Award’s 2021 Winner’s Spotlight: Member of the Year

Paola Reason and David Whitehorne (joint winners)

This award was sponsored by

Paola Reason CEcol CEnv FCIEEM

Paola has been a practising ecologist for 30 years, beginning as a Research Assistant at Bristol University, and then co-founding an independent NGO working on fruit bats in the Comoros. She is now a Director at RSK Biocensus and is recognised nationally as a bat expert, having a seat on Natural England’s bat expert panel.

Paola has trained and coached many individuals towards their bat licence, through formal training, field visits, workshops, shadowing and examination. She has a prominent role in training staff in technical skills, project management, consultancy, health and safety, and environmental management. Paola contributed significantly to CIEEM’s initial competency matrix and subsequently revised job descriptions (in Arcadis first and now RSK Biocensus) to better reflect CIEEM’s Competency Framework, and to promote the Institute and profession. She has also set up Technical Excellence Groups to share knowledge, make available discipline-specific libraries of published and grey literature, provide webinars, and support discussion forums.

Paola was a member of the CIEEM group developing guidance in relation to ecological assessment where survey work has been affected by COVID-19 restrictions. She took a prominent role in developing the guidance, leading on bats, but also driving the completion of the document to a challenging timescale. Paola has contributed to all editions of the Bat Conservation Trust’s Bat Survey Guidelines and she remains on the Technical Review Board for current revisions. She also joined the steering group for the current revisions of the Bat Mitigation Guidelines and has recently become involved in the development of Earned Recognition, Natural England’s flagship policy for licensing reform, as the interface between the Earned Recognition Steering Group and the Bat Expert Panel. A passion for bats has also extended into research, with the publication of three papers on lesser horseshoe bat ecology in peer-reviewed journals, and co-authoring many others, including a Species Action Plan for Livingstone’s Fruit Bat Pteropus livingstonii published by the IUCN.

David Whitehorne CEnv MCIEEM

David is a Senior Associate Director (Ecology) at Jacobs and has over 30 years’ experience in a range of sectors. Major achievements across David’s career include production of a strategy report to inform the RSPB land purchase policy for habitat creation for the bittern in southern England, leading on re-introducing grazing onto the Malvern Hills SSSI to help restore nationally important acid grassland and sitting as chairman of the Commons Steering Group for the Herefordshire Biodiversity Action Plan. David was also Lead Ecologist for the Steart Coastal Management Project which was Highly Commended by the CIEEM Best Practice Award Stakeholder Engagement in 2015.

One of David’s most ecologically challenging roles has been Phase One Ecology Lead on HS2 in which he led on preparatory works for creation and development of a network of ecologically important sites and techniques to protect and enhance biodiversity. While at HS2, David led an innovation task to develop a new method statement template for HS2 organisational licences. The new template has resulted in significant time, cost and risk reductions and has been well received by Natural England and will now be used on all Phases of HS2. David has also contributed to published research, best practice and training as a result of his work, raising the professional standards. Following up on a keen interest and desire to build ecologist’s skills and training in-line with professional practice and to encourage more young people into the profession, David was a member of the CIEEM Training Education and Career Development Committee for 6 years. David also garnered support for the CIEEM Accredited Ecological Clerk of Works scheme which seeks to deliver an assurance of quality for contractors and provide CIEEM members with a competence assessed qualification, raising professional standards. He also contributed to CIEEM’s Guidelines for Ecological Impact Assessment in The UK and Ireland. Terrestrial, Freshwater, Coastal and
Marine (2018).

David continues to mentor ecologists to Chartered status and beyond, applying his extensive experience in ecology and environmental management and own Chartered Environmentalist status since 2005. David regularly champions the overall wellbeing of the ecological profession, recognising the pressures of the industry whilst seeking to ensure its objectives in a healthy supportive atmosphere. Leading by example, David actively pushes back on unfair or compromising deliverables or practice.

Over the last week, we have been posting further information on each of the 2021 CIEEM Awards Winners over on our blog. Further details on each project/individual is set out in our 2021 CIEEM Awards Booklet.