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the GiGLer

The newsletter of Greenspace Information of Greater London CIC

Planning Ahead

Minhyuk Seo, GiGL Partnership Officer and Commissioning Editor of the GiGLer

It’s been an exciting time at GiGL HQ these last couple of months; a period of change, rebuilding and planning. There were farewells and welcome additions to the GiGL Family, as well as time spent reviewing GiGL’s systems and services to better communicate how we serve Londoners and the biodiversity around them. With a new team to deliver some exciting new projects going forward, it was the perfect time to take stock of London’s natural environment and of GiGL’s services that can help protect it.    

Towards the end of last year, we welcomed three new members to our board of directors; the expert panel ensuring GiGL’s business continues to meet the social, environmental and financial objectives set out in our commitments as a CIC. Two of the three new directors were subject of our director’s interview in the previous edition so after much anticipation, we present to you our third and final addition to the Board, Jon Riley, who works for one our most important clients, the Ecology Consultancy. Jon worked with GiGL back in the early 2000s (when we were still London Wildlife Trust’s Biological Recording Project) and his previous contribution to the GiGLer prior to this interview was in our first ever edition thirteen years ago; we look forward to his next contribution in the year 2032.

There has been no shortage of change in the staff team too. We said thank you and good luck to our departed Community Officer, Katharine Davies, who has followed her passion for trees and aims to single-handedly assess all trees by 2020*. Replacing her as our new Community Officer is Benjamin Town, who will be the subject of our staff interview in the next edition. Eerily like his predecessor, Ben joins us fresh from a Masters in Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation, and will be bringing his invaluable experience in handling environmental data and social media to the GiGL Community Team.

* joins an exciting global project aiming to assess all tree species by the year 2020.

At the start of this year, GiGL Partnership Officer and Commissioning Editor of the GiGLer, Julie Cox, welcomed a beautiful baby girl to the world and will be on maternity leave till the end of the year. Overseeing Julie’s responsibilities in her absence is our new Partnership Officer, Minhyuk Seo (currently addressing you and feeling embarrassed to talk about himself in the third person). Min will be taking over Julie’s responsibilities as Commissioning Editor of the GiGLer and assist in delivering work for GiGL partners with Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Our Partnership Manager Chloë provides an informative summary of how Min and the rest of the Partnership Team will be supporting our SLA partners.

During this period of rebuilding, it’s important to look back on our strategic aims and identify how we can make positive changes to pursue them. One of our aims is to:

strengthen GiGL’s reputation as the authoritative source of evidence-based services pertaining to London’s natural environment”

and helping us fulfil this aim is our new Database Officer, Laura Kuurne, who introduces herself in this issue’s staff interview. Laura’s work will be focussed on reviewing, developing and maintaining GiGL’s datasets, ensuring they are robust and up to date for our partners and stakeholders. One dataset Laura has been working on tirelessly (she really has) these last few months is our Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) data, of which GiGL is the official custodian. She outlines the process by which we update our SINCs database and how SINCs can protect London’s wildlife.

Planning ahead involves knowing what’s already there and devising a strategy based on this knowledge, yet the former, although so crucial, is so often overlooked. Therefore keeping our database up to date is one way to ensure sites and species that need protecting are considered during the decision-making process. Our species database is constantly updated with records sent to us by volunteers; this issue’s Joy of Recording article features Amelia Stodel who tells us not only the joy of recording, but the importance of sending these records to GiGL.

This message is equally put across in Wonderland by Westwood and Moss; the ecologist pair stresses the importance of recording nature not just with the senses, but with a pencil and notepad. The book is really an appreciation of nature that exists around us; the reason why we seek to protect it. Our borough factsheets do exactly that and we hope Londoners can appreciate the nature that surrounds them already.

This edition of the GiGLer also marks the start of our Knowles Knows article series; our Partnership Officer Emma Knowles will attempt to answer some of the more frequently asked questions and define some of the more commonly misunderstood terms.

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