Legacy fund could aid lo­cal re­searchers

The Oban Times - - Outdoors -

A FUND that will pro­vide bud­ding sci­en­tists and land man­agers the chance to ex­plore eco­log­i­cal re­search has been launched in mem­ory of an in­ter­na­tion­al­lyrenowned sci­en­tist, who has died aged 77.

Money raised through the Dick Potts Legacy Fund will help cover the ex­pense of small projects re­search­ing farm­land wildlife, flora and as­so­ci­ated habi­tats, re­search sup­plies and equip­ment, travel, soft­ware and at­ten­dance at con­fer­ences.

Since the fundrais­ing page went live, do­na­tions have started to pour in.

Some £13,000 has al­ready been raised in hon­our of Dick, who was ap­pointed di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the Game Con­ser­vancy Trust in 1993 – which be­came the Game and Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Trust in 2007 – be­fore re­tir­ing in 2001.

De­spite this, he con­tin­ued to work tire­lessly un­til his death on March 30 this year.

His wife, Olga, who helped put the page to­gether, said: ‘The idea for the fund came about soon af­ter Dick’s death as we re­ceived nu­mer­ous let­ters from around the world from peo­ple whose re­search he had en­cour­aged and in­spired.

‘When they first en­coun­tered him and his work, they were young sci­en­tists and con­ser­va­tion­ists who are now at the top of their cho­sen field.

‘As a re­sult, we felt it would be a pos­i­tive memo­rial to en­cour­age the next gen­er­a­tion of peo­ple who want to study and pro­tect the ecol­ogy of farm­land in the same prac­ti­cal way. Who knows, we may dis­cover the next Dick Potts.’

Those heart­felt let­ters Olga refers to came flood­ing in from sci­en­tists whom Dick, the son of a York­shire farmer, in­spired over the years.

Among them were Dr Mike Rands, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Bird Life In­ter­na­tional and cur­rently di­rec­tor of the Cam­bridge Con­ser­va­tion Ini­tia­tive, who wrote: ‘Thanks to his be­lief in me and sup­port, I was able to com­plete a doc­tor­ate at Ox­ford un­der his ex­pert su­per­vi­sion.’

David Clark, head keeper at San­dring­ham Es­tate, said: ‘He helped me in my ca­reer and with ad­vice so many times, and I owe him so much, as do so many peo­ple.’

And Dr Si­mon Dow­ell, science di­rec­tor at Ch­ester Zoo, added: ‘Much of my ca­reer would have not been pos­si­ble with­out his sup­port and men­tor­ship all those years ago at the Game Con­ser­vancy.

“I shall never for­get the day he rang me to of­fer me my PhD in game­bird be­hav­iour. I couldn’t be­lieve my luck in be­ing of­fered such a great op­por­tu­nity. Even so, I never imag­ined where it would lead me and what an amaz­ing jour­ney I would have along the way.’

Ap­pli­ca­tions for the fund will be con­sid­ered an­nu­ally. Awards will be at the dis­cre­tion of the fund’s ad­vis­ers and full project re­sults will be pub­lished.

If you would like to sup­port the Dick Potts Legacy Fund, visit www.just­giv­ing. com/ cam­paigns/ char­ity/ game and wildlife­con­ser­va­tion trust/ dick potts memo­rial.

Photo: Char­lie Pye-Smith. Dick Potts.

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