Lisa Worledge, Head of Conservation Services & Partnerships Officer
Lisa joined BCT in May 2011 as Partnerships Officer and was promoted to Head of Conservation Services in April 2016. Working with Elisabeth and Steve, the Scotland and Wales Bat Officers, a major part of Lisa's role is to support bat groups and share information between BCT and bat groups, as well working on joint projects with Partner Groups. Lisa also line manages BCT's Training Manager, our two Helpline Managers and the Bats in Churches (BiC) Project Training & Survey Officer. She sits on the Steering Group for the BiC Project as well.
Her interest in bats was first sparked by a bat walk with the Birmingham and Black Country Bat Group in 2008. This is Lisa’s second career having worked in the IT industry for 13 years. After completing a BSc in Ecology & Conservation (Hons) at Coventry University, Lisa worked as an ecologist and as the coordinator for the Warwickshire, Coventry & Solihull Local Biodiversity Action Plan Partnership. Lisa has been a Natural England Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor since 2011. She completed an MSc in Biological Recording with the University of Birmingham in 2012.
Lisa has some interesting additional aspects to her role including, with Becky Wilson, being one of the primary contacts at BCT for bats and diseases. Lisa enjoys giving talks and running workshops (she was delighted to be asked back as a tutor for the bats module on her old MSc Programme!). In her role Lisa is always looking for new ways to support and champion bat groups, as well as identify potential projects to work with Partner Groups on. So please don't hesitate to get in touch with any queries, requests or ideas.
Email Lisa: firstname.lastname@example.org
Claudia Gebhardt, Scottish Bat Officer (Maternity Cover)
Claudia joined BCT in February 2021 as maternity cover for the post of Scottish Bat Officer. 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 (Maternity Cover) 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 also line manages Rachael, the Project Development Officer for the Species on the Edge Project.
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: email@example.com
Elisabeth Ferrell, Scotland Officer (currently on maternity leave)
Elisabeth is our Scottish Officer who joined the team in July 2017. She had previously undertaken an internship the year before assisting with the National Bat Monitoring Programme.
Elisabeth has had an interest in all kinds of wildlife from a young age, but her fascination with bats started after seeing a large roost emergence during a family holiday in Wales.
Deciding to pursue a career in bat conservation she became involved in various projects both in the UK and abroad, learning from bat conservationists and enthusiasts alike. Her degree in Zoology from Glasgow University gave her the opportunity to undertake research expeditions to Trinidad with the help and support of Trinibats.
Elisabeth’s experience lies in community engagement and protected species surveying having worked for The Scottish Wildlife Trust and Direct Ecology, an ecological consultancy firm based in Scotland.
Working as the Scottish Bat Officer combines Elisabeth’s love of research and community engagement. She works with bat groups up and down the country as well as always looking to engage new audiences in conservation and surveying.
Elisabeth aims to support and encourage other bat enthusiasts, conservationists and researchers so please do get in touch.
Contact Liz's maternity cover on firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Lucas, Wales Officer and Species Legislation & Policy Specialist
For Steve, nature conservation is a second career having originally started out as medical laboratory scientist for 14 years before going to University to study Environmental Biology at Swansea. After a successful degree, he went to work with the local Wildlife Trust working his way from reserve management to conservation officer before moving to the Countryside Council for Wales in 2001. Whilst at CCW as a Regional Species Officer, Steve was seconded to the Welsh Assembly Government for two years as a biodiversity officer overseeing species licensing as well as general biodiversity projects. During this he gained a post graduate diploma from Trinity College at Carmarthen.
Steve has always had a passion for natural history - probably his upbringing in East Africa for 7 years! Apart from bats, he has a long standing interest in terrestrial invertebrate ecology so leps/bees/ants/wasps and even those eight-legged friends the spiders! Now he works with several bat groups in south Wales doing both summer / winter surveys and monitoring, and has also involved in the Bechsteins project.
Email Steve: 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 throughout England, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands as bat groups 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 for the Wellcome Trust and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. During her 10 years in Jersey with Durrell, she gave more fruit bat talks than she cares to remember and always managed to mention their smaller local cousins as well.
Email Naomi: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Species on the Edge Partnership Project
Rachael Cooper-Bohannon, Project Development Officer
Rachael is a conservation scientist and is passionate about contributing to positive and inclusive conservation action, in an increasingly changing world. Rachael joined BCT in October 2020, as part the Species on the Edge Project funded by National Heritage Lottery Fund and led by NatureScot (formerly SNH). Her time is split equally between BCT and RSPB Scotland, working on the beautiful islands of Skye and Orkney.
For the last four years Rachael has been living in Malawi, with her partner Keith and two cheeky Scottish rescue dogs (Blaise and Soma). She has recently joined the Tayside Bat Group and is looking forward to getting involved with the group!
Rachael’s love of nature was sparked by growing up in Zambia and South Africa but she got hooked on bats in the UK, on a fieldtrip to see a horseshoe bat roost in Pembrokeshire with Professor Gareth Jones at the University of Bristol. Rachael completed her PhD at the University of Stirling in 2015, titled: ‘Assessing the distribution of bats in southern Africa to highlight conservation priorities’. Her fieldwork has taken her on many exciting bat adventures and she has been lucky enough to visit some remote and beautiful areas of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. Rachael worked part-time and then full-time as the Principal Officer Bats without Borders (a Scottish registered NGO working across southern Africa) since 2013 and has been leading their work on applied research, capacity strengthening, engagement and advocacy. For the last four years her work has largely been in Malawi and Zambia.
If you are lucky enough to live on Skye or Orkney and would like to learn more about the Species on the Edge Project and volunteering opportunities, Rachael would love to hear from you!
E-mail Rachael: email@example.com
National Bat Helpline
Hannah Van Hesteren, Helpline Manager
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 August 2018, but has worked in the Helpline team since May 2015 when she started as a Seasonal Helpline Officer. She is an active member of the London Bat Group and has a keen interest in conservation communication; she is currently studying for an MSc in Science Communication from Imperial College London and spends much of her time communicating to the public about the wonderful world of bats. Outside of work Hannah enjoys hiking, crafting and attempting to grow veggies in her urban container garden.
Email Hannah: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: 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
Laura Brown, Senior Bat Advisor and UK Bat Care Network Coordinator
Laura Brown spent two years as a seasonal member, before becoming a permanent addition of the team in November 2015. She’s originally from West Virginia in the United States and has a degree in Political Science from Alderson Broaddus University. She moved to London in 2000.
Laura spent a decade in financial services before pursuing a career change and obtaining a diploma in Animal Management from Capel Manor College. When not with BCT, she’s worked for veterinary practices in London, including the Royal Veterinary College’s Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital. In her spare time, she writes poetry, fiction and animal-related nonfiction, which have appeared in several print and electronic publications.
Email Laura: email@example.com
Ele Johnstone, Senior Bat Advisor and Out of Hours Project Coordinator
Before joining the Helpline, Ele gained an integrated Master’s degree in Biology from the University of Sheffield. Ele is originally from Dorset and has volunteered for a range of conservation organisations including Dorset Wildlife Trust and is currently a member of Dorset Bat Group, London Bat Group and the London Natural History Society. Outside of work she enjoys writing and blogging about conservation and nature, wildlife photography and running.
Email Eleanor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tristan Evans, Senior Bat Advisor
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
Sophie Dennis, Bat Groups Admin Officer
Sophie first joined BCT as a Seasonal Bat Advisor on the National Bat Helpline and now works part-time as the Bat Groups Admin Officer whilst studying for an MSc in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Queen Mary University of London. Outside of work, Sophie enjoys trail running and has recently returned from a round the world trip where she trekked through the Andes and hiked in New Zealand.
Email Sophie: firstname.lastname@example.org