Marine Protected Areas Advisor
Find Hugh on Twitter @hughlewiswright
Involved with the BOU as:
Chair, BOU Engagement committee (BOUEC)
Member of BOU Council (Ordinary Member)
BOU member since: 2009
Most likely to be found . . .
. . . wandering the fens with bin(ocular)s and a buggy
Why are you a member of the BOU?
During my PhD I found the BOU was a very handy place to apply for fieldwork funding and to go to conferences where I could meet other birdy students and learn a great deal about subjects beyond my research area. More recently my work has taken me away from studying birds, but as a scientist and a birder I’m still keen to stay in touch with the world of ornithology and the BOU is great for doing that. I’m no longer a student but I also want to give a bit back to the BOU so they can continue supporting the budding, early-career ornithologists, like I was a few years ago.
What is your role on the BOU Council or committee on which you sit?
On the Engagement Committee I help the BOU to continue fostering an ornithological community in the UK as well as further afield. This community is an essential part of furthering ornithology as it helps to disseminate the latest thoughts and findings, to generate new collaborations between likeminded scientists/enthusiasts and perhaps most importantly, it helps to foster a new generation of up-and-coming bird scientists. Maintaining the community is a responsibility for all ornithologists and the BOU provides grants, publishes scientific papers, uses social media and organises conferences to encourage as many avian scientists to get involved as we can.
What do you enjoy most about your involvement with the BOU?
I’ve found it fascinating to learn how a scientific society is run and how it can publish a huge and historic journal (IBIS) while only employing a handful of people. Like most charities, running the BOU and the journal involves an impressive number of volunteers on a whole range of different committees and it’s rather inspiring to see everyone working together for the good of ornithology! As a Council and committee member of the BOU I’ve also had a chance to meet some fantastic ‘big-cheese’ ornithologists – definitely a bonus early in my scientific career.
What is your favourite outdoor place and why?
Pendeen watchpoint, on the Land’s End peninsula, in August with a strong north-westerly wind and a decent low-pressure system. It’s a dramatic location and getting to see large shearwaters whizzing past the tip of the UK on their circumnavigation of the Atlantic is pretty exceptional – if you can keep your scope steady!