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Wader Project Officer

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Terrestrial / Aquatic Ecology & Conservation
Location Scotland (Central) - UK
Town/City Sterling
Salary Additional Information £23,749 rising to £26,388 over 2 years
Salary (Minimum)
Salary (Maximum)
Type Fixed Term and Permanent Roles
Status Full Time
Level Mid Level
Deadline 18/11/2020
Company Name British Trust for Ornithology
Contact Name
Website Further Details / Applications
British Trust for Ornithology logo
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Full time (37 hours) two-year post in the first instance, based in Stirling, Scotland (or Thetford, Norfolk) with flexibility to work at home.


Please note: For your application to be considered, please ensure you have fully read the job description and completed the application task. More details can be found here.



The UK is internationally important for a number of breeding waders such as Curlew, Redshank and Lapwing. However, populations of these species have declined substantially over the last three decades (some by 40% or more), in the UK as well as in most other parts of their breeding ranges. This has resulted in many of Britain’s breeding wader species becoming high conservation priorities, not only for UK governments but also in the EU and beyond. Identifying realistic solutions for the

conservation of our breeding waders is therefore of particular importance. 


Thanks largely to generous responses to recent wader-focused funding appeals, the BTO has been able to take forward an ambitious programme of research to identify the likely causes of wader declines. Building on our portfolio of wader work and the profile given to breeding waders, we are now working to collaboratively develop realistic conservation solutions for breeding waders that can be applied at local and national levels. With an increasingly large number of organisations and stakeholder groups involved in wader research, conservation, and engagement activities across the UK, there is an urgent need to facilitate collaborative action and sharing of information and experiences. This will make it easier for those involved to learn from each other, thereby improving outcomes for waders. Such a process will be best served by an impartial and respected lead to facilitate coordination and communications between the broad range of relevant stakeholders. Due to our track record and impartiality, BTO are well-placed to assume this lead role. We firmly believe that engagement with all stakeholders will be the best way to develop a shared understanding of the problems faced by our breeding waders and the most effective ways to address these, maximising opportunities for effective conservation action.


The Wader Project Officer will help to maximise the impact and applicability of local projects by providing advice on comparable approaches and methods for monitoring. This

will include guidance on how best to assess abundance and breeding success but, importantly, will extend beyond wader-focused fieldwork to include the collection of information on management practices, predator activity, habitat and vegetation structure, soil characteristics and invertebrate abundance. This will enable a better

understanding of the causes of change, and responses to interventions, while also making it easier to integrate results across projects. The Officer will work with volunteer

networks, helping to develop and extend these to reach new audiences. They may arrange or take part in the testing and development of novel field methods aimed at improving our understanding of key knowledge gaps, such as survival rates of young birds before and after fledging. The Project Officer will play a key role in developing an online ‘Wader Information Hub’, together with stakeholders, to ensure that it serves their needs in delivering effective action for waders and that it is maintained as a long-term resource to support wader conservation.


We believe that the work of this postholder will contribute to:

• A greater understanding across the UK of the reasons for declines in breeding waders and of the actions required to support sustainable populations;

• Effective communication of evidence, recommending the best tools and conservation strategies to relevant stakeholders which can then be incorporated into land use policy;

• Maintenance and further development of local and national efforts to understand and achieve realistic solutions for conserving breeding waders;

• More effective collaboration between organisations and individuals focusing on the study, management and conservation of waders; and ultimately;

• Land managers, agencies and others across the UK delivering conditions that can retain sustainable populations of breeding waders.



• Build on the audit already undertaken by BTO of individuals and groups working on key wader projects in the UK, liaising with existing and new groups to bring them on board with collaborative working, and to liaise with existing collaborations (e.g. Working for Waders in Scotland, the Curlew Recovery Network and Curlew Forum in England, Curlew Cymru in Wales).

• Support, encourage and advise the range of breeding wader study and conservation projects being undertaken across the UK by different stakeholders (e.g. game managers, farmers, ringers, birdwatchers), making good practice guidance available to all.

• Oversee the development of an impartial, online ‘Wader Information Hub’ to hold existing data and meta-data from around the UK, and to work to secure funding to meet the full vision for this hub and to extend the programme of work in future years. The aim of this hub will be to collate, communicate and disseminate information from and to all relevant stakeholders. The design and breadth of the hub will depend on the scale of funding, but the vision is for an online system to capture data on waders and their conservation management from a wide range of projects, and facilitate access to the findings and experiences of these projects, maximizing their value for wader conservation.

• Develop robust, comparable methods of data collection (e.g. on wader populations and their demography, management practices, predator abundance, habitats, soils and invertebrate abundance) and analysis. Promote these methods and disseminate findings.

• Produce and organize a range of online materials, workshops, field visits and training events to make appropriate support and good-practice guidance available across the UK.

• Review progress across projects being undertaken within the UK, to increase understanding of which interventions work best, and under what circumstances, so that advice can be improved overall.

• Seek to combine the project-based findings with broader scale mapping work to assess the state of Conservation action for breeding waders across the UK.




• A degree or equivalent experience in biology, ecology, environmental science or another relevant discipline.

• A sound knowledge of breeding waders in the UK and survey methods and a background in wader ecology/ population biology would be a distinct advantage.

• Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and the ability and enthusiasm to interact effectively and

courteously with a wide range of people to promote collaborative work on waders. A strong ability to motivate people from diverse backgrounds is essential (some queries may be of a sensitive/political nature and will need to be handled in an entirely objective manner).

• Proven ability to effectively manage the delivery of a programme of work and bring relevant people together to fulfil project aims would be highly desirable.

• Intermediate word processing and computing skills, including a good working knowledge of Windows and the standard Microsoft Office packages (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) are essential.

• Intermediate experience of the statistical analysis of data and their presentation in scientific papers and reports is desirable, as is knowledge of databases, GIS and statistical software (R or SAS; some support from BTO Research Ecologists will be available).

• Some experience of online data portals (from developer but particularly user perspectives) would be desirable, as would experience of interacting constructively with IT specialists to facilitate portal or similar developments.

• Experience of good data management practices and electronic file management (including data security) is essential, as are methodical approaches to working with data, statistical information and scheme administration.

• A good understanding of broader issues relating to data recording (e.g. data confidentiality, ownership and sharing).

• A calm, confident and friendly manner with the public, the media and other organisations, using written, oral and electronic media.

• Previous experience of motivating or training volunteers or other groups would be highly desirable.

• Previous experience of writing funding applications / cases for support would be highly desirable.

• Adaptable and conscientious: able to work as part of a team but with the motivation and communication skills needed to work on own initiative for much of the time.

• Good organisational skills and personal time management are essential.

• Ability and confidence to represent BTO’s wader work externally with limited guidance from senior staff.

• The flexibility to carry out some weekend and evening work, and a current driving licence, are essential. Travel throughout the UK on a regular basis will also be required.



For an informal chat about the position please contact John Calladine (john.calladine@bto.org).



A starting salary of £23,749, rising to £26,388 over two years.

Annual leave entitlement on starting is 25 days plus bank holidays (pro rata if part time). The post holder will qualify for life assurance (four times salary) and be automatically enrolled in the BTO group personal pension scheme, benefiting from an 11% employer contribution. 

Other benefits include Employee Assistance Programme, discounts on BTO books, flexible working and social events.



Please submit an application form, CV, covering letter and complete the interview task (this should be submitted in a separate document, as part of your application).


The BTO is considering a range of methods suitable for collecting information about wader productivity, and you would like to get as many people using one of these methods as  possible. In no more than one side of A4, describe how would you approach this for A) a community group who has been doing their own data collection using their own methods for the last 2 years; B) a farmer who has expressed interest in ‘doing more for waders on his 25 hectare farm’; C) a gamekeeper who is keen to show that predator control is benefiting the waders on the estate.

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