Many of you will have heard the terrible news this Tuesday afternoon (31st March 2015) that on one of Dorset's best-known and best-loved heathlands was largely lost in a huge fire. The Fire Service believes it was arson, with the fire started deliberately in three places. Much of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation's (ARC's) Town Common reserve, and ARC & Christchurch Borough Council's St Catherine's Hill reserve have gone up in flames. The Fire Service estimated 800m x 800m, which would be over 60 hectares (150 acres) gone; but current estimates by ARC staff are more like 80 hectares.
Spring is pretty much here now, and there is always a distinct surge in ecological consultancy work at this time of year. We have therefore been recruiting, and we welcome our newest staff member, Alice Quinney, who joins us as an Ecologist.
When CGO Ecology first started in March 2008, it was just a one-man band. Now we have four permanent staff, quite a few seasonal staff, and numerous subcontractor associates. In 2014 for the first time, we set up our own Habitat Management Team, so that we could offer heathland restoration, scrub and invasive species removal, and other habitat-related services.
CVs, CVs, CVs... It's that time of year again, and the CVs are flying. Winter seasonal work is coming to an end, and spring/summer seasonal work is being advertised. But how do you make your CV stand out from the others?
The Great Crested Newt (GCN) Task Force is an initiative instigated by Defra a couple of years ago, with the aim of improving intelligence on GCN status in the UK, whilst supporting the sustainable development agenda. There are several parallel workstreams, each involving a committee to deliberate and progress aspects of policy and capacity that need improvement. One workstream is defining Favourable Reference Values (FRVs) for example, so that we know what conservation goals we should be aiming for, nationally and locally.
So far, 2015 has all the hallmarks of another busy year. With existing projects being extended, and new jobs coming thick and fast at our Dorset and Nottinghamshire offices, we will most likely be recruiting again soon. New projects on our books this January include:
Amphibian and Reptile Conservation's consultancy arm ARCESL and University of Kent's DICE have teamed up to carry out research and development into predictive modelling of great crested newt (GCN) occurrence in England. The project, commissioned by Natural England, is a follow-up to the Evidence Enhancement Project which ran in 2013 and 2014, delivered by Hyder-Cresswell, CGO Ecology and other partners.
The EC has published a new set of regulations to tackle the dire problem of invasive alien species (IAS) across Europe. The spread of IAS is widely viewed as one of the biggest threats to global wildlife alongside climate change and habitat loss.
For the next three weeks, CGO Ecology's Director & Principal Ecologist Chris Gleed-Owen will be in Madagascar. The primary reason is to attend the ACSAM2 meeting, which will see a conference of amphibian conservation experts convene to discuss pressing issues in Malagasy amphibian conservation.