as an ecological consultant specialising in bats; providing surveys and advice covering a range of development projects, including residential, commercial and transport, for private, public and government bodies. However, she also has extensive experience in the conservation and scientific research sectors. When living in Melbourne for eighteen months, Jo used her bat survey skills to help run the micro-bats trapping and radio-tracking project in the botanic gardens with volunteers from Earthwatch. Her most exciting work however had to be surveying abandoned goldmines in Victoria for rare bentwing bats and finding when doing so, the occasional wombat!

Her passion for the importance of promoting biodiversity in the urban environment and public engagement is what she brings to this role. Jo is a full member of CIEEM and is a member of London Bat Group.

Email Jo: jferguson@bats.org.uk

Sonia Reveley, Woodland Officer and Volunteer Co-ordinator (Discovering the Connection Woodland Project)

Sonia Reveley, Woodland Officer and Volunteer Co-ordinator (Discovering the Connection Woodland Project)

Sonia joined BCT in March 2016 as the Volunteer Coordinator working on a Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) project which will be carried out at Swanton Novers National Nature Reserve (NNR) in Norfolk. The project is now in its second year and continues to work closely with volunteers to learn how bats use woodlands and the impact that long term woodland management is having on them. This will allow us to discover more about our woodland heritage, and involve the local community with the collection of important data that will help to protect Swanton Novers Woods and its wildlife for future generations. The project is looking for volunteers to help with bat surveys, call analysis, walks, talks and events. If you would like to help and you live close to Swanton Novers NNR, please contact Sonia. In March 2017, Sonia took on the role of Woodland Officer and will continue to raise awareness of bats and their use of woodlands in the UK.

Sonia first became interested in bats in 2011, when she took part in a radio tracking session at the National Trust Blickling Estate, with the Norfolk Barbastelle Study Group (NBSG). Since then she has become a NBSG trustee, assisting the group with various surveys and gained her MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation from the University of East Anglia. Sonia has worked as a bat surveyor, as a Research Assistant on the Management of Bats in Churches project and as a Project Officer for Norfolk Wild Nights, delivering nocturnal events in rural Norfolk, using churches as hubs. Sonia also has a Level 2 Class survey licence.

Email Sonia: sreveley@bats.org.uk

Pete Charleston, Conservation Wildlife Crime Officer

Pete Charleston, Conservation Wildlife Crime Officer

Pete has a lifetime of experience in investigation having served with North Wales Police for 30 years, the last eight of which was spent as a full time wildlife crime officer. He was the first officer ever to be seconded by the Police to a conservation agency, building up what has been widely accepted as a very successful partnership with the Countryside Council for Wales. In that time Pete investigated and supervised investigations into over 2000 wildlife offences involving a broad range of species, including a large number of bats. Since retirement from the Police in 2008, Pete has been contracted to provide a number of Police forces and other agencies with wildlife crime advice. He has been with BCT since 2010.

Pete recognises that his expertise lies in investigations rather than bats. As such BCT benefits from those skills whilst the essential ecological expertise will be found among other BCT staff, bat groups and bat workers. His priority is that wherever possible his work will be aimed at securing compliance with the law among those who might otherwise commit offences.

Email Pete: pcharleston@bats.org.uk

Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning

Rosalie Callway, Planning Project Officer

Rosalie Callway, Planning Project Officer

Rosalie’s current role is supporting the Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning, to promote better reflection of biodiversity in the UK planning system, including through a new online tool for householders – called the Wildlife Assessment Check. She has worked as a campaigner and policy researcher for over twenty years, championing different aspects of sustainability. This includes stints surveying Philippine coral reefs, working with Colombian coal miners to prevent water pollution, lobbying at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, supporting local government peer-to-peer exchanges with municipalities in England, Bolivia, China and Mexico, as well as campaigning for London's green spaces.

Most recently, Rosalie completed a PhD at the School of Built Environment at the University of Reading researching how new neighbourhood developments can promote more sustainable ‘green infrastructure’. She is a member of the Friends of the River Crane Environment (FORCE) and loves taking long family walks along the river with Lani, the family dog.

Email Rosalie: rcallway@bats.org.uk

Back from the Brink Project

Craig Dunton, Grey Long-Eared Bat Project Officer

Craig Dunton, Grey Long-Eared Bat Project Officer

Craig joined BCT in July 2017 as Grey Long-Eared Bat Project Officer, as part of the Back from the Brink Project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. His lifelong passion for bats (and all wildlife) developed from growing up in rural South Devon. His interest in the impacts of human activity on biodiversity, and the interactions between wildlife and the landscape led him to pursue a BSc in Rural Resource Management at Seale Hayne Agricultural College, and later a Post Graduate Diploma in Countryside Management from Manchester Metropolitan University.

He has worked in a range of different roles within the conservation sector, from public engagement on urban heathland sites in Dorset, to practical habitat management on Dartmoor and in South Devon. In 2012 he developed his own business carrying out practical habitat management, conservation advice and freelance ecological survey work and in 2014, started working on the Avon Valley Project, a landscape scale conservation project in South Devon.

Craig loves experiencing new countries, cultures and overseas wildlife. He spent almost 3 years teaching English and travelling around South-East Asia. Highlights included trekking through jungles in Laos and Vietnam, diving with reef sharks and giant manta rays in Borneo and Bali, and climbing volcanoes in Lombok.

Craig is passionate about bats and bat conservation, being a member of the Devon Bat Group and Devon Bat Conservation and Research Group; he also contributes to the NBMP, is a bat carer and has recently obtained his VBRV licence. His key focus is working with landowners at the landscape scale to secure positive land management for bats (and other wildlife), now and into the future. When not out batting, he spends his time exploring the South-west coastline and Dartmoor with his young family and running with his dog.

Email Craig: cdunton@bats.org.uk

Next: Conservation services