Outgoing Editor of In Practice magazine, Dr Gill Kerby, wrote the Editorial for her last edition at the helm. We have published this Editorial, from the December 2020 edition, below. Gill has taken In Practice from strength to strength, raising our editorial standards through her professionalism and improved processes. We thank Gill for all she has done for the publication.
The time has come to bid you all a fond farewell. When I joined the CIEEM team as Editor of In Practice back in 2013 my enthusiasm for the new role was tempered with some trepidation. I came from a background in academic publishing, albeit applied ecology, and knew I would need to make adjustments for a different audience. My concerns were reinforced as I began to handle articles – what was this preoccupation with GCN? And what did it stand for anyway? Seven years on and I can’t imagine a world without great crested newts, although I still react against the over-use of TLAs! Along the way, I’ve learnt a huge amount about the challenges faced by you as members. I hope this has made me a better Editor, allowing me to bring out the best in articles while retaining the core message and respecting the objectives. Most importantly, I have come to understand just how crucial you all are in managing, protecting and conserving the natural world; your ecology skills underpinning the practical actions you take every day to find solutions to challenges from development and policy change.
Many of the feature articles we publish in In Practice demonstrate a level of dedication well beyond what is required of the job. You embark on research projects to find the best ways to manage habitats, protect vulnerable species, assess impacts or conduct surveys; you carry out ecological studies to learn more about species and ecosystems; you’re involved in public engagement to promote understanding, advocacy to raise standards, and debate about policy changes that frame the wider picture. Much of the incentive to publish in In Practice is about sharing this knowledge and experience with fellow members: a desire to improve the state of the environment through practical action grounded on hard-won experience in real-life situations. We publish case studies that showcase best practice; descriptions of new or novel methods; reviews that challenge the status quo or question new approaches; success stories; factual analyses and more.
There have been many highlights over my tenure as Editor and far too many good articles to pick out a favourite. Some themes I’ve viewed with apprehension only to be happily surprised at the unexpected gems that have arrived; others have needed more work even though we thought the topic would be popular. Without exception, I was always pleased with the final selection of articles – a reflection of the breadth of knowledge and ability amongst authors.
We aim to select themes that are topical and articles that will provide a resource with long-term value. Some of our most successful have highlighted new developments, such as Genetic Techniques and Technologies (March 2018), focusing on eDNA – surely the most revolutionary change to the sector – or the bigger picture, such as climate change (Sept 2014 & Sept 2020). Quite rightly, the 100th edition stands out as a milestone and many of the ‘Big Issues’ we highlighted in June 2018 are just as relevant today.
The first Editorial I wrote recognised the value members place on In Practice, whilst considering the opportunities ahead. This year, COVID-19 precipitated a change to digital-only as the printing presses ground to a halt. We were freed from page constraints and experimented with changes to format and layout. Although we’re back to printing on paper again, a new design from March 2021 will see further changes and new features. Building on the development work we’ve done over the last year, the look and feel of In Practice will be bigger and better!
Of course, I’m sorry I won’t be around for the launch of the new design but it’s a good time for the fresh ideas and different perspectives that will come with a new Editor. All that remains for me is to say a big thank you to the In Practice Editorial Board, both past and present, who generously give their time, professional skill and expertise, and have made the Editor’s job so rewarding. Many thanks also to Jason Reeves, my brilliant colleague on In Practice, who is a pleasure to work with, and to Sally Hayns and the CIEEM Governing Board who have trusted me enough to leave me to get on with things. It’s been an honour and a privilege to be Editor of In Practice for the last seven years.
In Practice Editor 2014-2020