Andy FordHead of Conservation, Cairngorms National Park
Andy Ford is the Head of Conservation at the Cairngorms National Park Authority. He has been involved in conservation for over 25 years and has a particular interest in Protected Areas and Sustainable Land Management. Andy started work as a countryside ranger and then reserve manager both in the UK and West Africa. Andy’s work has taken him to urban fringe country parks and remote temperate rainforests: saving species, restoring habitats, developing eco-tourism and working with all sorts of visitors and communities along the way.
As Head of Conservation in the UK’s largest National Park, and arguably most important for wildlife, Andy works with many different and varied land owners juggling private and public interest and some of the UK’s most rare, endangered and iconic species. His remit includes overseeing the Cairngorms Nature partnership and delivery of the Cairngorms Nature Action Plan, the blueprint for conservation in the Park for the next five years, which contains the action to ”plan proactively for the potential and management implications of beaver populations in the National Park”
Chris JonesOrganic farmer & environmental educator
After a long and varied career Chris was the sixth generation of his family to turn to farming and the second take over Woodland Valley Farm in 1995.
Since then, with the help of his family, they have turned Woodland Valley Farm into an organic livestock farm with award winning group accommodation allowing them to share the farm with the wider community as an outdoor classroom to educate people of all ages on the farms founding themes. Conservation and sustainability.
In partnership with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, June 2017 saw the release of two adult beavers to a pond in Woodland Valley Farm where they were left to re-engineer the area with the results closely monitored by the University of Exeter.
Ever since Chris has been in collaboration with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust to highlight how beavers can be a part of productively farmed landscape in the UK as they are throughout Europe.
Duncan HalleyResearcher, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
A biography is on its way!
Gerhard SchwabGerman beaver specialist
After completing his Masters in Science in Ft. Collins, Colorado in 1988 Gerhard returned to Germany and began work on the first of many beaver projects, a 4 year review of Bavarian beavers population, distribution, conflicts and solutions resulting in the design of a beaver management system.
5 years later in 1997, after finishing a project on Capercallie in the Bavarian Alps, Gerhard and his team were given funding to implement their beaver management system across 3 Southern Bavaria counties, then 5 and before they knew it across the whole of Bavaria! In response to such demand they designed a training course and wrote a handbook to train and support volunteers across the region to become ‘local beaver consultants’ who understood the Eurasian Beaver’s history, problems, solutions and practical implementations and could work with their local community to reduce conflicts.
Since then Gerhard has been involved in the organisation and export of almost 1,000 Bavarian beavers in the past two decades for reintroduction programmes in Croatia, Romania, Hungary, Belgium, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Spain, England and of course Scotland. His Beaver management system has been used across Europe to train over 700 local beaver consultants, he has co-authored two further books about beavers (one of which is the go to resource in the UK), has worked on river restoration projects and gives tours across Bavaria to people wanting to lean more about beavers.
Gerhard is a pioneer of beaver reintroduction and a true specialist on all things beaver. His talk will reflect on his experiences and recommendations on mitigating beaver impacts.
Mark ElliottBeaver Project Lead, Devon Wildlife Trust
Mark is a wetland ecologist, with a particular interest in the many benefits of wetlands. He started work with the Environment Agency in 1995, and eventually became a Technical Specialist. He was then Senior Natural Resources Officer for a County Council, working on climate change and water policy, before becoming manager of the Working Wetlands Project in 2010.
That coincided with the start of the Enclosed Beaver Project, where Mark led the construction of the fence and the release of two beavers into a three hectare plot of scrubbed up ‘Culm grassland.’ In 2015 when DWT was granted the license to release the first beavers into the wild in England, Mark became the full-time Beaver Lead working on both projects.
As the five year River Otter Beaver Trial now approaches its end, Mark will present some of the findings of the Trial, including the work being carried out by the University of Exeter looking at the hydrology of wetlands and the ecological impacts beavers have on it.
Sarah RobinsonDirector of Conservation, Scottish Wildlife Trust
A biography is on its way!
Sir John Lister-KayeNaturalist, Author, Conservationist
Winner of Nature of Scotland’s lifetime achievement award in 2018, awarded an OBE for services to nature conservation in 2003 and founder of the internationally renowned Aigas Field Centre. Sir John-Lister Kaye is one of Scotland’s most well known conservationists and beaver advocates.
In 2006, Aigas was one of the first places in Scotland to set up a beaver demonstration project with the aim of highlighting the positive impacts beavers have on wetland and a wide range of wildlife. The project has been a resounding success and beavers have thrived there ever since.
Sir John will draw on over a decade of first hand experience of the impacts beavers have had on Aigas’s loch and it’s biodiveristy to highlight why Scotland needs beavers.
The Beaver: Scotland’s Ally
Following the success of our first conference in 2015, ‘The Necessary Beaver’, join us on 6 July to celebrate and discuss the reintroduction of the Eurasian beaver in our 2019 conference, ‘The Beaver: Scotland’s Ally’.
The European beaver is the first mammal to be reintroduced to the UK and is beginning to flourish in some parts of Scotland after a 400 year gap but is still threatened by lack of understanding of their ecosystem, methods of mitigation and unknown levels of persecution and killing.
These lovable and remarkable mammals have a huge amount to offer us and can play a key role in the restoration of natural waterways, bringing a boom in biodiversity and amelioration of some of our worst environmental problems, including flooding, drought and pollution, as well as assisting a growth in ecotourism.
Our list of speakers is still being finalised at the moment, but please see a list of speakers already confirmed across the page and below the subjects that our speakers will be covering:
- Two co-existing species: beaver and Atlantic salmon.
- The return of beavers and the benefits that they bring
- The way forward – reflections and thoughts on the future of beavers in Scotland.
- Experiences and recommendations on the mitigation of beavers
- Results of the 5 year River Otter Beaver Trial, including some of the work by University of Exeter looking at hydrology of wetlands and the ecological impacts beavers have on it.
- Highlighting how beavers can provide benefits to everyone in a productively farmed landscape
- Getting ready for beavers – what can be done to prepare for arrival by natural means into the Cairngorms National Park
With our final speakers yet to be confirmed, ensure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to find out more as they are announced.
Tea & Coffee and Lunch will be provided.
We are hoping to organise a beaver tour at Bamff Ecotourism on the Sunday after the conference, 7 July 2019, more details we be made available in due course.
This will be a packed day of fascinating presentations that will bring together a dynamic mix of interested parties for enlightened debate and networking on this most exciting of topics.
Tickets can be purchased until midnight on the 30th June.
We look forward to seeing you there!
- 9:00 - 10:00
- Tea & Coffee
- 10:00 - 1:00
- Morning Session
- 1:00 - 2:00
- 2:00 - 5:00
- Afternoon Session