27 November 2017

GWCT scientist enters one millionth record into wildlife database on birthday

Living Record Pic

GWCT scientist Jess Brooks, left, receives the camera from Living Record founder Adrian Bicker, right.

A SCIENTIST at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) had a birthday to remember when she entered the one millionth record into a well-known wildlife database website called Living Record.

Jess Brooks, a farmland biodiversity advisor at GWCT, recorded the sighting of a Meadow Brown butterfly on Boveridge Farm within the Martin Down Farmer Cluster on her birthday in July.

Jess surveys a range of birds, plants, insects and mammals across the 5,000 ha Martin Down cluster, and has collected 3,780 records to date with more to be entered. The aim is to document the species currently found on farms in order to inform the conservation work.

These have been collated since the start of April 2017 with the help of farmer members and volunteers in the cluster area, which is located across Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire and surrounds Martin Down National Nature Reserve. The farmer cluster project has been running for over a year and is supported by GWCT and Natural England.

Upon reaching the milestone, Jess was rewarded with a new trail camera from Living Record founder Adrian Bicker.

“It’s very exciting to have won a prize for submitting the millionth entry onto Living Record. In a way, it was nice that it was a common species. Every inhabitant of the British Countryside plays its part!” said Jess.

“The Martin Down Farmer Cluster is hoping to save the local turtle doves by providing vital food and drink resources in spring, when they return from overwintering grounds. We will set up the trail camera at newly created ‘watering holes’ and feeding sites, to monitor their usage.” Living Record was established in 2010 for naturalists, ecologists and others to record the wildlife that they see anywhere in Great Britain.

Jess added: “I have found Living Record to be a very useful tool for our cluster work. It’s fantastic that the data goes where it is needed, at local biodiversity centres, yet landowners do have control of their own data.”

The Farmer Cluster initiative was formed in 2014, in conjunction with Natural England, by GWCT chief executive Teresa Dent MBE.

It’s a plan to help a number of farmers work more cohesively together in their locality, enabling them to collectively deliver greater benefits for soil, water and wildlife at a landscape scale.

And it’s an idea Adrian says is proving to be a real success.

“We are delighted to be working with Jess and her colleagues at GWCT and see real potential in the work that they are doing with farmer clusters.  These are great examples of landscape-scale conservation in action,” he said.

“Living Record provides Jess with the same tools that are already used by wildlife trusts, National Trust estates and local councils to collect records and visualise the distribution of key species across the Martin Down Cluster of farms.  With all this information to hand, there is every prospect that Jess and the farmers will achieve real conservation gains across the cluster and be able monitor these successes.”

The camera was supplied by Perdix.

For more information about Living Record, visit https://livingrecord.net/

Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ more than 60 post-doctoral scientists and other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from government and private bodies.

For information, contact:
Eleanor Williams
Telephone: 07592 025476
Email: press@gwct.org.uk