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The Bat Project Team

Ruth Testa

Ruth Testa

Project Manager
Nov 2016-Jan 2020

BACKGROUND
I gained an MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation in 2007, and after a period discovering the highlights of South East Asia and Australia, started my career within the Wildlife Trusts. I spent 9 years working for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust in reserve management and community engagement roles, before joining the bat project team as Project Manager in 2016.

Since relocating to Devon, I am enjoying getting to know the local wildlife and landscapes of the county. Working on the project continued my involvement with bats, as I have been an active member of Nottinghamshire Bat Group for the last few years most recently working on their ‘Echolocation Location’ project mapping the distribution of bats within the county.

PROJECT MANAGER ROLE
As project manager my main activities were coordinating the partnership steering group, managing the team, keeping the project on track to meet its annual targets, ensuring bat data is rigorously analysed and verified. I now work as Working Wetlands Manager at Devon Wildlife Trust.

Helen Parr

Helen Parr

Community Engagement Officer
July 2014 – Jan 2021

My role on the team was Community Engagement Officer.

BACKGROUND
I’ve been involved in conservation for over 25 years. I studied for a B.A .in Geography followed by a M.Sc. in Land Resource Management. After this I worked for many years in woodland management and environmental education. Since moving to Devon in 1999, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the amazing natural diversity found in the county. Working on the Bat Project was a great way to get to know even more of the county whilst doing the work I love.

BAT PROJECT
I worked with schools and communities to raise the profile of greater horseshoe bats and show people how they can get involved. In addition I coordinated the website and social media for the project. Ensuring that the annual Devon Bat Survey ran smoothly was another important aspect of my work.

Anna David

Anna David

Team Leader
Feb 2020-Jan 2021
Advisory Officer
Nov 2015-Dec 2020

I was Team Leader for the project during the final year, and an Advisory Officer prior to that.

BACKGROUND
I gained an M.Sc. in Conservation and Land Management from Bangor University in 2010. Since then I have been working in the field of landscape-scale ecology for Wildlife Trusts across the country on various projects. These range from conservation land management advice and habitat restoration to extensive water vole monitoring.
I grew up in North Cornwall but have lived ‘over the border’ in South Devon since 2015 after having completed a long distance cycle ride from Romania to Spain the previous summer.

PROJECT ROLES
As Team Leader since February 2020 I supported the team during the final months of the project.
As an advisory officer I worked with landowners to improve habitats for bats across the landscape in the following project areas; Avon Valley/Harbertonford, Dartmouth, Berry Head, Buckfastleigh and Gunnislake.

Mike Symes

Mike Symes

Advisory Officer
Nov 2015-Dec 2021

I worked as an Advisory Officer on the bat project.

BACKGROUND
I have worked for the Devon Wildlife Trust in various roles over the years. During this time I have carried out botanical surveys for the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre, undertaken protected species work for the Trust’s ecological consultancy and given land management advice to farmers in the Culm grasslands of north-west Devon
I am an experienced bat worker, having completed numerous surveys and roost visits. In 2013 I obtained my Natural England licence.
I’ve lived in Devon all of my life, and have yet to find a reason to move away from such a wildlife-rich county!

ADVISORY OFFICER ROLE
As one of the two Advisory Officers at the Bat Project, I worked with landowners to improve habitats for bats across the landscape. I covered the following project areas; Braunton, Southleigh, Branscombe, Chudleigh and Bovey Tracey.

Lizzy Mooney

Lizzy Mooney

Community Engagement Contractor
Jun 2016-Jan 2021

I worked alongside Helen Parr to support the community engagement work of the project.
My main roles wee coordinating volunteer activity, and organising events (in particular the annual September Bat festival).

Domhnall Finch

Domhnal Finch

University of Sussex

I worked alongside the team as part of my PhD research into greater horseshoe bats and the habitats they use. With the help of project volunteers, I ran detailed research surveys each summer around Devon. The results gave us valuable information about how important countryside features such as Devon’s hedgerows, tree-lines and rivers are for greater horseshoe bats.

PhD AIMS
The aim of my PhD was to examine how landscape scale management impacts greater horseshoe bats, particularly the effects of urbanisation and agricultural practices on their prey items and connectivity within the landscape. This helped us to learn about how best to conserve this rare bat species in the future.

Elinor Parry

Elinor Parry

Devon Bat Survey Assistant
Apr 2019-Jan 2021


BACKGROUND
I felt so lucky to be part of the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project. Before joining the team I worked as an ecologist in Mid Wales carrying out bat surveys, including surveys of lesser and greater horseshoe bats. There aren’t many greater horseshoe bats where I’m from, so it’s fantastic to be in an area where you get the chance to see so many of them up close.

BAT PROJECT
I really enjoyed getting to know Devon and the wide range of bat species here, and using my experience of bat sound analysis to help the project.