An Assistant Conservation Officer for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority has recently achieved the John Muir Trust Conserver Award as a result of his extensive work with volunteers and upland bird species monitoring in the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park.
Jason Rees, an Assistant Conservation Officer at Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority for nearly four years, has spent more than 60 days working towards the highest of three levels of the John Muir Ward, a UK-wide environmental award scheme run by the John Muir Trust and delivered in partnership with the National Park Authority. It encourages people of all backgrounds to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places – and locally, to appreciate the special qualities of the Bannau Brycheiniog.
Whilst walking the 100 mile Beacons way route, taking in some of the most picturesque yet challenging terrain of the National Park, Jason monitored more than 15 different upland bird species, several of which are scheduled and protected under European law, and compared his own adventures to those of John Muir, the founder of the National Parks movement over 100 years ago.
Jason said: “I chose the Beacons Way route to try and emulate John Muir’s 1000 mile walk. Muir had no specific route chosen, except to go by the wildest, leafiest, and least trodden way he could find. Even though I wouldn’t have experienced the difficult and unchartered territory that he faced this has still been an amazing experience. I am hoping that some of the volunteers I work with on a daily basis will recognise how much I have gained from this and decide to explore the benefits of working towards this Award themselves”.
Jason also spent more than 40 days coordinating National Park volunteers at Waun Fach to work on a ground breaking peat restoration project funded by the Welsh Government’s Nature Fund. Working alongside Jason, the upland volunteers put in almost 2,000 hours to carry out independent work in the Black Mountains and the Eastern Central Beacons including path maintenance, grouse counts and heather condition surveys.
Jason was presented with his award by Phil Stubbington, the John Muir Award Manager for Wales who said: “Completing the John Muir Conserver Award is a fantastic achievement. Jason has clearly inspired others to get involved, as well as giving something back to this beautiful landscape himself. Jason’s achievement is one of many positives in the ongoing partnership work between the John Muir Trust and the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority.”
Cllr Geraint Hopkins, Chairman for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority offered his congratulations, saying: “We were delighted that Jason had been awarded with the John Muir Trust Award – it’s a fitting reward for all the hard work and dedication he has shown working with volunteers and recording the bird species in the National Park.”
Photo credit ©Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority
Pictured left to right – Phil Stubbington, John Muir Award Manager for Wales; Jason Rees, Assistant Conservation Officer and Cllr Geraint Hopkins, Chairman of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority