Diana Gilbert

Diana Gilbert

Self-employed upland plant ecologist and Chair, Montane Scrub Action Group

“Following an early career in the Scottish Highlands, pursuing woodland ecology within a public body, I was fortunate to fulfil a long-held ambition to undertake research for an ecological doctorate. Through my research I became acquainted with the BES, an organisation I had not encountered during my employment years, and I wished to learn more about the Society.

“After presenting my research at a BES Annual Meeting, I was so impressed with the inclusive nature of the staff and Society as a whole that I successfully sought nomination to the Board of Trustees (or Council as it was then). This resulted in my membership of two committees, the Membership Committee and the Meetings Committee.

“On joining it became clear that the focus of the Society, the ‘unconscious bias’, was on the academic community. My particular interest was to encourage a broader focus that actively included non-academic ecologists and support the widening of the Society’s stakeholders to include non-ecologists, policy-makers and deliverers. At a time when ecology and biodiversity are being overwhelmed by a focus on climate change, it has never been more important to wave the ecological banner from the broadest possible public base. The Society has recognised that this means appealing to the greatest diversity of ecological skills, backgrounds and experience and engaging with them all at a Committee level.

“The particularly rewarding aspect of giving my time and travelling from Inverness to attend meetings has been the welcome from the staff and their appreciation of my commitment, their keenness to make use of my experience and to seek my views on relevant aspects of committee work.

“As befits a scientific, forward-thinking Society, the BES encourages and stimulates new ideas, and is open to realistic innovative thinking. In return Committee membership is a great opportunity for networking with other professional ecologists.”

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