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Wildlife volunteers core to conservation

BBOWT workers recognised with lifetime achievement awards

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

Wildlife volunteers core to conservation

A GROUP of conservation volunteers with more than 80 years experience between them have been honoured by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust.

Roger Dobbs, Steve Elliott and Gordon Ward, from the Bowdown Friday Team, received the outstanding contribution award on behalf of the conservation group that looks after Bowdown Woods nature reserve.

The group of five regulars, including Steve Coulson and Gary Cusworth, under the leadership of Mr Dobbs – have spent every Friday morning since 2009 working in the woodland.

Several other volunteers join the team occasionally to help out on busy days.

The group clocked up more than 100 days volunteering during 2016.

Lifetime achievement awards were presented to John Dellow from Kintbury, Dr John Ward-Smith from Bracknell, and Anne Booth from Earley, Reading. 

Mr Dellow has been warden of Kintbury Newt Ponds for more than 20 years and led the Kintbury Wildlife Group.

He is a member of the West Berkshire Barn Owl Group, regularly monitoring the local barn owl population, including helping to put up nest boxes and ringing chicks.

Mrs Booth has been the warden of Moor Copse nature reserve in Tidmarsh for more than 30 years. 

She has run monthly work parties, leading bluebell walks, writing blogs, and still finding time to survey butterflies at Decoy Heath nature reserve in Aldermaston.

John Ward-Smith has supported BBOWT for more than 30 years through his work on the East Berkshire regional committee and his leadership of the Tussock Trotters and Bracknell Brown Sox. 

The chair-elect of BBOWT, Barbara Muston, praised all the trust’s volunteers, who between them give more than 18,000 days a year looking after local wildlife.

She said: “Without the dedication and commitment shown by all the people we are celebrating today, this wildlife trust would not be able to meet our vision of an environment rich in wildlife, valued by all.

“Personally I feel very humble to be meeting people who have spent their lifetimes monitoring butterflies, or meticulously creating the right habitats for rare plants and dragonflies.”

More than 1,400 volunteers, the equivalent of 75 full-time staff, help the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust look after 88 nature reserves across the three counties.

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