Karen Andrews grew up in a family of bird ringers, botanists and entomologists, so a passion for natural history is in the blood. Her career in water pollution and waste management has given her insight into environmental challenges across many sectors, and in her working life she now focuses on improving water quality and biodiversity in rivers and streams across the Severn Vale. One of her favourite parts of this involves training and working with volunteers to identify aquatic macroinvertebrates and record riverine habitats. She holds several degrees in environmental and ecological subjects, and has recently enjoyed studying local swift colonies as part of her academic studies. Her wildlife interests are broad, although a focus on plants and hoverflies seems to be emerging. Karen has also been a Wildlife Watch leader, and volunteers every year on Skomer island off of the Pembrokeshire Coast.
Andrew Bluett. “My interests beyond the world of work are connected to wildlife and the environment, I became interested in birds in particular from the age of about 5 years and have spent most of my life learning about their lifecycles. I became a member of GNS to extend my interests into other forms of wildlife and the natural world over time, then became a trustee and the Membership Secretary to fill a vacancy that was critical to keeping the society growing.
I am also a trustee of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the Stroud Cowle Museum (in the Park) Trust, a member of the Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group, Gloucestershire Ornithological Co-ordinating Committee and the BTO. I was formerly a trustee of the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust Company Ltd until it ceased to operate in March 2019.
I consider it a privilege to be involved with all of those bodies, which do invaluable work in recording, preserving and presenting wildlife, history and culture to the public at large.”
Mervyn Greening is a self confessed wildlife nut with a particular passion for orchids and birds. He’s been a GNS member since 1983.
Andy Lewis’s main interest is birds, but increasingly butterflies and trees as well. He was Chairman of the North Cotswold Ornithological Society until they joined forces with GNS, and still organises the Gloucestershire Winter Bird Survey inherited from NCOS. He volunteers with the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and for whatever surveys the British Trust for Ornithology dream up. He has given basic bird id courses for the Cotswold AONB’s Rural Skills programme, and also runs the Bourton University of the Third Age Nature group.
Ben Locke is based in the Forest of Dean and has a broad interest in all wildlife both in Britain and abroad, and is particularly passionate about Nightjars and related birds. Also on the committee of the Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group. Wildlife photographer, web developer and amateur artist.
Des Marshall has been a member of the GNS Committee for about 5 years and for most of that time has been responsible for organising field meetings. This is a slightly more challenging task than the persuasive words ‘It’s just getting a few people together for a walk’, with which the task was sold to him! GNS try to arrange meet-ups in all parts of the county, and cover as many species groups as possible. In the end one is dependent on the enormous good will and expertise within the Society. Our aim is to keep meetings free of charge and open to everybody.
Martin Matthews is a retired civil servant with a fascination for all kinds of insects and a broad interest in natural history; he holds a B.Sc. in Forestry and Forest Zoology from Bangor University; and is currently one of the GNS Diptera (fly) recorders (soldierflies and their allies) and GNS Mecoptera (scorpionflies) recorder.
Martin is also an amateur photographer, church pianist and family history researcher among other things.
Barrie Mills is a life long ornithologist and general naturalist. His career in engineering sales has taken him to a large number of countries throughout the world and has enabled him to gain an understanding of the environmental problems faced by many in their pursuit of better living standards. It has also afforded him the opportunity to see and record wildlife in many different habitats.
Barrie has volunteered for the RSPB for over 20 years and has been involved in survey work for the BTO for the last 15 years. He’s also happy to speak to local groups and organisations about his work.
Andy Oliver – “I grew up in the Suffolk countryside and have always been interested in natural history generally and especially birds. My first birding holiday was to Cambridgeshire with the YOC at nine years old.
We moved to Gloucestershire in 1997 and I joined both GWT and GNS. My working life is as a Chartered Tax Advisor and so I became actively involved in GNS as treasurer in 2011. My best Gloucestershire bird record is a vagrant Tengmalm’s Owl heard on an evening dog-walk in Bishops Cleeve in April 2007. I should add that the record wasn’t accepted by the BBRC but then who would have ever thought a Blue Rock Thrush would spend a whole winter in a cul de sac in Stow-on-the-Wold? That’s what makes our interest so fascinating, you never know what you’ll encounter next.”
Mike Smart joined GNS at the age of 11. “I have been interested in birds (especially water birds) and have remained a member of GNS ever since; after nine years in Tunisia and two in Iran, I went to work for nearly twenty years at Slimbridge with the International Waterbird Research Bureau (now Wetlands International), then for nearly ten years in Switzerland at the secretariat of the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Since returning to live in Gloucestershire around 2000, I was Chairman of the Society until 2019, emphasizing its recording and publishing role, and strengthening ties with the county Wildlife Trust. In recent years I have been particularly concerned with waders in the Severn and Avon Vales, especially Curlews, and am currently active with the Curlew Forum which aims to conserve Curlews nesting across lowland England.”