Marsh Volunteer Award for Marine Conservation

This Award is run in partnership with the Wildlife Trusts and recognises a volunteer who has made an outstanding contribution to marine conservation and who has furthered the work of the Wildlife Trusts in this area.

The Award is open to all 47 Wildlife Trusts, and volunteers are nominated by local Trusts. The Award is delivered in partnership with the Wildlife Trusts ‘Living Seas’ projects, a scheme for the conservation of the seas and marine wildlife.

Nominations are gathered by the Wildlife Trusts and a shortlist is put forward to the MCT for the winner or winners to be selected.

Pictured: Tompot blenny © Paul Naylor

Northumberland Coast Care Volunteers 2018

Amanda Crowley joined Coast Care at the start of the project in 2017 and is a really enthusiastic volunteer.She attends a large amount of Coast Care’s organised beach cleans, has taken on the role of Site Warden and does daily surveys and cleans on her local beach in Beadnell. Amanda has a keen interest in conserving wildlife, and has participated in surveys including rocky shore, butterfly, pollinators and seabirds.

Carol De Brikasaan joined Coast Care as soon as it was formed in 2017 and has always been an enthusiastic volunteer. She attends a large amount of organised beach cleans and has set up a small group in her local area to organise additional Coast Care beach cleans that she runs on a weekly basis. Carol also attended training on how to become a site warden to take care of her own stretch of beach. Carol is recruiting and inspiring people in Berwick upon Tweed and making a massive difference in spreading the word about the litter problem along the Northumberland Coast.

John Parkin joined Coast Care in 2017 and was very enthusiastic from the start, not only does he attend a large amount of organised beach cleans, and practical conservation tasks, he has also taken on the role as site warden and does daily surveys and cleans on his local beach at St Aidans. John has taken part in regular wildlife surveys including rocky shore and seabirds and has helped build barn owl boxes for the local area.

Lynne Russell has been working on the Coast Care project for a few months, and has been highly dedicated. Not only does Lynne clean her own beach on a weekly basis she has also set up her own group called Litterbugs, which encourages local school children to ger involved in recycling and picking up litter. She also runs a monthly column in the Northumberland Gazette raising public awareness about plastic and attends a number of local group beach clean events.

Raine Doelberg has litter picked all her life wherever she has been and for the last 6 years she has been cleaning Spittal dunes and beach almost every day in all weathers, actively recruiting volunteers to help her. For 2 years she ran an anti-litter competition, designing all the graphics, devising the questions and organising sponsors, prizes (made from recycled litter!) and a prize giving. Recently she has given a presentation and booklets to the Berwick Council highlighting the amount of litter and the problems it causes in Berwick, also manning a display stand for the public. She is currently designing posters to go in Council notice boards.

Previous Winners

Fred Booth, Dr Melanie Broadhurst and Pauline Gillings

Fred Booth

Fred has championed marine conservation in Kent for decades, instigating a Marine Group of volunteers in the 1980s. He personally recorded habitats and human activities along almost every kilometre of Kent’s long coastline as part of the national NCC Coastwatch project, building his knowledge of the coast and wildlife. He has run countless marine life identification training courses and spends time with volunteers on surveys passionately sharing his knowledge about the species they encounter. Fred was instrumental in establishing Kent Wildlife Trust’s marine programme, where The Wildlife Trust’s Shoresearch was born. He has been an inspiring mentor to the new marine staff, continuing well into his 80s to survey, engage and train numerous new volunteers. The data he has collected, and inspired others to collect, has been critical in identifying the location of most of Kent’s Marine Conservation Zones.

Dr Melanie Broadhurst

Melanie started volunteering with Alderney Wildlife Trust in 2007 as the Trust’s second ever voluntary Ramsar site Officer, where she helped to establish the basis for the first ever environmental records centre, completing a new Ramsar Information review and establishing marine links and co-operation across the Channel Islands. While studying for her PhD, Melanie maintained her contributions to the Trust, leading dozens of marine activities annually and increasing links with other organisations. She also provides a great deal of support to the Living Seas team at the Wildlife Trusts and a number of other organisations, while sharing her knowledge and experience with MSc students who go to Alderney to complete field work.

Pauline Gillings

Pauline has attended regular beach cleans at Cley Marshes since they began in Spring 2015, and soon after became an official volunteer with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and began running the beach cleans when the education officer was away, which she now has full responsibility for. She is dedicated to her role at the beach cleans, attending every month with enthusiasm and removing a large amount of litter which would otherwise be harmful to wildlife in the area. Pauline is very active in promoting the events and has increased the number of volunteers substantially.

Nigel Phillips and Ivor Rees

Nigel Phillips began volunteering with the Somerset Wildlife Trust in 2010, becoming a champion for the importance and diversity of the county’s coastal marine environment which had before gone largely unnoticed. He is a hugely passionate naturalist and conservation advocate, and has trained himself in coastal ecology and species identification, developing an intimate knowledge of the coast after hundreds of hours walking and surveying it.

In 2013, Nigel became Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas Ambassador and has organised a full and varied programme of coastal and marine events that have raised the profile of the coastal area. He has also written two books, Somerset Coast: A Living Landscape and A Guide to Finding Seashore and Rockpool Life in Somerset, which he uses to promote the Trust and illustrate its Living Seas vision. Nigel has set up an intertidal survey volunteer group, organising training sessions in the Shoresearch methodology, which has led to an increased level of data being made available to the Trust.

Ivor Rees

Ivor is a long standing volunteer, mentor and marine conservationist, as well as an Honorary Research Fellow at Bangor University and a member of the North Wales Wildlife Trust’s Marine Advisory Group. Both Ivor and his wife have been active members of the Trust for well over 40 years, providing advice and using their extensive knowledge of marine life and conservation to direct and inform marine projects and campaigns.

Ivor has an extensive library of publications to his name and is a regular contributor of articles and reviews to the Welsh wildlife magazine, Natur Cymru, along with editing the articles on marine subjects. In 2007, the North Wales Wildlife Trust Marine Advisory Group was formed with Ivor as one of the founding members. The group has formalised the advice that he is able to give and has allowed him to help manage and protect the coastal reserves in North Wales. Over the years he has led many seashore walks for members and the public.

Betty Green

Betty Green is a long standing member of the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, having first joined the Trust in 1975 and becoming a life member in 1989. Over the years, Betty has pursued an interest in marine conservation and diving and she and her husband took part in various dive expeditions from the early 1980s. In 1996, they provided information and photos on Cumbrian marine sites for the JNCC publication Coasts and seas of the United Kingdom, Region 13 Northern Irish Sea which mapped the coastal environment to help fill some of the data gaps needed for policy development and environmental management.

In the early 1980s, Betty initiated a marine group for the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, bringing together people from around the county to pursue an interest in marine wildlife. Despite the group eventually disbanding, Betty continued to promote marine conservation within the Trust and the Living Seas programme now sits alongside Living Landscapes at the core of the Trust’s strategy and vision.

Betty continued to actively participate in Shoresearch surveys as a volunteer for the Trust. She also volunteers at or attends all of the Trust’s major marine events to show her support for the work that they do. In addition, she travels down to the Coastal Futures Conference every year and has continued to be supportive of, and involved with, the world of marine conservation whenever she can.

Paul Naylor

Paul Naylor is one of the UK’s top underwater wildlife photographers. He has built up a fantastic collection of images of British marine species and habitats and inspired countless people with his photography books which give a fascinating insight into the life, behaviours and struggles of the species he photographs.

Paul has been a dedicated partner with the Wildlife Trusts Living Seas programme for many years, supporting their work both personally and through donations of his photographic work and books. His images have been the face of many Wildlife Trusts’ campaigns and are widely recognised. Paul has also given talks and inspiring presentations at various events and conferences, again, giving his time and enthusiasm freely.