Wednesday, 16 September 2015


he theme for this year's Conference is Inspiring the Next Generation and to encourage more young people to attend the Conference, we have ear-marked up to six free places for people born between 1 January 1990 and 31 December 1999.
If you'd like to be considered for one of these free places, please click here
Conference programme
We have lined up a great programme of speakers, many of whom are the new generation of ornithologists.
Lucy McRobert is Nature Matters campaign manager for The Wildlife Trusts, and creative director of A Focus on Nature, a scheme which encourages young people into nature conservation careers. She is also a nature writer, blogger and regularly appears in the media promoting young people and wildlife. Her talk, Facebook Nature: My Generation and Other Animals, will get us off to a great start, and will also feature Emma Louise Cole, zoology student at Swansea University who is studying Honey Buzzards and is a BTO Cymru student ambassador.
Holly Kirk is studying the behavioural ecology of seabirds that nest around the Irish Sea, particularly Manx Shearwaters on Skomer, Pembrokeshire. She is part of the Animal Behaviour Research Group at Oxford University, and will be giving us Insights from seven years of seabird-tracking in Wales
Viola Ross-Smith is a marine and wetland research ecologist at the BTO, based in Thetford, where she is also Science Communications Officer, promoting their science work and helping to manage the BTO's social media. She is one of the country's leading experts on Gulls, studying Lesser Black-backs on Flatholm for her PhD while at university in Cardiff. She has also worked for RSPB Cymru. Viola will be explaining Why Gulls Matter (and always will), timely after the news media's focus on their habits around coastal towns this summer. 
Carolyn Robertson will be talking about how RSPB Cymru is Lighting Sparks in Cardiff, where a major educational initiative is underway to promote Giving Nature A Home among the city's schools, and in local parks in conjunction with Cardiff City Council. A keen birdwatcher, prior to moving to Cardiff, Carolyn was Learning Adviser at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, based at Slimbridge.
James Vafidis is an ecologist and bird-ringer based in Cardiff, where he recently completed his PhD on the impact of climate change on wetland birds in south Wales, the subject of his talk to us: Mud to Marshes - a journey with Reed Warblers. James was also the driving force behind the Cardiff University Swift Project at the university, which WOS supported through its small grant scheme in 2014
> We'll finish the day with the tour-de-force of WOS President and tv naturalist, Iolo Williams, about the role that we can all play in Spreading the Gospel, if we are to sustain the conservation achievements to date, and make the step-changes necessary to restore wildlife to Wales' countryside.
In addition, Iolo will present the WOS Lifetime Achievement Awards and the 2015 Student Research Award, and there will be updates and information stands from RSPB Cymru and BTO Cymru
If you are travelling a distance, why not make a weekend of it? The Dyfi Estuary is only 20 miles west Carno, Lake Vyrnwy 25 miles north and the Elan Valley is 30 miles to the south. There is a variety of accommodation in the area.
We'd be grateful if you could download and print out our Conference poster and display it at Bird Club meetings and nature reserves.