New Senior Ecologist for the RHS

Company: The RHS

The new post, a first for the RHS, will design and lead ecological surveys at the charity’s five gardens, establishing baseline data on wildlife and developing recommendations to increase biodiversity in gardens across the UK.

Gemma Golding has joined the Plant Health team as Senior Ecologist, having previously worked as a senior ecology and sustainability consultant. Gemma’s appointment follows that of Helen Bostock as Senior Wildlife Specialist. Together their work will help bring nature into people’s lives through gardening and reaffirms the RHS’ commitment to meet the Net Positive for Nature Target, set out in the RHS’ 2021 Sustainability Strategy.

As part of the role the Senior Ecologist, based at RHS Garden Wisley, will help coordinate ecological surveys targeting some of the many habitats and species found within the gardens. Threatened species found in the RHS’ gardens include the hazel dormouse at RHS Garden Rosemoor, stag beetle at RHS Garden Wisley, lesser redpoll at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, mistle thrush at RHS Garden Bridgewater and shrill carder bee at RHS Garden Hyde Hall. Gemma will also be working with internal and external stakeholders to develop new research projects that investigate the impacts gardening practises can have on wildlife.

Some of the wildlife the Senior Ecologist will be looking to include in the surveys are amphibians, butterflies, breeding birds, bumblebees and other terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates. These groups are a good representative for overall biodiversity levels on sites and can help determine the health of a habitat. The data collected from these surveys will be vital to show trends and the ways in which actions in the gardens are improving wildlife numbers.

Professor Alistair Griffiths, RHS Director of Science and Collections, said: “Our research shows that gardens and gardening can create fantastic wildlife habitats and help reverse biodiversity declines, and research into best practise can only boost the value our plots have. The Senior Ecologist role is an exciting and important one for the RHS, as it will contribute further to our Biodiversity Targets set out in the Sustainability Strategy and build on previous research to quantify the positive impact our gardens are having on nature - we look forward to sharing new results with the UK’s 30 million gardeners.” 

The ecologist role builds on partnerships and research such as Wild About Gardens with The Wildlife Trusts, RHS Plants for Bugs and the RHS Plants for Pollinators list, and comes alongside a raft of on-going wildlife-friendly habitat creation across all five gardens, in particular the Wildlife Garden at RHS Garden Wisley, opened in 2020.

To find out more about helping wildlife in your patch visit:

Share this...
Next Article Back
Let us hear your thoughts on this article...

To see earlier stories - Look in the News Archive