The start of next month marks the start of a busy winter season for the Bird Aware Solent team. We hope you’ll come and say hello if you see us out and about on the coast.
Here, alphabetically, is a little about each member of our team:
Ranger Alice has been with the team for just over a year – previously she worked with wildlife organisations and in education. You’ll see Alice up and down the Solent coast but mainly around the Langstone and Chichester Harbours. You might spot her with Conrad, pictured here, one of her enthusiastic canine companions.
Alice specialises in writing blogs, website material, articles and social media which helps raise awareness among the public about the importance of looking out for wildlife and giving our coastal birds the space they need to thrive.
Anna Parry, our partnership manager, joined Bird Aware at the start of 2017. Her role is to make sure the team successfully fulfils our strategic aims and to keep staff and our 19 partner organisations updated on anything relevant. She’s more desk based than other people in the team, though she still finds time to get out and about on the coast.
There’s no such thing as a typical day for Anna: she might be sharing the project goals with local politicians one day, then have her head down and writing reports the next. She enjoys working with our passionate and expert team, and also appreciates the opportunities she gets to visit our stunning coastline.
Ranger Charlotte is based on the Isle of Wight though you will occasionally see her on the mainland too. She’s been with the team for over four years, and before this had a range of roles in wildlife conservation and education.
In her role at Bird Aware Solent, she organises the events and education programme, as well being our resident photographer. Charlotte has written an excellent guide for wildlife photography enthusiasts to help them stay wildlife aware when out on the coast: read her advice in her blog post Responsible photography at the coast.
Appropriately named Jo Barker, is part of our Coast and Country Canines team, and she’s been with Bird Aware for just over a year. As assistant dogs initiative officer, she specialises in encouraging wildlife aware dog walking and covers the whole of the Solent coastline and some inland places too – check out our Events pages to see if a Coast and Country Canines event is planned. You’ll see Jo as both a Bird Aware and a Coast and Country Canines ranger.
A typical day for Jo will start by double-checking the tide and the weather and then setting off with her telescope and a flask of coffee. As well as chatting to dog walkers, she’ll also set up her ‘scope and invite people to have a look at the wonderful birds and other wildlife too.
Ranger Julie has been with the team since the start of 2018 and spends most of her time in the coastal New Forest, especially around Lymington Keyhaven, Milford on Sea and Lepe. She leads a monthly birdwatching walk at Lepe during the winter – visit our Events page to find out more. Previously Julie lived in Vancouver, Canada where she managed the volunteer team at the city’s temperate rainforest park and worked on a variety of environmental education programmes.
Her focus for some time has been around encouraging watersports enthusiasts to be wildlife-aware. She’s worked with local experts to create helpful resources for the wind and paddle sport communities, including an amazing interactive map. You’ll find these valuable guides on our Watersports with Wildlife pages.
Kate Price McCarthy, who looks after our campaigns and engagement, has been with the team for just over two years. She works with one of our partner organisations’ in-house design team to create the brilliant signs, posters, leaflets and designs which help spread our important messages throughout the Solent area.
She also works with the ranger team to share information about the work they do – and about our amazing wildlife – through our Instagram, Facebook and X/Twitter pages. And if you want to keep up-to-date with news about Bird Aware, don’t forget to subscribe to our quarterly newsletter.
Ranger Natalie has been with Bird Aware for six years and will be spending most of the colder months of the year on the coastline around Fareham: River Hamble to Hill Head. ⠀
As well as time spent chatting with members of the public about the importance of looking after our wonderful wildlife, Natalie also works with our partners and landowners to develop physical projects and signage to reduce disturbance to birds. This might involve improving inland parks and recreation areas to encourage people to spend time at less sensitive areas, or putting in extra protection measures such as fences, buoys and educational signage. ⠀
Ranger Richie joined the team in April this year as our new Lead Ranger. He has a huge passion for wildlife as well as a wealth of leadership experience, having for many years managed teams at a major UK retailer. Richie’s responsible for bringing all the elements of the team together and firmly believes in the importance of following the Bird Aware Coastal Code.
You’re most likely to see Richie around Chichester and Langstone Harbours but his role will take him to lots of different areas around the Solent Coast so wherever your local patch of coastline is, you may spot him out and about. He is always up for a chat, so if you see him, come and say hello.
As our dogs initiative officer, Shona Jenkins leads our Coast and Country Canines project. With a specialism in animal behaviour along with a passion for wildlife and the outdoors, Shona has all the expertise and knowledge to help dog walkers stay wildlife friendly.
Shona and her team have developed a raft of resources to ensure our dogs have the best fun on their walks, while steering clear of sensitive wildlife which might otherwise be disturbed. Check out the Coast and Country Canines website for wildlife friendly walk recommendations, training tips and other resources.
As our monitoring expert, Tom Marceau has more of a desk-based role than the rest of the team – if you should be so lucky as to spot him in the wild, it could be anywhere on the Solent. His typical day is very variable, usually involving monitoring Bird Aware Solent projects on site, analysing results of surveys, or writing reports. It’s his job to analyse the data we collect to make sure we’re doing the right things in the right locations in the most effective way.⠀
He’s been with us now for a year and a half, having previously worked with The Wildlife Trusts in Alderney, and Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in conservation and ecology.⠀
Last, but certainly not least is Ranger Tony, who’s been with the team for just over a year. You’re most likely to meet Tony along the New Forest coastline and Southampton water, but he also spends a fair amount of time on Portsmouth and Langstone Harbours.
With a lifelong love of nature and birds and a long career in education spanning 20 years, Tony makes for a inspiring presenter in our regular online talks, as well as an inspirational guide on our many guided birdwatching walks. Visit our Events page to find out more.
Tony is a great believer in the positive impact of birdwatching and nature on our wellbeing. Find out more in his blog post Birdwatching: Good for the Soul.