West Country Award launches next generation of river conservationists

10/03/2017

A remarkable West-country Award set up in memory of well-known hotelier Anne Voss-Bark is helping to determine the future direction of young graduates studying aquatic sciences.

Now in its third year, the Anne Voss-Bark Memorial Award 2017, set up by Salmon & Trout Conservation UK (S&TC UK) in collaboration with the Arundel Arms and Fario Club is now open to young fisheries or aquatic students and offers an unbeatable opportunity to study the practical elements of river restoration and management.

Vicky Fowler, from Holmfirth, Yorkshire who studied biological science at Exeter University, is a previous winner of the Award and found the experience extremely beneficial in her future career.  She said, “This was such a rewarding experience and it was the first time that I had appreciated how science impacts in the real world. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn about the practical side of river management, including conservation, catchment management, identifying funding opportunities and communicating with different stakeholders.  I really did learn a huge amount.”

Vicky is now working towards gaining a PhD and is studying with the British Antarctic survey team.  Her eventual aim is to stay in the aquatic conservation field but working on a very practical level.

Dr Janina Gray, Head of Science with S&TC UK, said, “Vicky is a fantastic example of why this Award is so important and offers such an amazing opportunity for young fisheries/aquatic students to gain unbeatable work experience.”

The Anne Voss-Bark Memorial Award offers students:
•    One week at the Arundell Arms, one of the country’s leading Country Sports hotel; learning hands-on fisheries management and fly-fishing from the experienced river managers and gillies.
•    One week with the West Country Rivers Trust; learning catchment management and water science from the Trusts eminent scientists.
•    £500

The work experience for the winning student has been organised for week commencing 25th September 2017.

Anne Voss-Bark was a dedicated conservationist and her love of fly fishing made her aware of changes in the countryside detrimental to our rivers and fish.  She worked tirelessly to see this demise reversed. Anne was a strong supporter of the S&TC UK, the only UK fisheries campaigning charity. She was a Council Member, Vice Chairman and finally Vice President of the charity. Anne, with others, also founded the West Country Rivers Trust, embracing the concept of total river management. Anne will also always be well-remembered as the perfect hostess at the Arundell Arms in Lifton, Devon, which was rather run down on acquisition but developed by her over nearly 50 years into today’s eminent fishing and country sports hotel.

Wild fish and their habitats were of great importance to Anne and the challenge for students wishing to submit an application for the Anne-Voss Bark Memorial Award, is to write a literature review on ‘Hatcheries – good or bad for wild fisheries’ (max. 2,500 words).

The Closing date for applications is 31st May 2017. To submit an entry or for further information on the Award, please contact Dr Janina Gray, Head of Science at S&TC UK by email on: janina@salmon-trout.org .

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Photocaption:  Pictured: Vicky Fowler studying to gain a PhD was a previous winner of the Anne-Voss Bark Memorial Award, and she would encourage other students to enter as she found the very practical nature of the prize  hugely beneficial in deciding her future career path.