Biodiversity and Ecology at Scarborough Borough Council HQ

I was very lucky to undertake an internship with Tim Burkinshaw at Scarborough Borough Council. Tim is the Biodiversity officer and works in Parks and Countryside devision of the council where he manages many projects, including the Carrs Wetland Project. His job was very exciting and varied, ranging from carrying out ecological and archaeological fieldwork, working with farmers and locals as well as understanding and implementing environmental policy.

I worked one day a week during my third year at Hull University, Scarborough Campus. I had a role to play in the office where I helped to organise the “Biodiversity Action Plan” conference, which aims to help achieve the conservation objectives that are set for the Scarborough Local Biodiversity Action Plan, as a section of the UK wide action plan (UKBAP).  Wetlands, habitats which include wet grasslands, woodlands, reed beds, fens and the drainage ditches network, are priority habitats, as they have unique wildlife and they’re threatened by agricultural development. The organisms associated with the habitats include water voles, otters, great crested newts and important aquatic/terrestrial plants/invertebrates.

Scarborough BAP
Current Scarborough BAP actions which are carried out by The Carrs Wetland Project include;

  1. Identifying wetland resources
  2. Providing advice and developing proposals with landowners to create wetlands as part of Environmental Stewardship and other proposals
  3. Incorporating wetlands as part of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems with planning consent
  4. Providing practical assistance with farm management

As well as “Connecting for Nature”, during my time working in the office, I was also encouraged to plan fieldwork for the Young Entomologists’ Network where we carried out fieldwork on farmland and assessed the dung beetle diversity.

This role was so varied, I also had the opportunity to join in with the recording of the radio interview with BBC’s Sue Nelson and the University of York Archaeology department and wrote this blog post from the day:

Reporting from Star Carr, a Peek in the Peat…

It was a windy day in the Vale of Pickering when archaeologists Michael Bamforth and Becky Knight from the University of York and Ian Panter from the York Archaeological Trust were interviewed by Sue Nelson for BBC Radio 4 . The team walked along the River Hertford to view the field that harbours the Palaeo Lake Flixton under its turf, and visualise what the site would have looked back in the Stone Age.


Archaeology has become an interdisciplinary field of research which has benefited greatly in recent decades by utilising scientific methods such as chemical isotope analyses and radiocarbon dating. This short interview was conducted in the field and followed up in the chemistry labs at York. It focuses on  the interaction of science and archaeology, and the impact of Star Carr in terms of Mesolithic discoveries.

The 8-minute interview is destined for broadcast on Radio 4’s Inside Science programme, so tune in to hear more about the challenges facing Star Carr’s buried artefacts.

by Fevziye Hasan

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