Launched to celebrate the Millennium in 2000, each year the Trust presents the Worcestershire Wildlife Medal to those people who have dedicated significant parts of their careers or lives to conserving wildlife in the county.
2021 - Brett Westwood
Brett has been active in recording natural history in Worcestershire since the 1980s and especially since the founding of Worcestershire Recorders in the 1990s. Brett is always willing to share with other people his encyclopaedic knowledge of natural history.
He has a long and illustrious record of contributing to natural history publications, notably as joint author with G H Green of “The Nature of Worcestershire” (1991), illustrator and member of the team that produced “A year in the Life of Worcestershire’s Nature Reserves” (1995) and an expert botanist and leading member of the team that undertook detailed countywide recording for the production of “Worcestershire Flora” (2014). In addition, he was one of four authors who wrote, edited and prepared the definitive book “The Nature of Wyre” (2015) and with G H Green as joint author of two papers on the land caddis, a species only found in Worcestershire and bordering parts of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire. Brett is also the author or co-author of several recently published books on natural history that often include reference to Worcestershire, including Tweet of the Day and Wonderland, and a regular contributor to Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s magazine.
Brett has served as a trustee on Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s Council and is a member of steering committees for Worcestershire Recorders and the Wyre Forest Study Group.
Well-known as a radio presenter on natural history subjects at first locally and then nationally, Brett has championed Worcestershire’s natural history and conservation whenever the job allowed. In recent years Brett has been a very active wildlife champion supporting the acquisition of heathland and adjacent areas near Kidderminster.
2020 - Gordon Forrest
Gordon has been actively promoting natural history and conservation for a long time, since at least the 1970s. Most of this has been through giving a vast number of talks and presentations on wildlife illustrated with his own photographs. His style is unique - combining vast knowledge, outstanding pictures and a vigorous sense of humour. The subjects he portrays are many, ranging from seabirds to green woodpeckers on grassland anthills to badgers. He has taken many groups on badger-watching sessions. He has written, illustrated and published eight books packed with accounts of his countryside experiences – again, a unique account of natural history and his life.
He has been very active with the Trust’s Bromsgrove Local Group committee and is currently chairman and organiser. He received a Wild Service Award in 2003 and the citation then stated: keen supporter and publicist of the Trust through large numbers of illustrated talks and film shows for many years. Author and illustrator of two outstanding books on his life as a county naturalist. His dedication to the Trust and wildlife conservation is remarkable, unique and continues.
2020 - John Hodson
John worked for Worcestershire Wildlife Trust from the 1970s until 2020 in a several different practical conservation posts. He first joined as leader of Government-funded Manpower Services Commission Team undertaking practical work on nature reserves. Later he led a team funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund that included supervising and running extensive forestry operations in Tiddesley Wood and practical work on many reserves. During the 1980s he was Marsh Warbler Protection Officer guarding, with others, the series of nature reserves for marsh warblers in the Avon valley from egg collectors whilst at the same time collecting valuable data on their breeding biology. He later became leader of the Trust’s team of volunteers that undertook more exacting and urgent tasks on reserves and who became known as the 'Men in Black' because of their Trust clothing. He retired from this role in April 2020.
In addition to work for the Trust, John is a life-long amateur ornithologist who has been involved with many bird-ringing and research activities in Britain, Portugal, northern Norway and elsewhere ranging from seabirds and waders to warblers, contributing valuable data both locally and to national studies. In Worcestershire be has undertaken Breeding Birds Surveys and other field work organised by the British Trust for Ornithology, which are the base surveys following bird population variations. As an all-round naturalist, he has contributed many records of dragonflies and other species to the county database.
2020 - Michael Liley
Michael first worked for the Trust in 1998, undertaking a detailed survey of county wetlands including mapping their vegetation in more detail than ever before. Then followed several years of survey work of many different Worcestershire habitats with Natural England and Worcestershire Wildlife Consultancy.
He joined the Trust’s staff in 2002 as Wildlife Sites Liaison Officer finding, surveying and listing many important sites throughout the county so giving a good degree of protection to important wildlife sites.
His great passion both in employment and in his own studies is for grasslands, especially lowland meadows, and for him the loss of an ancient grassland is an almost personal tragedy. In recent years much of his work has been liaising with landowners and persuading them to value and maintain herb-rich grasslands. His efforts have undoubtedly led to the conservation of many sites that would otherwise been destroyed.
Michael is an excellent botanist, ornithologist and naturalist who has been a leading player in conserving many habitats in Worcsetershire outside legally protected sites. He has acquired more knowledge and information on sites than anyone else in recent time and forged many important contacts with landowners.
2020 - Alan Shepherd
Alan Shepherd will always be associated with amphibians and reptiles (herps – short for herpetofauna) in Worcestershire and beyond. He has made many observations on many species and given many presentations to a to all sorts of audiences on newts, frogs, toads, lizards, snakes, even escaped turtles in local pools. One particular enthusiasm is for the conservation of slow-worms and he has been closely involved with many projects both as a private individual and a professional consultant. The survival of slow-worms across allotments in Worcester owes a lot to him.
He started helping Worcestershire Wildlife Trust in 1991 as a volunteer warden at The Christopher Cadbury Wetland Reserve at Upton Warren, becoming volunteer manager in 1996, and he undertook a similar role at the Trust’s nationally important grassland reserve at Fosters Green Meadows for several years.
In 1997 he joined the Worcestershire Wildlife Consultancy team where his very wide range of skills as a naturalist enabled him to undertake biological survey work ranging from birds and grassland plants to using his special skills in herpetology. For years he was also involved with finding floristically-rich roadside verges and their designation as nature reserves.
Alan is an outstanding naturalist who used his skills to make a real difference to a wide range of wildlife conservation projects in Worcestershire over many years.
2019 - Paul Allen
As Conservation and Countryside Manager for Wyre Forest District Council, Paul has led a highly committed team of staff and volunteers for more than 25 years in looking after a portfolio of nature reserves and community green spaces. Paul is also the Council’s biodiversity expert in planning and development matters, championing wildlife protection in the District. He has been the moving force behind the Wyre Forest Grazing Animals Project, promoting rare breeds of cattle and sheep to manage wildlife habitats.
Paul’s team run the Young Rangers Club to give young people the opportunity to explore and experience wildlife.
In 2018 Paul was one of more than 40 recipients of the Trust’s Wildlife Heroes award.
2018 - John Tilt
John Tilt is a long-standing Worcestershire naturalist and biological recorder, especially of butterflies, birds (including detailed censuses in Trench Wood), trees and other plants. He is the very effective volunteer manager of Grafton Wood Reserve (owned jointly by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and Butterfly Conservation) and has been since its acquisition. He has played a leading role in planning and undertaking conservation management of the wood. His contribution to practical hard work has been outstanding and he has stimulated many other people to help. The coppice rotations and flowery rides are largely the result of his work. He was the initiator of the use of plastic fencing to exclude deer from coppice coupes and monitoring its effectiveness, a method now used on other Trust reserves. He received a Wild Service Award 2005.
He recently retired after an effective spell as Chairman of Butterfly Conservation's West Midlands Branch. He is a keen butterfly transect recorder and manages and collates transect data for the West Midlands, contributing to understanding variations in butterfly populations in response to habitat management and environmental changes. He is one of the authors of the recently published book on Butterflies of West Midlands. John has planned and is undertaking practical work on several important butterfly sites in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
He was a main creator of Worcestershire’s Ancient Tree recording scheme, constructing the first database and undertaking extensive field work in the early years of the survey.
2017 - Tony Simpson
Tony is a long-standing leading local naturalist and expert Lepidopterist who has made major contributions to the knowledge of moths and butterflies of Worcestershire, especially moths and microlepidoptera, He has been, and continues as, county Lepidoptera recorder. He is joint author (with Michael Harper) of distribution atlases of these insects in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. He is widely known and respected locally, regionally and nationally for his knowledge of moths. Above all he is enthusiastic and always willing to help and encourage others in the study of moths and is the point of reference for numerous current moth enthusiasts.
He is a committee member of Worcestershire Recorders and regular contributor to Worcestershire Record and an active member of Wyre Forest Study Group. Some years ago he served for a while on Worcestershire Wildlife Trust council. He has recorded moths on many Trust reserves contributing outstanding new records, especially at Mill Meadow, and has been volunteer reserve manager at Blackhouse Wood since its purchase in 2015.
2016 - John Bingham
John worked for English Nature/Natural England for many years in Worcestershire as a very effective conservation officer, retiring in 2010. Although he worked throughout Worcestershire and elsewhere his main sphere of interest was the Wyre Forest. His first reports on its flora were internal ones for Natural England in the early 1980s and The Flora of Wyre was the subject of his BSc thesis in 1986. In his work and publications he did a great deal to maintain, enhance and conserve the remaining wildlife habitats of Wyre, often in the face of considerable opposition. His interest in the history and wildlife of the Forest extended well beyond his day job and he probably knows more about the Forest and its wildlife than anyone else.
John is intrinsically a keen naturalist and is a leading expert on vascular plants and fungi together with a wide interest in invertebrates and other groups. Since retiring he has provided many records for the Worcestershire Biological Records Centre from the Wyre Forest district and elsewhere and has written a series of articles for Worcestershire Record and Wyre Forest Study Group Annual Reviews which have added greatly to our recorded knowledge of Worcestershire’s wildlife. These articles are usually illustrated by his own very high-quality colour photographs. He has been photographing wildlife since the days of black and white and colour film. He is an active member of Worcestershire Recorders committee.
Most recently John was one of the main authors of the book The Nature of Wyre, contributing chapters on flora, fungi and beetles as well as helping to check other chapters for accuracy based on his great knowledge of the Forest. He also provided most of the photographs.
John has as given many illustrated talks on aspects of natural history always promoting the need for wildlife conservation.
We should never underestimate the impacts of the incredible contributions of Worcestershire Wildlife Medal winners to the conservation of wildlife across Worcestershire and beyond our borders.Chair, Trust Council
2015 - The Worcestershire Conservation Volunteers
For forty years members of the group have carried out thousands of hours of practical conservation work, mainly of the Trust’s wildlife reserves. Since their inception in 1975, many people have worked with the volunteers but, in particular, Trust Council recognises the following stalwarts still active when the Group disbanded in 2015:
Dave & Jane Scott
David & Brenda Rea
2015 - Worcestershire Flora Project
Members of the Worcestershire Flora Project have spent more than 25 years intensively surveying the flora of the county, culminating in the publication of The Flora of Worcestershire in 2014, the first account of Worcestershire's flora for 100 years.
Many people helped the project but, in particular, Trust Council recognises the following who were involved from start to completion:
Bert Reid (collected the Medal on behalf of the group)
2014 - Tessa Carrick
Tessa joined Worcestershire Wildlife Trust in the 1970s when she was a lecturer in Biological Education at Birmingham University. In the 1980s she became more closely involved with Trust affairs, working with Wildlife Watch groups and various projects. She was elected to the Trust’s Council in 1989 and served as a trustee for many years. On election she soon became Honorary Officer for Education (People & Wildlife), the role soon growing into the section of the Trust dealing with resources, education, communication and membership, working closely with staff. She played an important role in organising and promoting specialist courses on natural history subjects and as a contributor to the Trust magazine, also serving on its editorial group.
Within this activity she also found time to achieve an MSc degree in ornithology and, as a lead within the Trust, in establishing a wildflower meadow at Avoncroft Museum, widely used for educational purposes.
She has promoted nature conservation through informal education and voluntary community work with her local church in Bromsgrove.
Tessa has led on the study of mosses and liverworts in Worcestershire, especially in organising the national British Bryological Society’s week-long meeting in Worcestershire 2004 as a leading local member of that Society. For several years she worked with others on the development of the Worcestershire Biological Records Centre and as a member of Worcestershire Recorders Committee
Tessa was appointed Vice-President of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust in 2010.
2014 - Geoff Trevis
Geoff has served Worcestershire Wildlife Trust for over 40 years in many roles but especially as a member of the Trust’s Council and its committees, serving on both the Executive Committee and Education Committee before the modern structure of the Trust was created to fit a larger and more diverse organisation. Thereafter he has remained on Council serving for a long period as Hon. Secretary. In the early days he represented the Trust on the Council of the national Royal Society for Nature Conservation. He was also a long-term moving force and Chairman of the Trust’s Droitwich Local Group, working with Wychavon District Council and others to promote wildlife conservation in Droitwich. As part of this work he helped with the development and active management of the Droitwich Community Woods nature reserve. Soon after the Trust acquired Feckenham Wylde Moor nature reserve he worked with the volunteer group, managing the reserve for many years.
Geoff was closely involved with the re-establishment and running of the Worcestershire Biological Records Centre (WBRC) when the Trust assumed responsibility for it and it moved to the Trust’s headquarters at Lower Smite Farm. When the WBRC became an independent organisation and charity he became the Trust’s nominated member of the governing Board, which elected him Chairman. He has been a driving force in developing the Centre. At the same time that WBRC became independent, the volunteer naturalists group supporting it transferred to a new organisation - Worcestershire Recorders – the main aim of which was to gather biological records and support the WBRC. Geoff became Chairman of its governing Committee and is still closely involved with its activities. He was an active participant in the production of the book on Worcestershire’s Mammals, compiling many of the species accounts.
Since retirement, Geoff has developed a strong interest in aculeate hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants) and has become Worcestershire's county recorder and local expert with close links to BWARS, the national society for the study of these insects. Latterly he has been appointed Chair of Hymettus, a national Hymenoptera research group, and national Aculeate Conservation Group and this work continues. In Worcestershire he has made special studies of Hymenoptera at heathland sites near Kidderminster and, working with others, has greatly increased the knowledge of these insects in the county and assisted other in courses on them. He is currently preparing a provisional county atlas on the group.
Geoff was appointed Vice-President of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust in 2010.
2013 - Mike Averill
Mike Averill is a well-known active local naturalist, conservationist and county dragonfly recorder, for many years working with other naturalists to greatly increase knowledge of this important group in Worcestershire through dedicated fieldwork, recording and many talks and lectures. In 1996 he produced the first ever definitive book on dragonfly distribution in Worcestershire. Active in dragonfly studies both nationally and abroad, he is again working locally and further afield in collecting and collating records for a new National Dragonfly Atlas. As an active field naturalist he has wide interests including bats, birds and freshwater life, working in many parts of the county and contributing many records to the county database.
Active in the running of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s Wyre Forest Local Group for many years, he also served on the Trust’s Council for several years. He has helped in collecting hydrological information on the Trust’s nature reserves. He received a Wild Service Award in 2003 in recognition for his work for the Trust.
Active committee member of Worcestershire Recorders, helping with many projects. Mike has been chairman and remains an active committe member of Wyre Forest Study Group, a group dedicated to the study of natural history of the Forest. Since retirement he is very active in recording a wide range of groups, including mammals, fish, birds and insects other than dragonflies. Over many years he has contributed widely to recording and understanding the natural history of Worcestershire
2012 - Colin Raven
Colin joined the staff of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust in 1987 as Conservation Office (Reserves). His contribution to reserve management proved to be outstanding, especially in developing sensible management regimes for the Trust’s woodland reserves embracing wildlife conservation, good wildlife-friendly forestry and public access. In 1991 he applied for the new post of Marketing & Development Manager and was appointed to the post from a strong field of applicants. Essentially the main aims of the new post were to increase membership and raise much-needed funds for running the Trust. Amongst many tasks he was deeply involved in running successful big fundraising Open Days at reserves and in producing a new illustrated newsletter for Trust members.
In the early 1990s the Trust’s internal working structure was totally reorganised, removing an old committee structure and moving towards greater staff responsibility and leadership, including the establishment of a new post of Director. This new post was advertised widely and from a very strong field of candidates Colin was appointed the Trust’s first Director in 1995. With the reorganised Trust on a sound financial and organisational base, an excellent working partnership was formed between the then Chairman of Council (Ron Stanton) and the Director. This partnership played an important role in the outstanding growth and success of the Trust that followed and which has continued ever since.
As Director, Colin has a crucial dual role of managing staff whilst also fostering excellent working relationships between staff, trustees and volunteers. The strength and effectiveness of these relationships has become recognised as one of the Trust’s greatest assets. Outside the Trust Colin is closely involved with partnership working on wildlife conservation matters with all the major local authorities in Worcestershire. Nationally he played a leading role in developing the very successful Otters and Rivers Project. He has also been closely involved with other Wildlife Trusts at both regional and national levels.
For 25 years Colin’s energy, clear-thinking and willingness to work with others has made an outstanding impact both on the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and on wildlife conservation throughout Worcestershire. Through his efforts, skills and continuing enthusiasm we are well placed to face the future in which he will play an important role.
2012 - Ian Rowat
Ian retired from Director of The Malvern Hills Conservators in April 2012. During his directorship there have been many changes in management of the Hills, especially in recognising the great importance of open habitats and the need for their restoration.
The Malvern Hills Conservators are a Body Corporate constituted by and deriving their powers from the Malvern Hills Acts 1884/1995. These empower local people to be elected and manage 3,000 acres of the Malvern Hills on behalf of the public. The main objectives under the 1884 Act were to preserve the natural aspect of the land - preserve trees, bushes and turf; preserve the Hills as an open space for the enjoyment of the public; prevent building on the land, enclosure and encroachment; to protect commoners' rights. These basic tenets still stand with several Acts (especially that of 1995) enabling the Conservators to work more effectively.
Old photographs show the Malvern Hills as wide open grassy places grazed by stock. This management, the geological structure of the Hills and the exposure to weather created a unique set of habitats with an outstanding fauna and flora and parts of the Hills are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Grazing became haphazard and almost completely ceased in 1992 quickly followed by invasion of open grasslands by scrub and trees, which rapidly changed the unique appearance and natural history of the Hills. Following a review in 1997 by the Conservators Board, working with English Nature, a new staff structure was created.
Ian Rowat was appointed Director in 1998. He fundamentally changed the practical management of the Hills from doing little to active habitat restoration through scrub clearance and the re-introduction of grazing by sheep and cattle under the direct care of the Conservators. On retirement he was directing a staff of 15 in many tasks ranging from litter picking to coping with large numbers of visitors to stock management. In many ways he and the team he directed have saved the unique habitats of the Hills from degradation and loss. This achievement is an inspiration to all wildlife conservationists and all those who visit and enjoy the Worcestershire’s wonderful Malvern Hills.
Ian Rowat came to the Malvern Hills bringing with him experience gained over 35 years of working in countryside management in the Yorkshire Dales, South Wales, Offa’s Dyke and the Isle of Wight. He retires from management of the Hills to be an active member of the governing Board of the National Trust. He greatly enjoys the outdoor way of life and visiting other lands, including five visits to the Himalayas.
2011 - Rosemary Winnall
Previously children’s teacher and organiser at the Forestry Commission Visitors Centre in Wyre Forest, Rosemary retired in 2004. She organised and ran the very successful Wyre Forest Wildlife Watch Group for many years and has been the main motivator and driving force of the Wyre Forest Study Group, which is bringing together past and new biological, geological and historical records for the Forest.
Rosemary is extremely good at encouraging others and initiating new natural history projects in Wyre Forest. She is the organiser of many indoor and outdoor popular and scientific meetings including the annual Worcestershire Entomology Day, an event now copied in other counties.
Rosemary has undertaken her own long-term detailed studies of sword-leaved helleborines and woodpeckers in Wyre Forest and has made major contributions to the study of waxcap fungi in grasslands and to bird surveys. In 2005 she initiated and drove along a detailed survey of wildlife in three orchards at Bowcastle Farm. The results are of national importance in orchard conservation planning and led to the publication of a Research Report for English Nature, so making an important contribution to the new national Biodiversity Action Plan for traditional orchards.
A leading participant in Grow With Wyre, a huge Heritage Lottery Funded project to rehabilitate Wyre Forest, its fields, orchards and woodlands, Rosemary is a member of the project Board and several of its steering groups. Until recently an active member of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust's Council, only withdrawing to cope with the demands of the Grow with Wyre Project, Rosemary remains an active member of the Trust’s magazine editorial team and a valuable contributor to the magazine as a natural history writer and photographer.
Rosemary is very active in county biological recording and is a member of Worcestershire Recorders governing committee. She is a member of several national societies notably the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society and the Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland, helping to organise field meetings of the latter in Worcestershire.
Rosemary’s greatest attribute is her outstanding ability to encourage and motivate others in the study, appreciation, enjoyment and conservation of wildlife throughout Worcestershire, elsewhere, and especially in her beloved Wyre Forest.
2010 - Adrian Darby
Adrian is one of Worcestershire’s leading ambassadors for nature conservation. He is a conservationist and local politician as well as farming on the south side of Bredon Hill where he has created an important wetland reserve at Kemerton. He has for many years promoted conservation of traditional orchards, the rare wild plants of arable fields, wetlands, grasslands and Lammas hay meadows situated on the Avon and Severn floodplains through purchase, management and encouraging others.
He has been an elected member of Wychavon District Council, often speaking for wildlife conservation and holder of the role of Heritage Champion for the Council, promoting conservation projects. He has played a leading role in the creation of the new Avon Meadows Community Wetlands and Local Nature Reserve, bringing together Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, Wychavon District Council, Natural England, the Environment Agency and many others to develop an innovative project involving both wildlife and Pershore residents.
Adrian has been very helpful and supportive to Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and others in securing funds for establishment of important wildlife reserves, especially assisting the Trust to acquire fields rich in arable plants near Naunton Beauchamp. While chairman of Plantlife Adrian helped in establishing an important herb-rich meadow nature reserve at Stockwood, near Inkberrow. He has been very supportive of the Worcestershire Biodiversity Partnership, taking on chairship at one point, since its inception and encourages all District Councils to take part . He has a long-standing interest in plants and is an active supporter of the Worcestershire Flora Project.
Adrian has also undertaken important national roles in conservation as past chairman of RSPB Council, of Plantlife and as chairman of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).
2009 - Chris Dobbs
During his working life as a landscape architect Chris has been closely involved with promoting wildlife and green space in built-up areas. Working for Redditch Development Corporation in the 1980s he helped provide planning and designs to create housing, employment and road systems that worked within existing landscape features to establish a green town, setting a very high quality of living standards. When the work of the Corporation drew to a close in 1984 he helped start the process of the transferring Ipsley Alders Marsh to Worcestershire Wildlife Trust to be managed as a nature reserve.
Chris moved to Worcester City Council in the mid 1980s and became Landscape Architect/Leader with responsibilities for the conservation of the city’s landscape, including landscape architecture, biodiversity and environment protection and enhancement. In 1987 he promoted the establishment of Worcester Green Spaces resulting in the 1990 Worcester Green Spaces Report, which led to the selection of 77 sites with the greatest potential for wildlife, recreation and educational development. This was reviewed in 1999 and again in 2007 when further sites were added. Worcester City now manages a green network of sites across the whole district.
Early recognition of the importance of wildlife across the city, especially great crested newts, slow-worms, bats and Worcester’s orchards, led to the adoption of polices, included in successive planning documents, to protect and enhance Worcester’s wildlife. Many Planning Guidance notes now give clear direction to planning and development control teams on the need to protect and enhance not only the statutory protected sites and species and green spaces but also green networks and landscape features attractive to wildlife.
Chis is a strong supporter of the Worcestershire Biodiversity Action Plan and the Worcester City Biodiversity Action Programme and delivery plans were produced in 1999. As part of the programme special wildlife surveys have included slow-worms in Worcester City, Warndon ponds and hedgerows and the Worcester City Orchard Survey. Chris has produced the Biodiversity and Trees Supplementary Planning Document to the Local Development Framework, adopted in September 2007, which is seen as an exemplar demonstration document that should be produced by other local government planning teams.
Overall, Chris’s influence in recognising the importance of green space, first in Redditch and subsequently in Worcester City, is of outstanding importance for wildlife conservation in urban areas.
2009 - Andy Graham
During more than thirteen years work with the Trust Andy Graham made an outstanding contribution to its conservation work, especially in wetland and landscape-scale conservation.
He originally joined the Trust on a temporary contract as project officer for the River Avon Otters Project. This involved building artificial otter holts and delivering small-scale habitat schemes to private landowners, at a time when otters were just beginning to re-appear on Worcestershire’s rivers after an absence of more than 30 years. Andy’s work proved to be highly successful and led to the establishment of a countywide project – The River Severn Otters Project – which, by 1999 ,became a model for successful Rivers and Otters Projects run by The Wildlife Trusts across the UK. The success of the Severn project was built round Andy’s knowledge and enthusiasm, which infected all sorts of audiences with the “otters bug”. The success of the project became a key part in the Trust’s promotional and education work as well as delivering substantial conservation projects on the ground.
At around the same time it became apparent that future river and wetland wildlife could not be secured through small-scale habitat projects. A more ambitious approach was needed and feasible. Andy took a lead role in several important initiatives that led to the Trust’s Living Landscapes approach. The first was the Gwen Finch nature reserve near Pershore. Andy secured a significant sum of money from the WWF, which had been bequeathed by Gwen Finch for otter conservation, and this, coupled with funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund and landfill tax credits, was used to purchase and restore 50 acres of floodplain farmland. The subsequent nature reserve is now superb wetland. Andy conceived and delivered this project, the Trust’s first step into substantial habitat re-creation. This was followed by a much larger project at Hill Court Farm where Andy worked with John Hodson over three years to create a fantastic 300 acre wetland reserve.
In more recent years Andy became increasingly involved in policy work at local, regional and national level – again related to wetlands, including the Water Framework Directive and Environment Agency plans covering the whole of the Severn catchment. He also continued to play a lead role in the move towards the Living Landscapes approach, which became the focus of the Wildlife Trusts movement.
Andy’s outstanding contribution has been to recognise the opportunities for a more ambitious approach to conservation and then to go about delivering the ambition, especially for wetlands
2008 - John Rhymer
In 1994 John Rhymer became the first Head of the new Bishops Wood Centre for Environmental Education in its brand new, environmentally friendly buildings on the National Grid site at Crossway Green, near Stourport. He was largely responsible for the initial ideas for the Centre, which set a very high standard of environmental education. The importance of his work and the work of the centre are recognised nationally and internationally. Whatever the environmental initiative, John has had an impact: Earth Education, Eco Schools, Forest Schools, farming and wildlife, sustainability education and so on. He has had an active role in the Department for Education and Science’s Sustainable Schools Framework consultation groups. In Worcestershire he was not only the head of the Centre but also a teacher adviser for Education for Sustainable Development and, with his staff of 20, he led in-service education courses and conferences and influenced schools in their work and in the development of their grounds. He has a special perspective on how to introduce children to the environment.
If you talk to Worcestershire's children, they invariably remember at least one visit to Bishops Wood during John's time there - and they remember it with excitement. John has worked unstintingly for the environmental education movement. He believes in environmental education but, throughout, his most remarkable contribution has been the way he has helped children from all kinds of backgrounds - and their parents - to enjoy the countryside, to feel secure in it and to develop a passion for the environment. His work has made a lasting contribution to the future concern of young people for their environment.
In the past, John served as a member of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust Council. At the time he was also actively involved with the Trust at many levels, contributing particularly to educational activities. In the Redditch area he was active in the local volunteer supporter group. He ran a very successful local Wildlife Watch group as well as helping to develop Wildlife Watch at county level and organising a series of courses for adults, mainly on photographic techniques. During this time he taught biology most imaginatively at Woodrush High School and had an active natural history group that ran a local nature reserve. More recently, he has been helpful in discussing the establishment of new educational work in the Trust.
John Rhymer is a leading figure in environmental education in Worcestershire and has been responsible for raising the understanding and appreciation of the natural environment in many children. His work has also influenced many people far beyond the county boundary.
2007 - Ron Stanton
Ron’s role in Worcestershire wildlife conservation has been predominantly through operational affairs, enabling Worcestershire Wildlife Trust to greatly increase its effectiveness as a county conservation organisation.
Ron became active in the affairs of the Trust with the Bromsgrove Local Group in the 1980s, becoming Chairman of the Group committee in 1988. He was elected to the Trust Council in 1988 and by 1993 was deeply involved in main Trust affairs as Chairman of the Executive Committee during the time Bert Reid was Chairman of Council. This period was the most challenging and difficult time in the Trust’s history starting with the discovery that most of the Trust’s funds had been illegally siphoned off by the Treasurer of the time, leaving the Trust dangerously near collapse. Ron led the negotiations with accountants and the bank, resulting in a good settlement under which the Trust regained its stolen funds with interest, so placing it on a sound financial footing.
During the same period the Trust’s internal working structure was totally reorganised, removing an old committee structure and moving towards greater staff responsibility and leadership, and the appointment of a Director. With all these changes in place Ron Stanton was elected Chairman of Council in November 1995. Soon afterwards, the first Director, Colin Raven, was appointed and with the reorganised Trust on a sound financial and organisational base an excellent working partnership between Chairman and Director was formed. This partnership has been crucial to the outstanding growth and success of the Trust that has occurred over the last ten years. During this time Ron Stanton has played an important role on behalf of Council through advice and guidance on finance and development, especially in the purchase and development of Lower Smite Farm, prudent management of legacies and land purchase. In so doing he has overseen the rise of the Trust to the important role it now plays in wildlife conservation in Worcestershire and nationally through interaction with The Wildlife Trusts. Ron Stanton resigned as Chairman in 2006 but remained on Council chairing the Audit Committee for several more years.
Wildlife conservation in Worcestershire owes much to him because of the managerial and leadership skills he brought to Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.
2006 - Peter Holmes
Peter worked as Conservation Officer for English Nature/Natural England in Worcestershire, and across our borders, for more than 25 years. During that time he brought a wide-ranging commitment to conservation in his adopted county beyond the call of his post.
He has been particularly active in his endeavours to encourage landowners to manage their Sites of Special Scientific Interest in a better way, with a special interest in lowland grasslands. He was very active, along with Andrew Fraser and others, in creating the Worcestershire Biodiversity Partnership and through this and other activities has helped to raise the profile for wildlife conservation within local government and other organisations. In recent years he has been a trustee of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.
Peter is a keen ornithologist, actively participating in bird-ringing, especially through long-term studies at specific sites to help provide information to the national database on productivity and survival of birds from year to year. He is also a keen moth-trapper and has added many contributions to the county’s moth list.
2006 - Sylvia Sheldon
Sylvia is best known for her long-term and important studies of adders and other reptiles, primarily in the Wyre Forest area but also elsewhere. She has made an outstanding contribution to understanding the life histories of individual adders based on recognition of their head patterns and she has been very active in drawing attention to the need for active conservation of this declining species. She has produced regular annual reports on her work for many years.
Amongst her other activities has been outstanding support for the Wyre Forest Society especially through running The Explorers, first for children and later for older folk, taking them on many and varied wildlife forays in the Forest. She has also kept detailed weather observations in Wyre Forest for many years and a field diary. She has inspired many people over many years to become actively interested in wildlife conservation in Wyre Forest and elsewhere, especially through innumerable illustrated talks to meetings of people belonging to a wide variety of Groups and Societies. Her commitment to detailed observation of fauna and flora and its conservation continues to be outstanding.
2005 - Bert Reid
Bert was a major contributor to many aspects of the Trust’s affairs and was deeply involved, both centrally and locally, for 26 years. He served as a Council member for many years, including several years as Chairman and a long period as Vice Chairman. In the past he served on many Trust Committees in the fields of conservation, fundraising and operations and also held the position of Chairman of Council’s Audit Committee, a monitoring committee that he suggested following re-organisation of the Trust’s structure and committees.
He first became involved with the Trust’s affairs at the inaugural meeting of the SE Worcestershire Group on 29th September 1979 and was Treasurer and active member of the group for many years. Bert was a committed wildlife conservationist and a competent naturalist in many fields. He was a leading member of the Worcestershire Flora Project, a project that produced an outstanding new Botany of Worcestershire – the first for 100 years. During this period he became a highly regarded botanist and mational expert on dandelion micro-species.
Since the revival of Worcestershire Biological Records Centre he was a member of its governing Board. On the practical side Bert was deeply involved with the management of Tiddesley Wood nature reserve since it was purchased by the Trust in 1985.
2004 - John Day
John started work on the natural history of Worcestershire in the 1970s. With others he worked on the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s initial countywide habitat survey, the first attempt to map all wildlife habitats, and continued with specialist work on rivers and wetlands. He worked both voluntarily and professionally on collecting and collating information on Worcestershire’s flora, both modern and historical, both for the Worcestershire Flora Project and his own interest. This work led to him mapping and identifying a series of Worcestershire Natural Areas based on botanical, geological and landscape features. This work has proved an important tool for both landscape and wildlife conservation and has been adopted by the County Council as part of its plans for landscape conservation.
John has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Worcestershire and its wildlife which is readily available for conservation. He continues to contribute valuable records to Worcestershire Biological Records Centre having been involved many years ago in its birth and remaining a dedicated supporter of its aims and objectives.
2003 - Dr Johnny Birks
Johnny has contributed much to wildlife conservation in Worcestershire and nationally through his scientific studies of mammals, especially polecats. He worked as Conservation Officer for Worcestershire at the local English Nature office for many years before transferring to the Vincent Wildlife Trust, which is based in Worcestershire.
He has worked tirelessly to promote the cause of mammal conservation based on sound scientific knowledge, working mainly on mink, polecats and, more recently, in unravelling the mysterious lives of Pine Martens. His work showed the re-invasion of the county by polecats and he did much to encourage interest and conservation of that species. Locally he has given active support and help to mammal study groups (bats, badgers) and more recently has provided invaluable help in establishing the project to produce a modern annotated Worcestershire distribution atlas of mammals. He has given many illustrated lecture on mammals to groups within the county. He has always worked closely and amicably with the Trust, both staff and volunteers and his valuable advice and support is readily available.
2002 - Mike Williams
Mike has contributed a great deal to butterfly conservation in Worcestershire and the West Midlands through his work with both the Trust and Butterfly Conservation.
Mainly through his influence the Trust was able to work closely with Butterfly Conservation to purchase and establish both Monk Wood and Trench Wood nature reserves as well as Grafton Wood, which is jointly owned by both organisations. In all these enterprises his ability to work amicably with people from several conservation organisations has been outstanding. He remains an active participant in the management of all these reserves. This level of amicable working between Butterfly Conservation and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust is an outstanding example of what can be achieved by co-operation, and a national example which to date has few followers. Its success here is largely down to Mike.
Mike served a period on the Trust's Council but away from the Trust he has worked with many organisations and people to improve land management for butterflies and other wildlife. He has a very extensive knowledge of butterflies, both British and European, and of reserve management and his contribution to wildlife conservation in Worcestershire is outstanding.
2001 - John Meiklejohn
John was interested in wildlife all his life. He settled in Worcestershire in 1963 as a rural science teacher and through his teaching inspired many children to take an interest in natural history.
Following his early retirement from teaching in 1982 he became deeply involved in teaching many adult classes for several university extra-mural departments on many different aspects of natural history. He also gave innumerable talks and lectures as well as leading vast numbers of field meetings at all levels. He was an enthusiastic and energetic teacher who inspired many to enjoy natural history and to learn how to accurately identify species in many groups - flowering plants, fungi, mosses, insects, spiders, birds. Many a reluctant student has tackled the mysteries of dichotomous keys after John's teaching.
His great interest in naming and recording and understanding the life histories of species led him naturally to become involved with embryonic Worcestershire Biological Records Centre (WBRC) in the early 1980s. He was the one who kept the centre alive when funds and support vanished. He continued to watch over the records when they were stored in the back of a charity shop in Worcester. He continued this work and the entry of a rising flow of records after WBRC moved to the Trust HQ at Lower Smite Farm. He was deeply involved in its new growth and development. Most records were scrutinised and checked by him and many of the distribution maps show a distribution of his field work!
Although John was not involved with the organisation and running of the Trust he was a keen supporter of SE Worcestershire Group activities and slaved away on work parties, especially in Tiddesley Wood.
John's influence on wildlife conservation is greater than might be immediately apparent. His great contribution has been to raise an awareness in the wonders of natural history in many people through his enthusiasm, helpfulness and inspirational teaching. He was no elitist or parader of knowledge; he would talk to and teach anyone. It was never too much trouble to look at any specimen, to identify it and inform the finder. He was undoubtedly Worcestershire's leading naturalist.
2000 - Andrew Fraser
For dedicated service to nature conservation in Worcestershire.
2000 - Harry Green
For dedicated service to nature conservation in Worcestershire.