Dr Chris Newman, the leading scientist on the Earthwatch Mammals of Wytham Woods project, is celebrating the success of the recent badger census, which took place in Wytham Woods, Oxfordshire, this month. Volunteers from around the county turned up in their droves to show their support.
Chris said, 'With over 50 setts to watch we needed at least 150 volunteers for each evening, and for the first time ever we achieved this target which is fantastic news. Even though the weather was unseasonably cool, and very wet on the Tuesday night, we were thrilled by everyone's enthusiasm to learn more about badgers and participate in our research.
'‘Despite poor weather, and no sightings at 10 of the active setts, 97 adults and 19 cubs were observed. Typically, our work with Earthwatch volunteer teams suggests only 2/3rds of badgers present in a sett are generally seen, so these numbers are very encouraging.'
Working as part of an integrated research and conservation project Fiona will rise early to walk through different habitats to count and identify butterflies. She will learn to recognise different species from the giant birdwing to effervescent whites. Fiona's efforts will help Earthwatch to identify threatened butterfly species that are urgently in need of conservation.
Annette says, 'I am very excited about this project, Tam Dao National Park will be a fascinating place to work and I hope to learn a lot about the local environment while playing an important role in the conservation effort.'
Annette is just one of 500 HSBC Environmental Fellows who will work on Earthwatch conservation projects in 2004, ranging from Spanish dolphins to zebras in Kenya. By 2006, 2,000 HSBC employees will have contributed the equivalent of a century of environmental research and 200 talented scientists will have received valuable training. The HSBC fellows will also be eligible for a grant of up to £400 to initiate a local environmental project on their return home.
The five-year Investing in Nature partnership also involves Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), and WWF, and is the largest-ever single donation to the environmental charities. In addition to Earthwatch's contribution, Investing in Nature will clean up three of the world's major rivers, benefiting 50 million people who depend upon them, and help save 20,000 rare plant species from extinction.
Irene Dorner, HSBC General Manager, Northern Division says, 'Investing in Nature is well on the way to meeting its five year goals, and the partnership has really raised the level of environmental awareness amongst all levels of staff. With Earthwatch, HSBC employees not only contribute to vital conservation work around the world, but share their new-found knowledge with colleagues, family and friends on their return through the local environmental projects they create.'
Frank Vorhies, CEO of Earthwatch, says, 'Investing in Nature is a great example of how businesses and NGOs can work successfully together. We are able to link the network of HSBC employees worldwide with the environmental knowledge available from Earthwatch scientists to raise awareness and understanding of environmental issues on a global and local level.'
'Our work with HSBC, allows us to fulfil our mission by engaging their employees in scientific research projects and at the same time we are all able to further support the efforts of HSBC in promoting a sustainable environment.'
To date, 620 HSBC employees from over 40 countries have contributed 25 years of vital environmental research in projects around the world through the Earthwatch programme.
Zoe Gamble, PR Intern, Earthwatch: Tel: +44 (0)1865 318806 or email: email@example.com
Ann-Marie Evans, Media Relations Manager, HSBC Holdings plc, Tel: +44 (0) 207 991 0846 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: ©Chris Newman/EWE