Jane Hodges, the renowned ecologist that won Alfred Toepfer Medal 2015

Jane Hodges awarded the Alfred Toepfer Medal at EUROPARC Conference 2015 © Jakub Kaspar

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Recently retired Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority Ecologist Jane Hodges MBE has been recognised for her work with the National Park Authority and her contribution to nature conservation.

Jane Hodges was recently awarded the prestigious Alfred Toepfer Medal for 2015 at the annual EUROPARC conference in Regensburg, Germany. This medal is awarded to those who have made a contribution to nature conservation in Europe through an extensive body of work.

National Park Authority Director of Park Direction and Planning Jane Gibson said: “When Jane started working for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in 1981 she was, for several years, the only ecologist working for the National Park.

“She became heavily involved with a wide variety of conservation initiatives across terrestrial and marine issues, and helped to lay the foundations of the very extensive partnership-working in conservation in the National Park.

“Today the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority is regarded as a major player in nature/biodiversity conservation and action and Jane played a major part in bringing this about.”

A defining moment in Jane’s career came about in 1996 with the Sea Empress oil spill. Jane was a key member of the environment team in the Response Centre and the also task groups set up by the Sea Empress Environmental Committee in the aftermath. Jane was appointed an MBE in 1999 for Services to Ecology in Pembrokeshire.

Jane helped develop partnership working with conservation organisation and initiatives such as the Local Biodiversity Action Plan Partnership and the Milford Haven Monitoring Partnership, which link conservation, port management and the oil and tanker industry that is so closely co-located within the coastal National Park.

Jane said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to have been nominated for the Alfred Toepfer medal by my peers. My contribution to the work of the National Park Authority and to nature conservation would not have been possible without the help and support of my colleagues within the Authority and its partner organisations, and this award is as much a reflection of their work over the years as it is of mine.

“The award is a recognition of the importance of the work of the National Park Authority and its partners in conserving habitats and species, for which Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is of European, if not global importance.”

A EUROPARC spokesman added: “EUROPARC was delighted to award the Alfred Toepfer medal to Jane Hodges MBE. Her service to the nature and landscape of Pembrokeshire has been exemplary, not just locally, but across Wales and she has truly added to the value of the nature of Europe through her work.

“In addition, her ongoing energy and support to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and other organisations, post-retirement, shows her dedication and commitment to ecology.

“It was a privilege and pleasure to welcome Jane and her cheerful contribution to our recent conference.  We wish her and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park well in the future and look forward to the ongoing and significant contribution of the Welsh protected areas in Europe.”

Issued by Janet O’Toole, National Park Authority Communications,