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Kath with Purple Emperor butterfly (Kath Hernon)

Job Profile: Biodiversity Officer

Name: Kath Hernon

Location: Leckford Estate - The Waitrose & Partners Farm

Employer: The John Lewis & Waitrose Partnership 

a bright field of sunflowers in a sunny blue sky with trees in the background
Winter Bird Food Plot on Arable Field Corner (Kath Hernon)

Job Responsibilities:

The role involves taking a hands-on lead in ensuring that the regenerative approach to land management extends to all four corners of the estate, not just the farmed area, and with the support of others, devise the systems and processes to deliver and monitor progress.

One of the main focuses of the role has been to create a monitoring scheme, so we can gather baseline data and monitor the trends and fluctuations of the estates’ biodiversity. By formally recording the wildlife we have today, we can see what effect land management practices have and tailor our practical conservation work to encourage our priority species.

a selfie of a person standing in front of a river with green vegetation at either side
Kath completing Water Vole Survey on River Test (Kath Hernon)

One of our farming aims is to build mutually beneficial relationships with wildlife here. That could mean creating field margins for invertebrates that, in turn, act as pest control for our crops. If we can demonstrate the advantages of both wildlife-friendly farming and farming-friendly wildlife, we’ll truly be working in partnership with nature.

The majority of my time is spent doing wildlife surveys!

In spring and summer, it is the busy survey season, most days are spent outside carrying out wildlife monitoring, collating data or liaising with surveying volunteers. Winter months are spent; analysing data, writing reports and planning and completing practical conservation tasks with our volunteer team or contractors.

a green, yellow and black firecrest bird being held by it's legs in a persons hand
Firecrest ringed at Longstock Water Gardens (Kath Hernon)

We have several environmental land management agreements in place, such as Countryside Stewardship and Sustainable Farming Incentive, so it is also my responsibility to co-ordinate and manage those.

 

Qualifications needed:

A relevant ecology/conservation based qualification is desired for scientific understanding, however in the field experience of working in a mix of habitats is essential, in particular an arable setting.

Additional training: Chainsaw, tractor and brushcutter certificates useful, however species identification training/knowledge is a must have.

Skills needed: Great communication skills are essential for the role, experience of liaising with landowners/farmers, talking to large groups, working with volunteers and co-ordinating a monitoring scheme with large datasets.

Ability to be self-motivated and a self-starter with great attention to detail.

 

Advice to anyone looking at similar roles:

Sign up and volunteer with citizen science monitoring programmes as well as official survey schemes.

 

If you have any queries about this role or would like to ask a question of the job holder please contact Kath on kath.hernon@waitrose.co.uk

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