University of East Anglia ornithologist honoured

01 Nov 2010 | No. 2010-11-49

Dr Jennifer Gill of the University of East Anglia (UEA) received one of ornithology’s top awards yesterday, at a ceremony held at the Royal Society in London.

  Dr Jennifer Gill, Brian Marsh &
Ian Newton

Recognised by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) for her considerable and ongoing contribution to British ornithology, Dr Gill received the Trust’s first Marsh Award for Ornithology from Professor Ian Newton, chair of the BTO, and Brian Marsh of the Marsh Christian Trust.

The Marsh Award recognises the particular contribution Dr Gill has made to the development of young ornithologists, through her work with MSc and PhD students. Many ornithologists trained by Dr Gill now work for BTO and RSPB and at universities in the UK and abroad. Dr Gill is currently collaborating with the BTO in three PhD projects related to how environmental changes impinge upon birds.

Dr Gill is probably best known, within ornithological circles, for her studies of Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits, thousands of which spend the winter here in East Anglia. Hundreds of birdwatchers across Europe are involved with the godwit research by reporting sightings of colour-ringed birds.

Dr Gill said, “I am delighted to receive this award, particularly as it comes from the British Trust for Ornithology, as so much of my research has been underpinned by BTO bird surveys and collaborations with staff and volunteers.”

At the same ceremony, the Marsh Award for Local Ornithology was given to the Cheshire & Wirral Ornithological Society, in celebration of the recent publication of a ground-breaking bird Atlas, whilst Chris Packham (of Autumnwatch fame) received the Dilys Breese Medal, for his contribution to the public understanding of ornithology.

Notes for Editors

  1. The Marsh Christian Trust was established in 1981 and has two main areas of work; grant-making and the Marsh Awards.

    The Trust runs a portfolio of Awards with a number of internationally and nationally recognised organisations such as Barnardos, the National Trust and the Zoological Society of London. The Awards seek to recognise unsung heroes who all aim to improve the world we live in. Recipients of Marsh Awards range from scientists working in conservation biology and ecology, to authors and sculptors from the arts world, and those who give their time unselfishly to work with the young, the elderly, people with mental health issues and for our heritage.
  2. The Marsh Award for Ornithology is available to an ornithologist who is making a significant contribution to the field; typically someone who gained a PhD between ten and twenty years prior to the award being made. Amongst other things, the selection panel considers the significance of the research undertaken so far, contributions to training and capacity building within ornithology, alignment with the BTO’s mission and engagement with the wider ornithological community.
  3. The BTO is the UK’s leading bird research organisation. Over thirty thousand birdwatchers contribute to the BTO’s surveys. They collect information that forms the basis of conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Norfolk and Stirling, who analyse and publicise the results of project work. The BTO’s investigations are funded by government, industry and conservation organisations.

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