Welcome to the winter edition of our newsletter. We have some project updates to share, and a few staff changes to announce, along with two ‘joy of recording’ articles to inspire us to get back to recording.
It’s been a busy few months for those involved in environmental and planning policy as the Environment Bill makes its way through parliament. Chloë provides an overview of our response to the Planning for the Future white paper and explains the key role Local Environmental Records Centres will play going forwards. Our “Biodiversity Evidence – Better Outcomes from Planning” project reached an exultant conclusion in the autumn with a brilliant, well attended workshop. Eleni provides a summary of the project’s accomplishments.
The GiGL “Data Exchange” has been a staple offering within our partner SLAs for many years, but we were aware some aspects of the service could do with a bit of explanation. Emma has written one of her “Knowles Knows” pieces to demystify the data exchange. The work of our recorders is vital in ensuring the efficacy of the datasets we share with our partners. Jane Ruhland shares her personal project to photograph 365 days of wildlife, and Allison Parkes tells us about the fantastic recording taking place in the Barbican Wildlife Garden.
This winter we completed work to digitise the archives held by Orpington Field Club. The project has resulted in an amazing 62,000 new records being added to the GiGL species database. It was back in July 2014 that we first introduced our readers to the Riverfly Monitoring Initiative. Six years on Masters student Leanne Tough and ZSL Junior Conservation Biologist Phoebe Shaw Stewart give us an update on the project’s success.
Over the last six months we’ve welcomed two new members of staff to the GiGL team. Following Laura’s departure in the summer we welcomed Amy Palmer-Newton to our team, along with an additional Database Officer, Tanvi Desai. Both Amy and Tanvi have undergone our staff interviews to introduce themselves. Our Community Manager Maria Longley left us at the end of the year. She’d been an immeasurably positive force at GiGL for eleven years. Whilst we were all very sad to see her go, we wish her luck in her new adventure in the Czech Republic.
The changes have given us the opportunity to reassess the staffing requirements for different areas of our business. Lyndsey has stepped up into the Community Manager role, and we’ll be recruiting a new data assistant soon – watch this space! We are looking to grow and develop areas of the business and partnerships in the year ahead to ensure that our long-term commitments to data collection, management and accessibility are effectively sustained, and our aspirations to fund a London-wide survey and monitoring programme come to fruition. In particular, we are developing and promoting our client service offering – information services for consultants and developers – and we will be actively seeking more grant-funding for specific projects. To support this, Eleni remains with us to provide support to London’s LPAs in the use of biodiversity data in the development management process, and, as Senior Partnership Officer, I’ll be assisting partnership development and managing our standalone customer and grant funded projects.
We’ve also had some changes to our Board of Directors. We’re excited to have been joined by Jo Heisse – she introduces herself and explains what experience she brings. We also recently recruited a new GiGL Treasurer, Amandeep Jethwa, who we look forward to introducing properly in due course.