I’m Hannah Mintram, relatively new in post as Assistant Conservation Group and Sanctuary Officer. I work in the DIO Conservation Team based at Westdown Camp on the edge of Salisbury Plain, the largest military training area in the UK.
My colleagues and I cover a wide range of areas where the MOD has statutory obligations to fulfil, including ecology, archaeology, and forestry, as well as access and recreation. It’s an interesting place to work and we’re all passionate about what we do whilst striving to integrate military activity within the Defence estate.
As my title suggests, my role mainly focuses on two areas – the MOD's Sanctuary magazine and providing support to Conservation Groups.
Some 120 Conservation Groups operate across the MOD estate, including sites overseas such as Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands. These groups are made up of various parties including military personnel, Non Government Organisations, subject experts, land owners and industry partners, and meet up regularly to discuss site issues.
Although training is the main use of its land, the MOD has an obligation under UK and international law to manage the Defence estate sympathetically for the benefit of nature conservation and archaeology. Conservation Groups carry out essential work to protect and enhance these areas of the estate while helping to put into practice important management plans.
Sanctuary magazine celebrates its 40th anniversary next year. It’s a fantastic collection of articles highlighting collaborative projects that not only support the Armed Forces to work, train and deploy, but also deliver huge benefits to nature and historic conservation, energy saving and sustainability. I work closely with the editor to commission articles and internal Subject Matter Experts to ensure the content is correct before publishing.
To coincide with the launch of the magazine, which this year will be on October 14th, we also hold the annual Sanctuary Awards in London. These represent an opportunity for the MOD to recognise and encourage both group and individual efforts in all areas of sustainability. The nomination deadline has now passed for this year and so we are now busy planning for the awards ceremony.
As I settle into my role I hope to connect with more groups and offer support, guidance and act as a link between the group and the wider conservation team.
Look out for the 2014 addition of Sanctuary coming out in October.