David Gibbons, Chair
David'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.
Sarah Escott, Vice Chair
Sarah is a Manager in Natural England (NE) and leads their national Evidence Programme and Geographic Information Services teams and Principal Advisers in Evidence Services team. She is a terrestrial ecologist and her interest in bat conservation was sparked during her time as manager of NE’s bat advice service (until July 2009). By vounteering as a trustee she hopes her leadership experience, of both people and delivery programmes, helps BCT manage their current business, and develop its future delivery and funding.
Steve Markham, Hon Secretary
Steve 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 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.