BBC science reporter receives one of Britain's top ornithological awards

No.:  2014-57
October 2014

At a ceremony in London, BBC Science reporter, Victoria Gill was awarded the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) prestigious Dilys Breese Medal, for her exceptional science communication.

Photograph by Nick Caro

Victoria Gill receiving her award from 
The Duke of Edinburgh 

The medal is awarded for outstanding communication of BTO activities to a wide audience, something that she has achieved several times since first reporting the results of the BTO Garden BirdWatch survey in 2009.

Victoria is responsible for making the BTO Cuckoos famous, raising the profile of the BTO Cuckoo tagging project, not just nationally but globally, resulting in over £40,000 donated from the general public and securing the future of the project. During the last 25 years Britain has lost almost three-quarters of its breeding Cuckoos and this project aims to find out why. Since 2011, 47 Cuckoos have been fitted with satellite tags and followed on their journeys to central Africa and back, providing new information to science on the way.

Victoria is the eleventh recipient of the medal, previous medal winners have included wildlife presenter Chris Packham, and the Environmental Editor for the Independent, Mike McCarthy. 

The award was presented by The Duke of Edinburgh at a ceremony hosted by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) at the Mall Gallery in London.

Victoria Gill said, “I'm really surprised and delighted. It's always a pleasure to cover fun, engaging and fascinating science stories - I feel very privileged to do what I do. But tracking those Cuckoos all the way across the Sahara, and meeting them back in the UK, was a real highlight.”

Andy Clements, BTO Director said, "The communication of science, online, on TV and on radio, in an accessible style for the public, is a real skill.  In telling the stories from BTO Science, Victoria Gill has excelled, and her commitment to the values of Dilys Breese and the BTO make her an exciting winner of this Award."

Notes for Editors

  1. Victoria Gill is a multimedia science reporter for BBC News - writing, producing, filming and presenting reports for the BBC News website, as well as for radio and television bulletins.

    She has covered stories from astronomy to oceanography, but specialises particularly on stories about the natural world. Her report on the BTO’s Cuckoo tagging project was broadcast all over the world on BBC news outlets.
     
  2. The BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Bangor (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations. www.bto.org
     
  3. The Dilys Breese BTO Medal is awarded on an annual basis by the BTO. Dilys Breese, a former Vice President of the BTO, was a renowned radio and television producer. In her honour the BTO Council created the Dilys Breese BTO Medal.
     
  4. BTO Cuckoo project.  Over half of the Cuckoos breeding in the UK have been lost over the last 20 years. Since 2011 the BTO have been satellite-tracking Cuckoos to find out why. Lots of vital information has been gathered which will to help save our Cuckoos but there is still more to discover. – to see where the satellite tagged cuckoos are right now www.bto.org/cuckoos

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