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Bishop of Norwich's Prize for Ecology awarded 

A UEA ecology student has been awarded the Bishop of Norwich's Prize for Ecology for his work on woodland, bees and Norfolk farmland.

The Rt Rev Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich, has awarded UEA student, Guthrie Allen, the prize for the best MSc Applied Ecology and Conservation research dissertation in the last academic year (2020-21), for a project on the role of woodland canopies in supporting bees in a Norfolk farmland landscape.
 
The second year of this award, the UEA chose the recipient from among the postgraduate students in their ecology department. Guthrie is originally from Norfolk and did both his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the UEA.
 
Presenting the prize, Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich said: “I’m delighted to present the prize to Guthrie in recognition of his excellent dissertation in the applied conversation ecology area. It particularly resonated with me, as a keen beekeeper! Having originally trained as an ecologist, I am all too aware that we need people to be researching and being passionate about exploring and protecting our single island planet home. As a Christian, I am called to live out a care for creation so I’m very happy to be encouraging endeavours such as this.”
 
On receiving the prize certificate and £1,000, Guthrie said: “I am hugely grateful for this generous prize. In practical terms it will help me to continue my research, but equally importantly it is immensely encouraging to receive this recognition of my work from someone with a passion for the subject.”

Dr Richard Davies, Lecturer in Biodiversity at the School of Biological Sciences, UEA said: “Pollinators and many other beneficial insects are under multiple pressures from intensive agriculture and climate change. Guthrie’s work will contribute to our understanding of the role of woodlands in sustaining pollinator species across Norfolk farmland and beyond.

“The Bishop of Norwich Ecology prize helps shine a spotlight on some of the valuable and fascinating conservation ecology projects that our students take on, and which launches them on the next steps in their careers. It is wonderful to see the crucial importance of applied ecology being given such prominent endorsement from outside the university.”

Professor Jennifer Gill, Course Director of the MSc in Applied Ecology & Conservation said: “The recognition of our students and the importance of their work in applied ecology and conservation is hugely welcome. We are extremely fortunate to have such wonderful support from Bishop Graham in helping to develop our conservationist ecologists as they seek to address the many challenges facing the natural world. “

Guthrie added: “For my project, I investigated the potential role of mature woodland canopies in supporting wild bee communities on farmland - an area little explored in Europe. I found that all bumblebee species were active in the canopy - at heights of up to 20 m - but some species were more active than others, and females were more likely to visit than males. Canopy activity also greatly increased when Sycamore trees were in flower. I explore the biological significance of these results and their implications for woodland conservation and management in farmed landscapes.”
 
Pictured above Guthrie Allen receives his prize from Bishop Graham Usher. Picture © Diocese of Norwich.
 

Keith Morris, 27/07/2022

Keith Morris
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