We were delighted when one of our incredibly dedicated volunteers Ros Evans was recently awarded ‘Environment Volunteer of the year’ at the Harrogate and Ripon Centres for Voluntary Serice (HARCVS) volunteering Oscars.
Ros has grafted tirelessly as an AONB volunteer for many years in various roles, and whether covered in mud carrying out practical countryside conservation tasks, up at dawn to undertake wildlife surveys, or informing visitors during public events, she gives her all. During the last year she has not only contributed to an amazing range of AONB projects but has been a cornerstone of many of them:
- Ros is a tireless practical conservationist for Nidderdale AONB, her involvement during the year ranging from helping our heritage officer on two archaeological digs, to collecting and sowing wildflower seeds as part of a biodiversity project. Most significantly, she is one of two volunteer leaders of Nidderdale Conservation Volunteers (NCVs), where she plays a vital role in helping to organise and lead weekly practical countryside work involving up to 25 volunteers at a time.
- Beyond practical conservation, Ros is a key AONB wildlife surveying and monitoring volunteer, undertaking work that informs our land management best practice. This year she has spent many hours assisting a programme of breeding wading bird surveys on upland farmland (before & after habitat enhancement), wild plant surveys of hay meadows, roadside verges and Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation, along with aquatic species surveys of water courses in the area as part of our HLF funded Wild Watch project.
- In addition to her practical conservation and wildlife survey volunteering, Ros assists with AONB activities and events for the wider public. As a leader of Nidderdale Conservation Volunteers, Ros takes sole responsibility for producing the group’s weekly blog, an entertaining and good humoured review of their work, which is viewed from far and wide (http://nidderdaleaonb.blogspot.co.uk).
Overall, it is hard to believe that everything Ros has contributed to Nidderdale AONB during this year has been achieved by just one person. As Iain Mann, Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership Scheme Manager, summed up when AONB colleagues were asked to comment on her volunteering: “wherever Ros is involved, one can always count on her enthusiasm, diligence and organisation to make sure that the project works”.