17 October 2017

Top wildlife award presented in memory of internationally-recognised ecologist Dick Potts

Dick Potts Posthomous Award

Olga Potts collects the RSPB Posthumous award on behalf of late husband Dick Potts

THE prestigious RSPB posthumous medal was recently collected by Olga Potts in memory of internationally-recognised ecologist Dick Potts at the charity’s Members’ Day and AGM.

Dick was awarded the medal by the RSPB Council for his outstanding contribution to nature conservation shortly before he died on March 30 this year.

Dick made a sustained contribution to conservation and science from the 1970s onwards, particularly through ground-breaking studies into the effects of chemicals on farmland birds, especially the grey partridge.

After collecting the accolade on Dick’s behalf, Olga spoke of how much the award meant to him at the QE11 conference centre in London on Saturday 7 October 2017.

She said: "He would never have imagined as a small boy with a passion for the wildlife around him - as recorded in his very early diaries - that he would be honoured with this prestigious award.

“He was modest about his achievements and would have seen this as an award for a great team, both past and present.

“The biggest acknowledgements go to that amazing team at the GWCT, particularly Julie Ewald and Nicholas Aebischer who over recent years helped to put into practice those ideas which, at times, appeared to have come from nowhere - but were usually proven to be correct! He was very good at challenging people to think outside the box.

“I know he would thank all those farmers in Sussex who over the years have allowed him and his team to tramp all over their fields in order to test theories and carry out experiments.”

Olga also spoke about the Legacy Fund which has been established in Dick’s memory.

Since it launched, £14,500 has been raised and applications are now open for young ecologists, farmers, gamekeepers and land managers to receive grants for exciting projects.

She added: “Dick thrived on the company of young scientists and their fresh ideas, and there are new young researchers at the GWCT following in his footsteps. We aim to keep this going through his Legacy Fund-applications..

“He was an eternal optimist and I believe would have see this as confirmation that all those involved in conservation in its many forms are working towards the same goal--ensuring a sustained environment for future generations.”

Dick was appointed director-general of the Game Conservancy Trust in 1993 - which became the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust in 2007 – before retiring in 2001.

To apply for funding, visit https://www.gwct.org.uk/news/news/2017/october/submit-your-application-for-the-dick-potts-legacy-fund/.

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 31st October.

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 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 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. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

ISDN radio broadcast line – at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.

For information, contact:
Kate Williams
Telephone: 01425 651000
Email: press@gwct.org.uk

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