Danielle Kopecky
25 November 2020

IES Vice Presidents' prize winner announced

The IES Vice Presidents' prize is a University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) award that is presented annually to a student of an IES accredited degree programme based on their dissertation project.

We are pleased to announce that this year’s prize has been awarded to Wendy Ogden for her outstanding MSc research project ‘The contribution of Ecosystem Services Assessment (ESA) to the recognition of the values of nature: A case study Ecosystem Services Assessment of the former mineral extraction site: Bodenham Lake and Nature Reserve, Herefordshire.’ The prize includes a book token and one year's associate membership of the IES.

Wendy, who achieved an MSc in Environmental Management, was inspired to focus her research project on ESAs by the module 'Water management challenges for the 21st century’ led by Professor Mark Everard. Of her research project, Wendy comments:

“Many ESA frameworks include financial models for establishing ‘value’ but I was particularly interested in how the non-financial benefits of natural systems could be recognised (and thus better protected).

Using the RAWES approach (adopted by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands: the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources) as a model to establish the values provided by the site was really interesting and enjoyable. My study illustrated that what is meant by ‘value’ is highly contextual in respect of the reason that it is being sought, the evaluation methodology used and the users of the system being valued.  The study had a somewhat limited scope, but found that restoration of mineral sites for conservation has the potential to provide many public benefits (including positive mental health benefits often mentioned by study participants) which may be more usually associated with sites restored for recreation.

I hope that I may be in a position to further explore the use of ESAs in the future.”

Wendy is pictured below with her certificate.