‘The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand and the determination that whether we win or lose we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand’.Vince Lombardi 1913 – 1970
The thoughts, as expressed by Lombardi, exactly identify the characteristics that NERF looks for in the individuals who are awarded the NERF Certificate of Appreciation. All of the recipients have demonstrated their total commitment to protecting birds of prey in the North of England.
Dr. Cathleen Thomas, PhD
Project Manager, RSPB Hen Harrier Life Plus Project
There can be no doubt that leading any project related to Hen Harriers is a very challenging task. Cathleen took on the task with tremendous zeal and boundless energy. As a result of decades of persecution, largely on land managed for grouse shooting, Hen Harriers remain at risk of extinction as a breeding species in England.
The Hen Harrier Life Plus Project deployed satellite technology to track the birds movements across their range. Achieving this sounds easy but in reality it was far from the case. If dealing with Government, landowners and equipment manufactures wasn’t difficult enough the Project also needed to demonstrate a huge amount of public engagement. Though challenging these administrative elements could be managed and controlled to some degree.
However, managing the Project during the breeding season raised the complexity and degree of difficulty to a whole new level. Once the satellite tags had been distributed across the UK the final stage of the preparation was concluded ready for the fieldwork to begin. There is a very small timeframe during which the satellite tags can be fitted and all activities during this period are entirely dependent on the behaviour of the breeding birds, their geographical location and the prevailing weather conditions. Frequently all of these elements came together in combinations that resulted in the necessity to significantly change the plans, often on a daily basis. Cathleen regularly worked 12 to 15 hours every day throughout the 10 week breeding season during May, June and July ensuring that all of the tags were deployed and fitted.
NERF was a partner in the Hen Harrier Life Plus Project and we worked with Cathleen on a daily basis. There is no doubt that her commitment to securing a better future for Hen Harriers in the North of England and the rest of the UK was exemplary.
23 November 2019
Former Head of RSPB Investigations
Prior to taking up his post as the Head of the RSPB Investigations Team Bob had worked for many years in the conservation and animal welfare sector including lengthy periods with The National Trust for Scotland and for the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.
The RSPB Investigations Team consists of an elite group of ornithologists who are also expert bird crime detectives, supported by a departmental team of crime pattern analysts. The Investigations Officers operate in remote locations, in difficult terrain where the work is arduous, it can be dangerous, requiring total commitment and a thorough knowledge of the relevant legislation. The expert witness statements prepared for the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service are exceptional and have frequently been the backbone of the evidence presented before the courts. During Bob’s tenure leading the Team their reputation grew from strength to strength.
NERF has had a longstanding working relationship with the RSPB Investigations Team and many of our members have worked with them on individual raptor persecution cases. NERF has also worked alongside Bob on the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group [RPPDG] where his tenacity was a tremendous asset to the conservationists within the Group as we fought hard on behalf of birds of prey, often against overwhelming odds.
In addition to working diligently preventing and detecting raptor based crime Bob secured financial support from the RSPB enabling NERF to hold our annual Conferences.
After leaving the RSPB Bob has taken on an equally challenging role as the Director of the Edinburgh based animal charity OneKind.
4 October 2018
Chairman of Northern England Raptor Forum 2006 – 2018
In 2006 NERF was formed to bring the 10 independent Raptor Study Groups operating in the North of England into one umbrella organisation to represent birds of prey with a single unified voice. At that time Paul was the Chairman of the Yorkshire Dales Raptor Study Group and he was instrumental in bringing the NERF concept to fruition. Paul was unanimously elected Chairman at the inaugural meeting in 2006 and remained in post until he left Yorkshire for a new life in Wales in 2018.
Whilst Paul has left for pastures new he continues with his commitment to birds of prey and has adopted a ‘raptor patch’ around his new home. He also volunteers at a nearby raptor watch point which is open to the public.
18 November 2017
Jean Thorpe, MBE
Ryedale Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, North Yorkshire
Jean has dedicated her life to rescuing and rehabilitating sick and injured animals at her home in North Yorkshire prior to returning them to the wild. The Ryedale Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is the first port of call for Raptor Workers across North Yorkshire when they need help with injured or abandoned birds of prey. On two occasions when Peregrine chicks, which were stolen from the wild, and later seized by the Police, NERF members took them to Jean and she cared for them until they were ready to be fostered into suitable wild nests.
Unfortunately a great many of the injured birds that she cares for require her help because they are victims of persecution. Many have serious, life threatening injuries requiring specialist veterinary care before the rehabilitation process can begin. Without the passionate commitment of Jean there is no doubt that approximately 100 birds of prey per year, which she cares for, would perish.
1 March 2017
Mark Naquib: BVMS Cert AVP (ZM) MRCVS
Battle Flatts Veterinary Clinic, Stamford Bridge.
Many of the sick and injured raptors cared for by Jean Thorpe at the Ryedale Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre require specialist veterinary care and Mark is always on hand to provide it, free of charge. A large number of the birds of prey taken to the Battle Flatts Veterinary Clinic for treatment have been shot and suffering horrific life threatening injuries. Thanks to Mark’s incredible surgical skills and his ability to repair and rebuild broken bones the majority of his patients go on to make a full recovery and are released back to the wild by Jean.
NERF is deeply indebted to Mark for his outstanding contribution enhancing the wellbeing of raptors in the North of England.
1 March 2017
PC 1237 Gareth Jones
Former Wildlife Crime Officer North Yorkshire Police
Gareth was presented with the NERF Certificate of Appreciation when he retired from the North Yorkshire Police Service. Prior to retiring Gareth was the Force Wildlife Crime Coordinator and Ripon Rural Beat Manager. North Yorkshire has been a raptor persecution hotspot for many years, topping the RSPB’s Birdcrime Report annually. This unfortunate reputation ensured that he was kept extremely busy.
In addition to investigating raptor persecution crimes Gareth worked tirelessly raising awareness of the problem amongst the general public. He had an excellent working relationship with NERF members in the Yorkshire Dales and on the North York Moors and was always on hand to offer advice and guidance.
Since retiring Gareth has maintained his passion and commitment to protecting local wildlife and enhancing the habitat on the Nosterfield Nature Reserve where he is a core member of the volunteer team.
1 December 2016