An outstanding contributor to natural history in Hertfordshire

The Society’s 1875 Award for an outstanding contributor to county natural history goes to Bob Reed in recognition of almost 60 years conserving wildlife in his home area of Sawbridgeworth and Bishop’s Stortford, including the reintroduction of Water Voles along the River Stort.

Bob, who was born and bred in the Stort Valley, is a retired science teacher. His many roles include being a Living River Champion for the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, in recognition of his efforts to safeguard the county’s rare chalk streams. He helped pioneer the re-introduction of Water Voles in 2015 and 2017 and is warden of the Sawbridgeworth Marsh Site of Special Scientific Interest. His achievements also include a successful seven-year campaign to have Pishiobury Park designated as a Local Nature Reserve and advising Sawbridgeworth Council as its ‘Eco-Auditor’.

A self-confessed gadget fan, he is the inventor of camera traps attached to floating motor boards that are used to monitor water wildlife and ‘Bob’s Bailing Box’ for stacking hay on ecologically sensitive grassland – a solution that has been adopted by other conservation groups. His car has been described by HMWT Living Rivers Officer Sarah Perry as "a moving museum of wildlife enthusiast paraphernalia" – full of mink rafts, trail cams, nets, lopper, scythes and other tools.

He is an amateur wildlife film maker  whose productions include  Bob’s Top 20! Invasive Species in the Stort and Voices in Conservation – a celebration of the valleys natural heritage and the people working hard to protect it. He also chairs several local groups including the Bishop Stortford Natural History Society, the National Trust coppicing volunteers at Hatfield Forest, the Friends of Pishiobury Park.

Accepting his award, Bob hoped his work would help people to better understand and enjoy local wildlife. “I have lived in the same area for over 70 years and thought I knew it pretty well. But doing the recent eco-audit for Sawbridgeworth was a revelation in terms of finding out what we have on our own doorstep. If I can only persuade people to take a walk, investigate and appreciate what they have locally then I’ll have achieved my aim.”