Our Trainers

BTO are fortunate to have a team of superb trainers. All our courses will be taught by someone who understands the challenges of bird identification and doing structured surveys. We all have experience with this as volunteers and, in many cases, as professionals as well.

Our team – consisting of BTO staff and some carefully chosen external trainers – are all BTO volunteers and have a huge amount of experience training and doing bird surveys. Between us, we offer courses and workshops on a range of subjects, online and in person.

To find out more about the individual trainers, read our mini- biographies below.

Nick Moran

Nick taught Biology at secondary schools in Suffolk, Shanghai (China) and Abu Dhabi (UAE) from 2000 to 2009, when he then joined the BTO Surveys team as BirdTrack Organiser. After eight years working with birders, data users, partner organisations and colleagues throughout BTO, Nick was appointed Training Manager. This is providing a perfect opportunity for him to combine his life-long interest in birds with his own background in education, and passion for helping others to develop their birding and surveying skills

See Nick’s BTO staff page for more info.

Jenny Donelan

Jenny has previously taught university-level students in Norfolk (2016-2020), which involved teaching a wide variety of subjects from statistical modelling and extracting DNA to field sampling, bird ringing and taxonomy. This ignited Jenny’s passion for teaching and enthusing others, and after a few years working for conservation NGOs and as an Ecological consultant she accepted a role with the BTO (2022). This role provided her with the perfect opportunity to combine her love of birds with her passion for teaching others and inspiring them to develop their confidence in birdwatching and surveying.

See Jenny’s BTO staff page for more info.

Kate Fox

Kate joined the BTO Training Team in 2023 after graduating in Zoology. She is a keen birdwatcher and ringer, and enjoys taking part in BTO surveys such as BBS and WeBS. Alongside her studies, Kate organised events for students to help them develop their skills and open their eyes to the wonder of out birds, such as bird walks, WeBS training sessions and a community BioBlitz. She has also been a Youth Representative for the BTO since 2021, helping to organize and run events for young people, such as the free Birding 101 virtual training series and BTO Bird Camps.

Kate has also gained practical experience through volunteering as a fieldwork assistant on Blackcaps and Tits in Cornwall, time spent helping at Bird Observatories, and completing a practical reserve management placement at WWT Slimbridge.

See Kate's BTO staff page for more info. 

Ben Darvill

Born to naturalist parents, Ben's childhood was spent knee-deep in ponds, chasing lizards or visiting local birdwatching sites with his father. As a lifelong birder, Ben was delighted to join BTO in 2012 following a degree in Zoology, PhD and several years running the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Ben is a good birder, though like most people still gets stumped occasionally by tricky warblers and waders - the learning never stops. Ben believes birding skills should make a positive difference and participates in the Breeding Bird Survey, WeBS and BirdTrack plus other annual surveys such as House Martin and Woodcock. Ben is also heavily involved in monitoring birds of prey.

See Ben's BTO staff page for more info.

Steve Willis

Steve joined the BTO Scotland team in spring 2020, having already been an active volunteer with various BTO surveys and schemes. Steve previously worked as a Countryside Ranger and then on some species-specific conservation projects. Many of these relied on volunteer input, allowing Steve to learn more about training and helping volunteers gather valuable data for conservation. Steve got more into birding from his mid-20's and knows the learning process- with all its highs and lows- well! Steve is always keen to help people develop their skill, experience, and confidence with bird identification.

See Steve’s BTO staff page for more info.

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