BioBlitz! 14th May 2019






La Société announces: Chris Packham is visiting Guernsey!

In May, you will have the opportunity to meet TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham when he visits the island to hold two performances at St James and to open Guernsey’s first BioBlitz.

Yvonne Burford, President of La Société Guernesiaise, commented:-

“La Société is absolutely delighted that Chris Packham has agreed to come to Guernsey for two performances on 13th and 14th May of his one-man show “Pictures from the Edge of the World”. Chris is one of the UK’s leading naturalists and wildlife champions. Well-known for his work as a TV wildlife presenter, Chris has a passionate love of nature and the courage, determination and ability to campaign for and protect our wildlife. He is also a prolific writer and respected photographer. In ‘Pictures from the Edge of the World’ we get an insight into Chris’s mind as he travels the world to photograph and campaign for the protection of wildlife everywhere. We’ve launched a brand-new website at . Join us now to help protect wildlife in Guernsey and to receive a 33% discount on tickets to see Chris Packham. Tickets from ”


Chris Packham said:

“La Société́ plays a vital part in protecting and enhancing Guernsey’s natural environment and its biodiversity. I would encourage all islanders to join up as a member to enable this important work to continue.


During Chris’s visit he has also offered to open Guernsey’s first ever BioBlitz on Tuesday 14th May.


A BioBlitz is an event which strives to record as many species as possible from a site in a single day. It helps us better understand our nature reserves but also provides an opportunity for schools and the wider public to search for, and record, our local wildlife.

Throughout the day expert recorders will be investigating everything from birds, moths, and bats to flowers, seaweeds and lichens. The public can drop in at any time to help with the search and find out more about Guernsey’s flora and fauna.

The event is a partnership between local organisations, including the Guernsey Biological Records Centre and La Société Guernesiaise.


Elizabeth Sweet, Manager of the Guernsey Biological Records Centre, commented:-

“A BioBlitz is a great way for people to explore our natural spaces, discover and learn about nature.

The information we gather at this citizen science event is very important. Everyone’s observations will add to a living snapshot of what species are found where at this moment in time and combine into a baseline against which we can measure future change.

It can be used to improve our understanding of how species live, what they need and how they respond to environmental changes, human activities, conservation management or climate change. This knowledge is vital for informing conservation policy and land management decisions.”


Chris Packham and his team launched a campaign of BioBlitzes; In July 2018 they visited 50 sites across the UK to study the wildlife found and create a ‘Biodiversity Audit’ of Britain’s Countryside.

Julia Henney, Biodiversity Education Officer, commented:-

“We are very excited to be hosting Guernsey’s first BioBlitz in May, and to have Chris Packham open the event will be a very special highlight!”

The BioBlitz is a great opportunity for the public and local schools to help us study our natural environment and it will also allow us to create a benchmark of the wildlife found in a site to help us better understand how Guernsey’s wildlife is faring.”

For more information about the event and how to get involved, be sure to follow @BiodiversityPartnership on Facebook.

Posted in Conservation, Event, Guernsey, News, Uncategorized

MSc Island Biodiversity and Conservation – taught in Jersey

Are you interested in biodiversity? The unique twists that an island environment can produce?

Look no further than the incredible new opportunity to study an MSc in Island Biodiversity and Conservation delivered by the Jersey International Centre of Advanced Studies and is accredited by the University of Exeter.

Spoiler alert – if I didn’t have my job at the Record Centre I’d be applying for this!

Full details of the course can be found here:



The JBC/JBG are offering bursaries for Jersey based projects to try to fill our data gaps.

Abundance and distribution of shrews in Jersey  (Jersey Biodiversity Centre) – £2,500 bursary 

Jersey is the only location in the British Isles that is home to both the Millet’s Shrew Sorex coronatus and the lesser white-toothed shrew Crocidura suaveolens. Both species have been trapped as part of Island monitoring plans (in 2000 and 2014) as well as in consultant surveys and research studies.  The capture rates of both of these species however is low and further research is required to understand the habitat preference and abundance of these species in Jersey.  There is also the opportunity to investigate whether there is competitive exclusion between the two species.

The Jersey Bat Group is also offering this one:

Bats in Jersey’s urban environment (Jersey Bat Group) – £2,500 bursary 

Jersey is home to up to 18 species of bats comprising a mix of species commonly found in the UK and more continental species such as the grey long eared bat Plecotus austriacus and Kuhls pipistrelle Pipistrellus kuhlii.

Whereas there are Island wide (iBats and JbatS) and targeted bat surveys (Jersey Bat Group) within Jersey, relatively little is known about bats in urban areas.  Working with known roost and bat rescue locations, you will survey the Island’s capital using bat detectors (passive and active) and will utilise ‘citizen science’ in a bat-spotting campaign.  You will undertake a desk study assessing the light pollution, tree densities and housing stocks in St Helier to assess whether any of these factors correlate with numbers and densities of bat activity and roost location.

Other bursaries are available too –

Posted in Conservation, Education, News Tagged with: , , , , ,

Insurance Guernsey – 29th Annual Conservation Awards

Are you passionate about conservation?

Do you have a great idea or a project you want to kickstart but you just need a little help to get going?

Is your idea simple with just an outline of what you want to do and why?

After 28 successful years of putting conservation back into the heart of the community, Insurance Corporation are again calling keen conservationists in the Channel Islands to enter their annual awards for the 29th year.
A diverse range of awards are up for grabs; including a top prize fund of £2,000, and the competition is open to all ages with entries sought from schools, individuals, businesses, leisure and conservation organisations.
In 2019 there will be several awards available:-

  • Overall winner – receiving £2,000
  • Runner-up – receiving £1,000
  • Peter Walpole People’s Choice Award – receiving £500 (which is voted for by the public through Insurance Corporation’s website)
  • Young Conservationist of the Year Award – prize depends on size and scope of the project
  • The Best School Conservation Project – receiving £500.

Download Entry Forms Here

2018 winners were the Pollinator Project

The Pollinator Project – 2018 Conservation Awards Winners

As entries roll in for our annual Conservation Awards, we've been reminiscing on 2018's projects. Find out about Guernsey winners 'The Pollinator Project' in this short clip 🐝Are you a business, student, group or individual with a project of your own? Find out more about our awards and enter!

Posted by Insurance Corporation Channel Islands on Wednesday, 13 February 2019

The Insurance Corporation’s Managing Director (designate) Mark Marshall says the continuing popularity of the competition is no surprise:

Since joining Insurance Corporation earlier this year, I have been hugely impressed with the Company’s community support programme, particularly around conservation. Green issues that may have been considered alternative in the past are firmly in the mainstream now and I am really proud that Insurance Corporation have been pioneers amongst the corporate community for recognising the worth of funding positive achievements in this area for nearly three decades. I have been reliably told we receive a whole host of applicants each year and I hope again we can look forward to receiving a broad range of applications this year and meeting the individuals behind the projects. To add to this, we would like to attract even more young people and schools to take part so we have a specific prize fund particularly dedicated to the Young Conservationist of the Year Award.

Where possible all shortlisted entries will be visited by a team of judges, which includes local environmentalists and representatives of the Insurance Corporation, who will choose the prize winners.

Whether it is a school who enter a large project or a young individual with a tiny project on their window sill, both are making a contribution to the protection of our valuable green spaces and our local flora and fauna. We award money to our successful entrants because we believe it is important to help with the funding as well as celebrate their diligence and hard work.

Entries must be made by Monday 15 April.

Judging will take place on Wednesday 15 May in Guernsey, and Wednesday 22 May in Jersey.

The Insurance Corporation Conservation Awards culminates with the winners being announced at a lunchtime ceremony for all the shortlisted entrants on Thursday 20 June in Guernsey and Thursday 27 June in Jersey.

You can submit a fully planned out project, but don’t worry if it’s still just an idea. The submissions can be simple, with just an outline of what the project is and it’s purpose. 

Download entry forms here

Posted in Conservation, Guernsey, News

Scotland’s International Marine Conference – 20 and 21 February 2019

Day 1

Last week I attended Scotland’s International Marine Conference 2019. The conference focused on current national and international actions to protect the marine environment with delegates from both Scottish, UK and international government representatives, scientists, research groups, industry representatives, marine conservation representatives, consultants, and grassroots community organisations who are tackling the growing problem of marine litter on the sea shore.

As First Minister Nicola Sturgeon highlighted in her keynote address, management of the seas is fundamental to everyone in the country.

Other Keynote speakers included ocean advocate, swimmer and UN Environment’s Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh, who recounted his incredible, daunting and somewhat chilly 1 km swim at the North Pole highlighting the impact of global warming. It should not be possible to swim at the North Pole yet there was open water, enough to swim a kilometer, which shows the damage we are causing, however the focus of his talk not was the damage, but to encourage us to not give up on this challenge and to continue to fight and protect our incredible blue planet.

The first afternoon of discussions centred around the issues our oceans are facing from climate change, pollution and human activity. What marked this conference as unique to me was the collaborative approach, with speakers from all sectors; government, research, industry and conservation and communities. A notable highlight was Government scientists referencing Marine Conservation Society Beachwatch data as the best data set available on beach litter and how it is essential to their modelling and policy work. I mention this to showcase the importance and the capability of citizen scientists and that their work has real world, important application!

After discussion sessions finished we enjoyed a whisky tasting by Glenmorangie. They are working with Marine Conservation Society and Heriot-Watt University to restore native oysters back to the Dornoch Firth.

Day 2

The second day focused on the impact of marine litter. I took part in the Marine Litter Sinks with presentations that highlighted the appalling impact and looked at some of the reasons why certain locations are litter sinks. The community action groups and conservation presentations are on the front line of marine litter. What resonated with me was these communities are working so hard but due to location and marine processes are dealing with same issue again and again and again. Again what set this conference apart was that side by side with the impact of marine litter, there were presentations looking at potential solutions to address this global problem. Sometimes these were in the same talk and sometimes other presentations were giving people reasons why they have certain recurrent issues. Loch Long is one such Marine Litter Sink, but now the Scottish Government is working in partnership with communities and conservation organisations.

After lunch I attended the Pre-production Plastics (Nurdles) session which included scientists who work specifically on this issue, a research group from South Africa who organised clean up of the great nurdle spill in Port Durban. They took action when the authorities were slow to tackle this….and the following year 1 billion nurdles started washing up on the shores of Australia in what has become known as The Great Nurdle Disaster.

We had a fantastic presentation by the plastics industry on the initiatives they are using to encourage responsible transport and storage of nurdles and from environmental charity Fidra who work in concert with the public, industry and government to address the plastic waste and chemical pollution in our seas, on our beaches and in the wider environment. Their work is solution focused and the success of their work is an important take away message – we need to work together to tackle this issue – check out the video below for information on one of their citizen science projects – The Great Nurdle Hunt.

A panel Q&A session rounded off the conference and of all the questions the one that stuck with me was the question, paraphrased below, put to the whole panel:

What one thing would you do this year to change plastic pollution?

All panel members answered but this answer, paraphrased, was my favourite:

I would have every person living in Scotland take part in a beach clean. To connect the inland communities to what those on the coast are facing and to bring home to every politician what is happening on our coastline.

This is a powerful statement and one I think we can take definitive action from back here in Guernsey and here is why – did you know that if all the participants of the Cornish beach cleans had been paid minimum wage last year it would have cost £376,000 to pay them.

Three hundred and seventy six thousand pounds! Relying solely on the good will and social responsibility of community action is not sustainable. We need to work smart and through collaborative activity tackle this together.

Posted in Event, Guernsey Biological Record Centre, Marine Biology, News Tagged with: , , ,

2nd March Talk: Introduction to the Guernsey Biological Records Centre

An introduction to the Guernsey Biological Record Centre

Many of us know what a Biological Record Centre is, as the name explains it very well, but a lot of us don’t know what a Record Centre does, how you can be a part of one or even what makes a record.

So what kind of records exactly do we want?

In a nutshell – all of them! Of particular interest are the normal animals you see. I can almost guarantee people will tell me about a rare bird visiting Guernsey or a rare plant being discovered. The humble hedgehog, rabbit or rat? Not so much. If you’d like to find out more and why I am so interested in common biological records, please do come along to the talk I am giving on;

Saturday 2nd March 2019 at 11:00 am at the Frossard Lecture Theatre, Candie Gardens. 

The talk will be about 45 minutes long with questions at the end. I’ll start by introducing myself and talking a little bit about my research history. Yes, Antarctica will make a brief appearance as will penguins. Then I’ll move onto our very own Record Centre, what we do, why that’s important and talk about some of the projects going on and events planned for this year.

Posted in Event, Guernsey Biological Record Centre, News

2018 Wrap Up

2018 was a busy and exciting year for the Guernsey Biological Record Centre!

In May we migrated to a new database mapping programme, DistmapsPro. This incorporates all the features of the original Distmaps but within ArcGIS Pro. The Record Centre’s focus is the collection, management and interpretation of wildlife data to support the conservation, understanding and enjoyment of local biodiversity and we can now do this using the latest mapping technology.

Jane Gilmour began enjoying a well earnt retirement at the end of June and I was appointed as the new manager towards the end of year. Growing up in Guernsey is a naturalist paradise and you can read about how this led me on a journey across the world, through the tropics to Antarctica and back again on our About Us page.

Other highlights of 2018 included;

Small Mammal Surveying 

Imperial College visited Guernsey during May and June and their surveying revealed that our voles are, on average 10% larger than their European cousins.

The largest vole measured was 13.6 cm (5.4 in) in length. That’s 2 mm larger than the previous record and is thought to be the largest European common vole ever recorded!

Why are Guernsey Voles so big? We don’t yet know, but may be related to the Island Rule Hypotheses.


The publication of the revised and updated Check List of Guernsey Plants by Rachel Rabey and Jane Gilmour – click here to purchase

Guernsey black-backed meadow ant nest site survey data was included in Guernsey Facts and Figures Booklet 2018 (p 108) – click here to view the booklet 

As more records are confirmed I’ll be updating this post to show some of the fantastic flora and fauna we have living among us.


Posted in Guernsey, News Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Project Ormer

Towards the end of 2018 the Marine Biology Section of La Société Guernesiaise kick-started Project Ormer!

So what is Project Ormer?

Project Ormer is a long-term project to research our island’s precious ormer population! It aims to discover aspects of ormer biology, ecology, and behaviour, as well gain information about the size of Guernsey’s ormer population.

Volunteers carry out surveys at low tide, carefully inspecting and turning rocks while searching for ormers, and taking a number of measurements, when an ormer is found.

Each ormer is photographed and tagged with a yellow label that has a unique code and fixed to the shell with water-activated glue. This means every individual may be identified if it is found again and allows us to monitor population changes and environmental preferences.

Finally the habitat was carefully returned to the condition it was found in, with rocks being photographed, measured and replaced and GPS coordinates recorded.

Sites are re-visited periodically so that ormers may be re-measured, contributing valuable data to our research.

Laura Bampton, marine biology section secretary, is coordinating the project and has overseen three tagging events at Lihou intertidal zone since October 2018.

If you have any questions about the project, or would like to get involved, please email

These photos show what a tagged ormer looks like, and what to do if you find a tagged ormer.

Posted in Marine Biology, News Tagged with: , , , ,

Project Coordinator (Asian Hornet Strategy)

An exciting opportunity has opened with the States of Guernsey.

Project Coordinator (Asian Hornet Strategy)

Service Area: Agriculture, Countryside & Land Management Services

Grade: EGI- £32,469 – £35,090 per annum

Full Time (3-Year Contract)

The States of Guernsey is looking for a Project Coordinator (Asian Hornet Strategy) to join their team in Agriculture, Countryside and land Management Services. The Project Coordinator (Asian Hornet Strategy) will be jointly responsible for the implementation of the Asian Hornet Strategy (2019-2021). The aim of the strategy is to prevent the establishment of Asian hornets in Guernsey in order to minimize their risk to the public and to biodiversity. The post holder will also be jointly responsible for the implementation of an island wide programme of trapping queen Asian hornets in the spring and will be responsible for reviewing the strategy on an annual basis.

The post holder will work in close conjunction with the Field & Research Officer (Asian Hornet Strategy), as well as the Agriculture, Countryside & Land Management Services team (The Office of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure) of which they will be a part. The post holder will report to the Environment Services Officer and will be required to provide cover for the Field & Research Officer in the event of absence.

Job Description

Contact: Lisa Duggan, Environmental Services Officer, on email:

We strongly advise that applicants speak to the contact named above before applying for this post.

Closing Date: 03 January 2019.

Candidates should upload supporting information to demonstrate how they meet the key criteria for the role. This should be in addition to any CV or cover letter supplied and should have clear examples of how each is met. The key criteria can be found within the job description which is available by clicking the job description link above. The information provided by candidates will be used by the shortlisting panel when selecting candidates for interview.

Note – Internal applicants are required to inform their Line Manager before applying for any States of Guernsey positions. Internal references may be taken up prior to interview.

Appointment to this role will be subject to the following pre-employment checks which will be completed following an offer of employment:
• Satisfactory references which must include one from the candidate’s current line manager
• Satisfactory, Basic Police Check, which can be obtained, at the candidates own expense, from the Guernsey Vetting Bureau, New Jetty, White Rock, St Peter Port, after an offer of appointment has been made. Convictions likely to be considered relevant to this post include crimes involving, but not limited to, theft violence, dishonesty, fraud, vulnerable individuals and children
• Confirmation of required qualifications / registrations
• Possession of a valid Right to Work document

Should the successful applicant not meet the requirements sufficiently he/she may be appointed at a lower grade than stated. The successful applicant would then have the opportunity to progress to the grade advertised once the necessary skills and knowledge have been developed and the postholder has demonstrated the ability to undertake the duties at the higher level.

To apply for this role please on the below link to go to and click on the search/apply button.


Posted in Asian hornets, Career opportunity, Guernsey, News

Well Earned Retirement for Jane!

Jane Gilmour took semi-retirement at the end of June this year from the day to day management of the Guernsey Biological Record Centre.

Jane Gilmour

Botanist and Ecologist with over 30 years experience in the field in Guernsey, including taking part and organising in various surveys, such as the survey of our quarries and of plant galls. I currently co-ordinate a ‘tunnels and fortifications’ bat study. An exciting discovery is that the Greater Horseshoe Bat is here for at least part of the year. We had considered it extinct so this is great news.

I am a past Chairman of both the Reserves and Scientific Committees of La Société Guernesiaise and the current BSBI vice-county recorder for Guernsey and Herm. I can be found surveying and recording a variety of plants and animals, as well as taking part in practical management activities such as raking grasslands and removing invasive plants.

I also garden with wildlife in mind, especially looking at ways of ensuring a wide range of native animals and plants can be accommodated in such confined spaces. Bumble bees are a particular focus, as their numbers can be dramatically influenced by sympathetic planting and management and they are suffering badly due to loss of habitat, not helped by the recent extremes of weather.

A Personal Thank-You

Dear Jane,

I would like to personally congratulate you on your retirement. I have enjoyed volunteering with you over the last couple of years and consider you both a fount of incredible knowledge and expertise, local and global, a friend and an enjoyable presence in the office, as well.

While you will be missed by all of us, you certainly deserve your retirement. Your hard work and diligence have greatly benefited us, the Société, innumerable committees you’ve chaired or been a member of, and the local community. Your contributions, dedication and passion for ecology, education, conservation and willingness to help everyone will be sorely missed here at the Record Centre. Although I do hope to tempt you pop in and continue to inspire and educate!

It has always been my pleasure to work with you. So, while I am saddened to see you go, I am confident that you will find the same success and happiness in retirement that you experienced during your time here.

I wish you the best in your future endeavours. Retirement will surely offer you many new opportunities, which I know you will embrace wholeheartedly, just as you did during your tenure at the Record Centre.


Posted in News Tagged with: ,

Purple Sulphur Bacteria at the Richmond end of Vazon – Photo by David Chamberlain

Purple Sulphur Bacteria by David Chamberlain

Posted in News, Uncategorized