The IES team
16 December 2020

'Twas the night after Burntwood

As we approach the end of 2020, our team have taken inspiration from one of the oldest and most popular Christmas poems, "'Twas the night before Christmas", to reflect on our successes over the past year, and to say a massive 'thank you' for your contribution to our work throughout what has been a difficult time for many. For us, our annual Burntwood Lecture, held this year on the 3rd December, marks the beginning of the festive season, and so we bring you our take on this classic poem.


‘Twas the night after Burntwood, when all through the IES 

The team was abuzz with the joy of success. 

Invitations dispatched to all in the sector  

To hear Professor Jim Skea deliver this prestigious lecture. 

The clock read 7 as the audience spilled onto Zoom, 

Eager to listen and engage with the room. 

Coherence of scientific messaging the topic of the day, 

The need for greater collaboration and discussion a mainstay.  

Discussing approaches to addressing climate and biodiversity crises, 

It became clear that we need a variety of devices. 

The audience and respondents joined the conversations,  

Debating the role of policy and technological innovations.    

As the evening drew to a close, we looked ahead to next year: 

Our STAGES to COP26 which a new community will steer.  


Reflecting on the current year and achievements to date, 

Four journal editions: conflictecosystemseducation, and waste

Four guest editors each oversaw an edition,

With 83 authors providing a submission.  

Membership services increased, despite the pandemic, 

Events, debatesanalysis on topics, technical and systemic. 

The Land Condition Symposium provided insights on remediation, 

And we held 36 webinars on topics from air quality to seagrass restoration

In response to COVID-19, we ran a series of forums  

Addressing challenges in the transition to the ‘new normal’. 

A busy year for our communities it’s been,  

Discussions on topics - land condition, EIA, and marine,  

And a new community launched for EIA professionals, 

Providing space for debate on future trends and fundamentals


We provided responses to four consultations,  

And supported others to ensure they met expectations. 

Our policy positions, which we sought to expand, 

Were developed with a report on soil and land

And we set out our calls for a green recovery

Which could be as simple as ABCDE


We continued our work with universities, 

Supporting them as they adapted to current adversities. 

And with more accredited programmes than ever before, 

We ensured graduates gained the skills employers look for. 

We launched two initiatives for our student members too: 

A blog series and ambassador scheme, both brand-new.  


We led by example and pledged to net zero 

To reduce our emissions and make sustainability our hero. 

We’re using our network to address the diversity gap

With projects to launch next year and a plan to map 

How we can understand each barrier and break down each wall 

To truly make environmental science a sector for all. 


With five new staff members all joining remotely,  

We adapted our ways of working to stay connected closely.  

Despite the distance we have formed a strong team 

Working together to maintain our work stream. 

To two of our team, we have said a farewell, 

We wish you success and know you will excel. 


Memories awash of the year that has passed, 

Difficult times for many and a long shadow cast. 

Despite this great strain, our membership grew, 

And a successful year for our sister organisation, the IAQM, too:    

The first indoor air quality conference held virtually in June,  

Bringing practitioners together via Zoom. 


So, as we look back, we pay tribute to you, 

Our members and contributors to name but a few.  

We want to say ‘thank you’ for your membership this year,  

In 2021, we will continue to support your career. 

We pledge to keep environmental science in the spotlight,

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight! 


The IES staff and trustees would like to wish all of our members season's greetings and all the best for a prosperous New Year.