Archive of: great crested newt

Success! TWIC Spring Conference: Farming and Biodiversity Spring Conference

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Success! TWIC Spring Conference: Farming and Biodiversity Spring Conference

Caledonian Conservation sponsored The Wildlife Information Centre (TWIC) Spring Conference ‘Farming and Biodiversity in Scotland – An Essential Partnership’ at Musselburgh on Saturday 29th April.  Niall Currie (Assistant Ecologist) reports...

The event was very well attended and allowed farmers, land managers, ecologists and biological recorders to meet and exchange ideas.  The excellent range of topics varied from the experience of individual farmers carrying out conservation projects on their farms, to global issues such as planning how best to manage soils and the incredibly complex ecological communities they support.

Other talks included individual species conservation projects, such as the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s research into improving the survival prospects of grey partridge (Perdix perdix) on farms by increasing vegetation cover during the breeding season and over winter.

The break for lunch, gave attendees the opportunity to explore stands and learn about TWIC’s latest citizen science project - the Scottish Spider Search - which Caledonian Conservation has helped to develop in partnership with the British Arachnological Society and Buglife.

The afternoon session included an update from Pete Minting (Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust) on the exciting ‘Great Crested Newt Detectives Project’, which has been trialing new methods of using DNA samples of pond water to determine whether great crested newts, and to which Caledonian Conservation has also contributed by surveying remote ponds and providing control samples from known sites.

The conference was a great success, being the largest arranged by TWIC to date, and a ‘sell out’ (although Caledonian Conservation’s sponsorship allowed the conference to be free to attend).


TWIC 2017 Spring Conference: Farming and Biodiversity in Scotland – An Essential Partnership

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TWIC 2017 Spring Conference: Farming and Biodiversity in Scotland – An Essential Partnership

Caledonian Conservation Ltd is proud to sponsor The Wildlife Information Centre (TWIC) 2017 Spring Conference, to be held in Musselburgh on 29th April.  The topic, Farming and Biodiversity, is always important but is brought in to sharper focus with the uncertainty created by Brexit.

Farming and biodiversity are an essential partnership – farming cannot succeed without the ecosystem services necessary to support it, such as pollination (by wild solitary bees, bumblebees, beetles, flies, butterflies and moths as well as domesticated honey bees), soil creation and recycling (by a variety of worms, springtails, symphylans, fungi – the list goes on!), clean water and natural pest control.  Farming can also offer excellent opportunities to support biodiversity, for example birds (breeding habitat for farmland bird species, nesting opportunities for owls, foraging habitat for raptors and owls), mammals (foraging and roosting opportunities for bats), reptiles (hibernation sites in walls and foraging opportunities in field margins), amphibians (ponds and a mix of farmland habitats can be excellent for great crested newts), invertebrates and plants.

Reflecting this, the conference has a superb and varied programme with talks on soil communities (by Dr Tim Daniell of University of Sheffield / The James Hutton Institute), grey partridge conservation (by Fiona Torrance of The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust) and great crested newts (by Pete Minting of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust) amongst other topics.

Of course, members of the Caledonian Conservation Ltd team will also be at the conference, so it is an opportunity to learn more about the work we do.

The conference is free to attend, and includes a buffet lunch.

For more information on the programme and to book, visit the TWIC website.

We hope to see you there!


Our first Ecological Impact Assessment training course for CIEEM & future events

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Our first Ecological Impact Assessment training course for CIEEM & future events

Caledonian Conservation Ltd staff have a wide range of expertise, and run training courses to share skills and knowledge with other ecology professionals.  Training that Chris Cathrine (Director) delivers includes running courses on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), the  leading professional body for ecologists and environmental managers in the UK and Ireland.  Having run great crested newt survey and mitigation courses for CIEEM since 2015, Chris is also delivering Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) and wind farm bird collision risk modelling training courses for the professional body in 2017.

CIEEM runs EcIA courses for ecology professionals throughout the UK, ensuring trainers have appropriate experience of the country training is delivered in as relevant legislation and policies are devolved.  While updating the EcIA Level 2 course for Scotland, Chris worked with CIEEM’s England and Wales trainer, Mike Dean, and attended one of his courses in Wales to ensure that training would be appropriate but consistent between the UK countries.

Chris delivered his first CIEEM EcIA training course in Scotland last week, at a venue in Edinburgh, drawing on over 10 years' experience as an ecological consultant and his previous roles with Local Authority and as planning casework officer for a conservation charity.  Participants came from a range of backgrounds including consultants, charities / NGOs and government agencies / local authorities, really adding depth to group activities and encouraging interesting questions.  After all, EcIA principles can be applied to reports supporting planning applications, ecology chapters in Environmental Statements for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs), Habitats Regulations Appraisals (HRAs), conservation management plans for sites – any project that could impact ecology.  The course was a success, based on informal and formal feedback, and Chris is looking forward to running more EcIA training on behalf of CIEEM in the future.

Chris will be running the following courses on behalf of CIEEM this spring:

  • Wind Farm Bird Collision Risk Modelling - 30th March - Aberdeen
  • Great Crested Newt Ecology and Survey Techniques - 19th April - Airdrie
  • Great Crested Newt Mitigation and Assessment - 20th April - Airdrie

To find out more about Chris’s other courses delivered as part of CIEEM’s training programme and to book on to these or other events, visit:

To find out more about CIEEM, visit:


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