Allyson Walsh, Head of Conservation Services
Allyson discovered her joy of bats while completing a summer placement with the Forestry Commission. Her PhD thesis focussed on the landscape ecology of bats and climate, which she put into practice by joining BCT back in 1996 as the team lead in setting up the UK National Bat Monitoring Programme.
Allyson’s passion for large-scale conservation led to a period of international conservation involvement, working for renowned USA based organisations including Bat Conservation International, Lubee Bat Conservancy, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. She has experience researching the ecology of diverse international wildlife and habitats, including flying foxes, California condors, and Hawaiian birds. She has run projects on bats in caves, bat houses, bat diseases, captive care of bats, cross border bat education initiatives, and green energy-wildlife mitigation. She is an active member of the IUCN Bat Specialist Group, and a member of Shropshire Bat Group.
Having worked in hot climates, Allyson is now often cold and is most often spotted wearing lots of warm clothing. Her current interests include interdisciplinary knowledge brokering, and human-wildlife coexistence in the context of the energy transition and preservation of biodiversity.
Email Allyson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Claire Boothby and Dr Lia Gilmour, Head of Conservation Projects (job share)
Boothby joined the Conservation Team at BCT as Head of Conservation Projects in
November 2022, sharing the job with Lia Gilmour. Claire currently project
manages the BCT deliverables from Species on the
Edge (SotE) in Scotland and Natur am Byth in Wales. Claire also works part-time
as the BCT representative on the Bats in Churches project team (see entry above).
Lia joined the Conservation Team at BCT as Head of Conservation Projects in November 2022, sharing the job with Claire Boothby. Lia works on development and delivery of key Conservation Projects, such as Gobaith Coetir/Woodland Hope Project in Wales and Species on the Edge (SotE) in Scotland. Lia’s time at BCT is split between the Conservation Team and the Science Team, where she also works part-time as a Research Manager (see entry under Science team).
Lil McDermaid, Species Advocacy & Policy Officer
Lil joined BCT in September 2022 to work on policy and advocacy, after having worked on environmental planning policy in central government. They are quite new to the world of bats, having instead previously worked on a whole host of environmental topics including ancient woodland, biodiversity in planning, climate change, environmental principles and more. Lil once planned to be an artist, then planned to be a solicitor but, after completing a law with psychology degree, instead decided to follow a passion for the environment!
Lil is currently undertaking an MSc course on environmental studies and hopes to maybe even study some bat-related topics. Outside of work, Lil built up some experience with campaigns through student advocacy, illustrating and writing articles to provoke thought on different topics including environmental awareness and social justice.
Email Lil: email@example.com
Claudia Gebhardt, Scottish Bat Officer
Claudia joined BCT in February 2021. She has been active in the Scottish bat world since 2006 and has further international bat experience, including taking part in volunteer bat survey projects in England, Wales, Germany, New Zealand, Poland, Mexico, Netherlands, and Zambia.
In her role as Scottish Bat Officer Claudia is supporting bat groups in Scotland, providing training for bat surveys skills, as well as enthusing people about bats and engaging people in taking part in bat surveys.
Claudia has many years of experience as an ecologist, mainly working in nature conservation and consultancy. Her expertise lies in mammals, with a particular interest in bats, but her interests also include many other taxa. One of Claudia’s main interests is providing training courses and workshops. Her previous position as the Programme Leader for an ecological survey skills project at the Scottish Wildlife Trust included provision of various training sessions in bat survey skills from beginner to advanced level. She has also run training courses for the Field Studies Council and many bat walks and talks as an active volunteer for various other conservation organisations.
E-mail Claudia: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathryn Baillie, Species on the Edge Project Officer (Argyll & Inner Hebrides)
Cathryn joined BCT in January 2023 as a project officer for Species on the Edge. She became interested in bat conservation during the development year of the project, when she helped set up the Skye and Lochalsh Bat Group. Having grown up on the Isle of Skye, she is most at home when exploring the natural environment and has a great love for the local people and wildlife. And, as a crofter, is very keen to help connect the crofting communities with the conservation world. She believes strongly that there is a lot of common ground between the two groups and that working together and learning from each other is the best way to combat biodiversity loss in the Highlands. Through her role, she is excited to be able to combine her passions and connect the people of Skye with their natural heritage.
Email Cathryn: email@example.com
Abby Packham, Bat Groups Officer
Abby joined BCT in February 2021 as the Bat Groups Officer. Her love of bats developed through survey work, always enjoying seeing their activity no matter what time of the night or morning it was. Unlocking their secret sounds with a heterodyne is always a thrill and one she is happy to share with anyone willing to take part. She has also volunteered with injured bat recovery and feels privileged to have been able to help and witness these creatures up close.
She has always been passionate about conservation work and believes everyone can be a part of conservation no matter what their occupation. She uses this enthusiasm to help support bat groups as they are the front-line of bat conservation.
Email Abby: firstname.lastname@example.org
Naomi Webster, Training & Conferences Manager
Naomi joined BCT in 2017. As Training & Conferences Manager, she is responsible for all the in-house and commissioned training as well as overseeing the organisation of various conferences each year. Prior to joining BCT, Naomi worked in education and training for the Wellcome Trust and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust based at Jersey Zoo. During her 10 years in Jersey, she gave more fruit bat talks than she cares to remember but always managed to mention their smaller local cousins as well. Naomi is also the Education and Engagement Officer for BCT.
Email Naomi: email@example.com
Juliet Maxted, Training and Conferences Administrator
Juliet joined the Training and Conferences team in June 2023. She previously worked in research services at the University of Exeter, planning research related events and has been volunteering for conservation charities for the past 8 years! Juliet has a BSc in Zoology and an MSc in Conservation Science and Policy. Outside work Juliet is a member of the IUCN expert working group on Education and Communication. She is passionate about making science accessible for all and encouraging people of all ages to learn about conservation and why it’s so important.
Juliet has loved bats since volunteering with fruit bats at London Zoo and she has really enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about British bats. In her free time Juliet enjoys picking up new creative hobbies and travelling to spot wildlife whenever she can.
Email Juliet: firstname.lastname@example.org
Claire Boothby, Training & Survey Officer, Bats in Churches Project
Claire joined BCT in January 2019 as the Training and Survey Officer for the Bats in Churches Project; a partnership made possible by Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF). She found her love of bats whilst on her first bat walk, held at National Trust’s Polesden Lacey, which inspired her to learn more and to later take part in the Waterway and the Sunset/Sunrise Surveys.
Claire is passionate about helping to reduce conflict between people and the conservation of wildlife, and gained her MSc qualification in Ecological Applications at Imperial College London in 2016. Since then Claire has worked with citizen scientists across UK to monitor British wildlife. Claire previously worked for British Trust for Ornithology as the Development Officer for BTO Garden BirdWatch and as the Organiser of the Tawny Owl Calling Survey.
Email Claire: email@example.com
Nicky Fish, Wales Officer - Woodland Hope Project
Nicky joined BCT in 2023 on this exciting new venture surveying and protecting bats in areas of Celtic Rain Forest in Snowdonia.
Nicky has a First degree in Social Policy gained in Sussex in the 1990s and later returned to study at Trinity College at Masters level in Environmental Education focusing on sustainable Education and Air Pollution. She also attended Plumpton College gaining a Higher Diploma in Land & Countryside Studies. Following this she moved from Sussex to Snowdonia where she worked for many years as a Ranger and Field Tutor for the RSPB. Nicky’s career focused on outdoor learning in various posts for most of the NGOs as well as Education Officer for Wales for the Forestry Commission and Natural England.
Nicky is dedicated to wildlife conservation and developed a personal interest in bats having lived in her first cottage in Wales with an attic roost of over 300 pipistrelles and then became hooked after BCT Ecology & Survey Training and witnessing the Greater and Lesser Horseshoe Bats that roost at Stackpole.
Some twenty years ago Nicky set up and is the founder of Second Nature working to conserve wildlife and to inspire others, especially young people to share her passion and interest.
Nicky has returned to Snowdonia living in a 17th century longhouse amongst the Gwydyr Forest where she is creating a wildlife and forest garden and lives with her menagerie of animals.
Email Nicky: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elliot Bastos, Assistant Project Officer - Woodland Hope
Elliot joined the BCT team in 2023, based in mid Wales he is working to engage local communities and monitor bat populations in the awe inspiring Welsh Ancient Celtic Rainforest.
Having studied Biochemistry and Microbiology at the University of Sheffield Elliot developed a passion for all things small and wonderful, from fungi and slime moulds to bacteria and amoebas. He followed this degree with a position at the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield, developing sustainable hydroponic and aquaponic growing mediums inoculated with plant helping microorganisms.
Following his passion for wild places, he travelled to New Zealand and witnessed plenty of conservation in action really seeing its importance in today’s world. Elliot returned to the UK in 2020 with a new respect for the huge diversity of local flora and fauna, including our wonderful bats. Combining this passion with his knowledge of community engagement from his continued role in a food surplus organisation, Elliot wants to ensure that there are as few barriers to wildlife and conservation engagement as possible – everyone should have the chance to experience and steward our natural world. He is at his happiest walking in the Welsh woodlands looking for life in all shapes and forms!
Email Elliot: Ebastos@bats.org.uk
National Bat Helpline
Hannah Van Hesteren, Helpline Manager & Engagement Officer for Project NightWatch
Hannah has been working with bats since 2013 when she began volunteering in nature reserves and on surveys around London after graduating with a BSc in Biology. Hannah started as one of two Helpline Managers in 2018, but has worked in the Helpline team since 2015 when she started as a Seasonal Helpline Officer. In 2022, Hannah also joined the Science team part time as the Engagement officer for the NightWatch project, where she has been enjoying sharing her love for bats with the public. Hannah has a keen interest in conservation marketing and behavioural science, having just completed an MSc in Science Communication from Imperial College London. Outside of work Hannah enjoys hiking, crafting and attempting to grow veggies in her urban container garden.
Email Hannah: email@example.com
Becky Wilson, Helpline Manager
Becky joined BCT in May 2014 as a Seasonal Helpline officer and later that year moved to a permanent role in the NBMP team as Survey Coordinator. She returned to the Helpline team as a Manager in August 2018.
Becky has a degree in Biology from the University of Southampton and has always been passionate about wildlife conservation. In 2013 she interned at the Botanic Gardens Conservation International, where she took part in completing a Red List of the tree family Betulaceae as part of the Global Trees Campaign.
Becky fell in love with bats whilst carrying out her dissertation on the effects of LED lighting on bat foraging behaviour. She is a member of the London Bat group and enjoys taking part in bat surveys, especially NBMP Hibernation Surveys. Her favourite moment of working with bats was getting to see both greater horseshoe and lesser horseshoe bats while helping out with Hibernation counts in Dorset.
Email Becky: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tristan Evans, Helpline Assistant Manager and Technical Specialist
Tristan studied Film at the University of West London and, before joining BCT as a Seasonal Helpline Officer, had various different jobs in the film industry. Outside of work Tristan is a keen artist, fencer and enjoys walking in search of nature. Tristan has previously taken on the Three Peaks Challenge and has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
Email Tristan: email@example.com
Jennifer Pope, Senior Bat Advisor
Jen has worked on the helpline at BCT since 2007, starting as a Seasonal Helpline Officer.
Jen graduated with a degree in Marine Biology from the University of Plymouth in 2005 and carried on at Plymouth to obtain an MSc in Zoo Conservation Biology. She decided on a career in conservation after travelling to Madagascar in her gap year, where she studied for a BTEC in Tropical Habitat Conservation.
Jen works part-time mainly writing Natural England advice letters. Her hobbies aside from bats include her young family, hiking the Cornish coast path, diving and hen keeping.
Email Jen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Charley Bird, Senior Bat Advisor
Charley joined the Bat Conservation Trust as a Seasonal Bat Advisor in May 2021, and has since progressed through their role to become a Senior Bat Advisor and the UK Bat Care Network Co-ordinator. Charley has been a bat carer for 4 years and is currently training to become a Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor with Natural England. Their interest in bats was first triggered by entering an underground cave in Cuba and witnessing thousands of bats roosting on a university field trip. They have a BSc in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science, and has previously worked as an ecologist for several consultancies.
In their spare time Charley enjoys reading, wildlife-watching and creating artwork.
Email Charley: email@example.com
Hazel Tocock, Bat Advisor and Volunteer Bat Care Helpline Project Coordinator
Hazel originally joined the BCT as a Seasonal Bat Advisor in 2016 during which time she became an avid bat fan and a keen ambassador for their conservation. At the end of the BCT season, Hazel went back to her archaeology origins and returned to the Museum sector. This included living, working and retraining as a Jeweller in the Outer Hebrides on the Isle of Lewis. Many summer evenings were spent detecting and watching the Lewisian bats fly around Lews Castle! Upon returning to London to renovate a narrowboat, Hazel was thrilled to rejoin the BCT as a Seasonal Advice Writer for the summer of 2023 and staying on as Bat Advisor.
Email Hazel: firstname.lastname@example.org