TVERC Autumn Recorders' Conference 2022 - Summary

Our Autumn conference saw a return to an in-person format, held at Oracle, Thames Valley Park in Reading on 15th October. It was also available online through Google Meets. Around 40 people attended in person and online: individual recorders and members of local groups keen to share their work and hear what other local groups have been doing over the summer.


Our Biological Recording Co-ordinator, Henrietta Pringle kicked things off with an overview of ‘TVERC in Action’ in the past year, including a brief run down of the data we hold, how to access it, and the support we provide for recorders. She also gave examples of how our datasets are used in our project work, such as mapping canopy cover in Oxfordshire, and evaluating the heathland resource in North Wessex Downs AONB.


We then heard from a range of speakers in our speed update session. Owen Green and Lesley Dunlop talked about the geodiversity of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, and brought along some fossils for us. Rob Curtis from TVERC brought us highlights of this season’s Local Wildlife Sites surveys, before Bryony Blades from Oxford University talked us through her work analysing the coverage of butterfly records as part of her TVERC-hosted micro-internship. Carl Whitehead, ranger for Witney Town Council told us about the biodiversity on Heron Meadow, and Freshwater Habitats Trust’s trainees Paola Perez, Ellie MacDonald and Evie Granat filled us in about their work to build Oxfordshire’s Freshwater network. Finally, Jon Cole reported back on the British Entomological and Natural History Society’s 150th Anniversary Bioblitz at Dinton Pastures earlier in the year.


The first of our main speakers was Grahame Hawker from, amongst many other groups he represents, the Upper Thames branch of Butterfly Conservation. Grahame gave us a very helpful overview of the resources available to help identify butterflies and moths. Brian Clews brought us news of WildCookham’s project to re-introduce Water Voles to the local waterways that inspired Kenneth Grahame himself when writing Wind in the Willows. After lunch, we heard from Simon Claybourn, Project Officer at BBOWT who told us about the West Berkshire Wild Verges Project, their findings, and how you can get involved with the final year of surveys in 2023. The last of our main speakers was Chelsea Hothem, Project Officer at the River Thame Conservation Trust. The focus of Chelsea’s talk was the River Thame Riverfly Hub, a fantastic citizen science project where you can contribute to active monitoring and protection of our rivers.


Those attending in person had the option of attending workshops in the afternoon. Following on from his earlier talk, Grahame Hawker ran a butterfly identification workshop. He ran through the key features to look for to ensure that by the end, we came away confident in identifying all the butterfly species found in the Upper Thames region. The second of our workshops was led by TVERC’s Biodiversity Officers: Julie Kerans, Rob Curtis and Katherine Howell. On a walk around Thames Valley Park, they talked through what they look for on site surveys to identify habitat types, vegetation structure and other features that might support specific taxa.


All the talks and the butterfly ID workshop are available on our website, and our Youtube channel, so do take a look if you missed any or would like to revisit them.


We would like to thank everyone who attended the conference, with a special thanks to the main speakers, our workshop hosts, anyone who gave speed updates or brought along a display on the day. We would also like to thank Oracle for their ongoing support with hosting the conference. We are already thinking about our next conference in Spring, so do contact us at with any suggestions for speakers or workshop topics.