Norfolk Bat Survey honoured for inspiring the county

No.:  2014-47
July 2014

At an award ceremony at the Abbey Conference Centre, Norwich, Dr Stuart Newson, Hazel Evans and Joe Rayner, the driving force behind the innovative Norfolk Bat Survey were presented with an award for inspiring others.

The award was presented by the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership and was given in recognition of the huge number of ‘Citizen Scientists’ that the project has inspired to take part in recording bats in their local area since the project’s inception in 2013.

The idea of the project was to work with other organisations and local libraries across the county to set up 'Bat Monitoring Centres' from which anyone can borrow state-of-the-art bat recording equipment for a few days to find out what bats are present in their local area (www.batsurvey.org). Over the past couple of years over 600 1-km squares have been surveyed, resulting in over half a million bat recordings, and making this the largest project of its type in the country. This includes several species, such as Nathusius’ pipistrelle for which there were previously only a handful of records for the county.  

Stuart Newson, commented: “The aim of the Norfolk Bat Survey is to improve our understanding of the status of bats in the county - to be able input to local conservation action plans, and ultimately to be able to make good decisions for bats. However from the start, we wanted more than this – we wanted to increase community interest, understanding and involvement in bat monitoring. For this reason, we were really touched to be nominated for this award in the ‘Inspiring others’ category.”

He added “Importantly the Norfolk Bat Survey is a partnership between many organisations, communities and local libraries. We have been overwhelmed by the support that we have received - from the centres who have hosted equipment, the communities and individuals taking part, and the funders who believed in us and our idea, and gave us the opportunity to trial the approach. It is wonderful to be able to recognise their support through this important award.”

Hazel Evans, said "The project has really taken off with sign up more than doubling since last year, and it's great to see how many volunteers have returned. I feel privileged to be a part of this project, and am very grateful to the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership and East of England Coop for presenting us with this award."

Notes for Editors

  1. Norfolk Bat Survey is led by the BTO in partnership with NBIS, National Trust (Oxburgh Hall and Sheringham Park), Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (Welney Wetland Centre), Wheatfen (Ted Ellis reserve), Sculthorpe Moor (Hawk & Owl Trust), Broads Authority (How Hill), RSPB (Titchwell) and Norfolk Libraries and Information Service (Aylsham, Hethersett, Caister, Attleborough, Watton, Swaffham, Dereham, Gaywood, Long Stratton and Wells libraries), Dinosaur Adventure (Lenwade), Norfolk Wildlife Trust, University of East Anglia, the Norfolk Barbastelle Study Group, Norfolk Woodland Myotis Study Group, the Pennoyer Centre, the Breckland Society, the Little Ouse Headwater Project, Farmland Conservation Limited, the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group and the Teacher Scientist Network. We are extremely grateful to the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and Natural England (Defra Fund for Biodiversity Recording in the Voluntary Sector) for providing start-up funding last year for this project. Additional support was given by the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership and the Geoffrey Watling Charity.
     
  2. Established in 1996, the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership brings together local authorities, statutory agencies and voluntary groups in pursuit of a shared vision - the conservation, enhancement and restoration of the county's biological diversity. Thanks to sponsorship from the East of England Coop, the NBP awards Community Biodiversity Awards each year to outstanding individuals and groups that make a different for wildlife and people in local communities. To find out who else was given award in other categories see http://www.norfolkbiodiversity.org/news/?id=66.
     
  3. 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

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