Young Shropshire woman receives top ornithology award

19 Oct 2021 | No. 2021-46

At 16 years old, Sian Mercer from Shropshire has been awarded the prestigious Marsh Award for Young Ornithologist by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

Sian has been recognised for her passion for the natural world and in particular birds, and the way in which she shares this passion with others. During 2020 she organised events and activities that included bird walks and talks. She also takes part in bird monitoring schemes, such as the Breeding Bird Survey, Wetland Bird Survey, Grasshopper Warbler surveys and is a member of the British Trust for Ornithology’s Youth Representative Scheme.

Arjun Dutta, nominating Sian for the award, said, “Sian’s love for nature and birds always comes first to her, rather than her own status, with this modesty often causing her work to go unrecognised. Her contribution to ornithology is huge, making her a very deserving winner of the BTO young ornithologists marsh award.”

Sian Mercer, receiving the award,  said, “I feel honoured to receive this award and immensely grateful to both the BTO and the Marsh Christian Trust. Being able to share my love for birds as a BTO Youth Representative is a real privilege, and I hope to continue to inspire others to connect to the natural world going forward.”

Faye Vogely, BTO Youth Engagement Manager, said, "Sian has been a fantastic asset to the BTO's Youth Representative scheme, and we are so pleased to see that her enthusiasm, knowledge, and skills have been recognised through this award. We're excited to keep working with Sian as she, and the wider youth volunteer team, continue to create new pathways for other young people to develop their interests in nature." 

The award was presented by Professor Juliet Vickery, CEO of the BTO, and Charles Micklewright, Marsh Christian Trust Trustee, at the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) Natural Eye exhibition in the Mall Galleries, London.

Sian is the seventh recipient of Marsh Award for Young Ornithologist in the UK.

The Marsh Awards are supported by the Marsh Christian Trust and presented by the BTO

Contact Details
Paul Stancliffe
 (BTO Media Manager)
Mobile: 07585 440910
Email: press [at] (subject: News%20release%20enquiry)

Images are available for use alongside this News Release. These can be downloaded from this link for which you will need to enter the password SWLA202146 alternatively, please contact press [at] quoting reference 2021-46

Notes for editors

Marsh Award for Young Ornithologist
 is awarded to an individual (or group of people) under the age of 18 who has/have made a significant contribution to BTO bird monitoring schemes and shared this information with their peers. The value of the prize is £500.

The Marsh Christian Trust was founded in 1981 by its current Chairman, Mr Brian Marsh OBE. From the outset the Trust has aimed to create long-standing relationships with the organisations it supports and partners through both its principle areas of work; the Grants Programme and the Awards Scheme. The Trust supports around 350 charities every year through the Grants Programme and gives around 80 different Awards to individuals and groups from across the charity sector, who make a difference to a cause that they believe in.
BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Belfast (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.

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