Michael Southall, Chairman
I became the new Chairman in March 2020. I see the role as coordinating branch activities and helping where possible. I have recently retired from active farming allowing me more time for my butterfly and moth interests. I have run moth-trapping events to engage the public, recently trying the virtual route via zoom. I enjoy practical conservation tasks, working to improve habitats on our reserves and on my own farm.
Mel Mason, Vice Chair
I help to monitor fifteen local transect sites in the Malvern area. I work to conserve the less common species and their local habitats, and monitor casual sightings, providing feedback for volunteers via Facebook Malvern Butterfly Group. I produce an annual report for the WMBC website and contribute towards an annual publication called Birds and Butterflies Around The Malverns. I organise work parties on the Malvern Hills, targeting the Grayling and I lead the Malvern Hills Reintroduction of Pearl-bordered Fritillary Project. Another key component of my role is to liaise with the Malvern Hills Trust, and I serve on their Wildlife Panel.
Peter Seal, Treasurer
I joined the Branch Committee in 2011, having become more involved with Branch activities after retirement, at first while living in the Malverns. We moved to Worcester, and having spent the bulk of my adult life in Birmingham, I recognise the importance of butterflies in an urban setting. However I also help with work parties at various reserves and sites, along with sharing transects at Monkwood and Hollybed Farm. After serving as Chairperson for six years, I have this year been appointed as Branch Treasurer.
Martin Harrison, Secretary
My main job is to co-ordinate the paperwork for meetings (Committee and AGM) and provide support to the Branch Chairman in the planning and running of meetings. In particular this involves attending meetings, taking minutes and distributing these to Committee members. Having moved back home from Texas (where I was bitten by the butterfly bug), I offered my administrative experience to the branch. I am, to be honest, a bit of a dilettante, compared to some of my colleagues: I spend much of my free time in pursuit of photos. Anywhere between the Lake District in Cumbria and Lake Kerkini in northern Greece.
John Tilt, Recording, Transects, Website
I have expanded my Transect Coordinator role to include work on updating the Branch’s approach to casual recording, and have been instrumental in identifying County Recorders. I also manage Grafton Wood Nature reserve, which has many delights but whose main attraction is the Brown Hairstreak. The Reserve provides the security of being the core setting for the only BH population to be found in the region. In 2005 I became a member of the BC National Reserves Committee and from 2009 took on chairing the West Midlands Branch for three years. Recently I have been preparing material for the important task of updating the Branch website.
Mike Williams, Publicity and Marketing
I am a founder member of West Midlands Butterfly Conservation and have held various posts, including Branch Organiser, Newsletter Editor, Conservation Officer and Brown Hairstreak Champion. I am currently Publicity & Marketing Officer and responsible for issuing press releases on behalf of the branch and managing our social media sites, organising events and raising funding for projects that promote greater awareness of butterflies and moths. I am keen on recruiting volunteers to undertake recording, monitoring work and conservation activities at key sites, as I have strong links with the Wyre Forest and our own Reserves.
Rhona Goddard, Regional Conservation Manager
I've been working as West Midlands Regional Officer for Butterfly Conservation since September 2014. In April 2016, I was lucky enough to be appointed as the part-time project officer for the "Making a Stand for the Wood White". This project aims to maintain, enhance or create suitable Wood White habitat, by working with charities, organisations and private landowners in South Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Through targeted conservation works, we hope to help reverse the species' decline by working in landscapes that support, or have recently supported this rare and threatened butterfly species.
Lucy Morton, Reserves Officer
I joined Butterfly Conservation’s reserve team in 2013 and was based at Head Office in Dorset. I moved to Herefordshire in 2016 and became the Reserves Officer for the South West, West Midlands and Lancashire, to help and support the Branch volunteers to manage BC’s reserves. My line manager is Rhona Goddard and I work with Jenny Plackett, Regional Conservation Manager for the South West and Dave Wainwright, Conservation Manager for the North.
Ian Hart, Conservation (Herefordshire)
At present I am a Branch Committee member, Conservation Officer for Herefordshire and Warden of Ewyas Harold Meadows BC Reserve. This is a key location for the rapidly disappearing Pearl-bordered Fritillary, which also holds an important plant community and the Grizzled Skipper. Whilst leading and organising regular work parties is an essential component of my role, I also work closely with the owner of the adjoining Common with the objective of maintaining and extending good PBF habitat.
Trevor Bucknall, Conservation (Worcestershire)
I am conservation officer for Worcestershire. I liaise with landowners and other organizations to offer advice on habitats and management advice for Lepidoptera. For many years I have been closely involved with practical support at our Reserves.
However I also have arranged work parties at private sites: Throckmorton, Walsgrove Hill, Ramscombe Coppice etc.
Robin Hemming, Moths (Herefordshire)
When the then chairman asked me to be Hereford county moth officer I asked him what I had to do. He replied "nothing". Which kind of suited me however I see my role on a broad basis. I promote an interest in moths in the county amongst both the general public and moth trappers. I run public events mostly through the Wildlife Trust with particular attention to involving youngsters. I liaise with local wildlife groups and landowners where necessary and attend branch committee meetings. I coordinate activities with the local Mothing fraternity and currently coordinate Hereford participants in the Garden Moth scheme. I am always happy to confirm moth ids or help where people are unsure. I encourage people to get their records to the County Moth Recorder.
Dave Jackson, Moths (Birmingham, Black Country)
In South Staffordshire I am pleased to represent the County at Committee Meetings, and happy to propose conservation initiatives provided by members. I lead butterfly walks and moth nights when requested by partner organisations. I am always happy to assist with e-mailed Butterfly and Moth identification.
Simon Primrose, Brown Hairstreak Champion
My main role as species champion is to further our knowledge of the distribution of the Brown Hairstreak and to raise awareness amongst the community (especially with farmers and landowners) of the existence, and conservation requirements, of the butterfly. I lead weekly and ad hoc winter egg searches, and three formal weekend searches, around Grafton Wood, which contribute to the long-running monitoring scheme. This includes searches in locations where we’ve been specifically invited by the farmer/landowner. I also liaise with Natural England to discuss current and potential areas, regarding habitat protection. I then feed through egg numbers, and OS grid reference locations, to the county recorder, also send data for specific sites/hedgerows, to BC Head Office, to form part of the national HO monitoring methodology for the Brown Hairstreak.
Stephen Lewis, Prees Heath Reserve Manager
I am Volunteer Warden at Prees Heath Common Reserve, the only remaining site for the Silver-studded Blue in the region, organising and leading volunteer work parties and guided walks. BC purchased the reserve in 2006, and I was appointed Prees Heath Officer, a role I continued until I retired in 2015. Work has focussed on restoring large areas of the site to heathland following many years of arable cultivation, an ambitious and challenging process that is already reaping rewards for the Silver-studded Blue. I am available to give illustrated talks about Prees Heath to interested community groups.
I have been a member of the Committee for several years and I help out at work parties in Grafton Wood and the Scarlet Tiger Project in Stourbridge.
jennyjoy [email protected]
Worked in the conservation team at Butterfly Conservation as a member of staff from 2003 to 2019 before leaving that post as Regional Conservation Manager to pursue a wider range of activities. Worked closely with the Branch since 1990, initially by undertaking research and surveying projects on species such as the Large Heath and Silver-studded Blue, before taking the lead in producing the first edition of the West Midlands Regional Action Plan (now the Regional Conservation Strategy). As a staff member, developed a close working relationship with the Forestry Commission across the region, which still exists today, and helped to lead a number of projects in the Wyre Forest and South Shropshire. These include helping to run the Back to Orange Project (the first SITA Trust land-fill bid involving Butterfly Conservation) which focussed on improving habitat for fritillaries, and leading the Wyre Forest Facilitation Group (landowner group) whose membership increased from 10 in 2014 to over 70 in 2019, with a funding package being put together to employ a group advisor (currently Charlotte Vincent). More recently managed a visitor attraction on the Wrekin in Shropshire and last year created a pollinator garden there partly funded by the Branch.