Posted 14 December 2022
“I was extremely proud and it gave me an amazing sense of achievement! It really reinforced what I and many others in the conservation sector do in contributing to saving our natural environment."
Amy at the National Biodiversity Network’s awards ceremony - picture credit: Aimee McArdle ©The Trustees of the Natural History Museum London
A Harper Adams University student has secured the National Biodiversity Network’s Young Person Award for Wildlife Recording 2022.
Amy Fleming, a second year BSc (Hons) Wildlife Conservation and Environmental Management student from Worcestershire, was praised by the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Trust for her work with Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, whose ‘Outdoor origins: youth volunteer group’ she joined in 2019 – shortly before coming to Harper Adams to begin her degree.
Over the last three years, Amy has become a supervisor for the group and mentored its new members, as well as working with Wildlife Trust staff to lead and design interesting and engaging sessions for fellow volunteers.
Amy also volunteers on bat surveys, tree surveys, deer surveys, and mammal surveys with the Wildlife Trust, and is now working towards her dormouse licence.
A keen naturalist, Amy also takes part in extracurricular sessions such as bird ringing in her spare time at Harper Adams University.
The NBN Awards for Wildlife Recording are made annually to individuals, groups of people or to whole organisations that are making outstanding contributions to wildlife recording and improving our understanding of the natural world in the UK. The NBN Trust makes biodiversity data accessible, to support better decisions about the natural world and to connect people with nature.
Speaking to the NBN Trust about her recording work, Amy said: “What excites me about wildlife recording is the anticipation before a survey and knowing that you are playing your part in the collation of crucial data. Before and during a survey you don’t know what you will come across or how many of a species you will find!
“Take dormouse surveys for example, the excitement bought with bagging the nest box, sliding the lid off and seeing a sleeping dormouse or an explosion of juvenile dormice.
“Every recording session is different, and it is so rewarding looking at the data you’ve collected, knowing that it will be part of vital national research and aiding in nature’s recovery.”
Amy chose her course at Harper Adams after looking for a degree which tailored to her interests – and, upon finding her current course, she knew she had made the right choice.
She added: “I wanted to do a niche course that was specific to conservation and came across BSc Wildlife conservation and Environmental Management.
“I hadn't come across many other courses with such a specific title before and Harper was within commuting distance from where I live!
“I love being in a rural setting to complete my degree and have enjoyed being able to go on long walks during my study breaks.
“It has also been interesting learning about the different perspectives on conservation from a range of people. I have enjoyed opportunities such as bird ringing, arranged by and Julia Casperd who oversees the extra-curricular Field Studies group, which reinforces our learning.”
Amy – who shares her work with wildlife on her Twitter and Instagram accounts to thousands of followers – is hoping her award will encourage other young people to consider conservation work.
She added: “I was extremely proud and it gave me an amazing sense of achievement!
“It really reinforced what I and many others in the conservation sector do in contributing to saving our natural environment.
“I was honoured to be representing the youth of today that play such a vital role in data collection and conservation.”