Ben Darvill

Head of Engagement and Development (BTO Country Operations)

Ben is responsible for managing the team of staff that engages, develops and sustains supporters in the four nations of the UK. He also leads the Sustaining Supporters strategy action area.

Interests & Responsibilities

The UK is rich and varied, and the variation in physical and human geography presents challenges for BTO as we aim to achieve representative survey coverage.

Our Country Operations Engagement team works to improve survey coverage throughout Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, particularly in the regions which need additional support. 

This work includes managing BTO’s network of voluntary Regional Representatives in each country, upon which we so heavily depend. The team also delivers targeted volunteer training, organises local conferences, gives talks and communicates with supporters and the wider public at regional and country scales.

Ben always looks forward to opportunities to speak directly with BTO’s fantastic volunteers, to thank them, and to understand more about what motivates them to participate in our various schemes and surveys. 

Ben is a conservationist at heart, but also a field naturalist and scientist. BTO is uniquely placed to co-ordinate the activities of many thousands of volunteers in order to provide the unbiased and impartial evidence that underpins good conservation decision-making.

Ben is pleased to be involved in this cycle of support, encouraging people to help make a difference through their birdwatching, and then communicating the results and impacts back to them.

Other Information

Outside of work Ben is a keen birder, including as a volunteer for the Scottish Raptor Monitoring Scheme and of course for BTO! He is always happy outdoors, whether it’s birds, badgers, otters, moths or reptiles.

He enjoys a range of other outdoor activities including rock climbing, sea-kayaking, fishing and cycling - though always with one eye on the wildlife.


  • BSc (Hons) Zoology - University of Southampton (2000-2003)
  • PhD Conservation Genetics - University of Southampton (2003-2007) 
  • Ben acquired many of the skills that he uses in this role while setting up and running The Bumblebee Conservation Trust from its launch in 2006 until joining BTO in 2012.

Recent BTO Publications

Darvill, B., Harris, S.J., Martay, B., Wilson, M. & Gillings, S. 2020. Delivering robust population trends for Scotland's widespread breeding birds. Scottish Birds 40 (part 4) : 297-304 8pp
Graystock, P., Yates, K., Evison, S.E.F., Darvill, B., Goulson, D. & Hughes, W.O.H. 2013. The Trojan hives: pollinator pathogens, imported and distributed in bumblebee colonies. Journal of Applied Ecology Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12134)

Other Publications

Hudson, L.N., Newbold, T., Contu, S. et al. 2017. The database of the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) project. Ecology and Evolution 7: (Issue 1): 145-188

van der Wal, R., Anderson, H., Robinson, A. et al. 2015. Mapping species distributions: A comparison of skilled naturalist and lay citizen science recording. Ambio 44: (SI Supplement 4): S584-S600.

Hudson, L.N., Newbold, T., Contu, S. et al.  2014. The PREDICTS database: a global database of how local terrestrial biodiversity responds to human impacts. Ecology and Evolution 4 (Issue 24): 4701-4735.

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