My Week: Graham Appleton, director of communications, BTO

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Monday - Up early to finish my redpoll piece for the Bury Free Press. Frustratingly, this would be the last time I would think about birds all day.

Work at The Nunnery, in Thetford, started with a phone meeting about our work in Northern Ireland and finished with a Lottery application to fund a national seabird survey, a partnership project using the talents of thousands of volunteer birdwatchers. I managed to squeeze in a swim at lunchtime.


My heads of team, Andy Clements (the BTO’s chief executive) and I met at Thetford Innovation Centre to plan the next year. We’ve increased BTO membership by 25 per cent but it is hard to maintain momentum for any charity in these challenging times. Good news at the end of the day, with a cheque for £10,000 from a member, responding to a personal plea to keep key research going this summer.


It was great to invite some younger scientists to today’s management meeting, so that we could discuss how to help to develop their careers and publish research. With so many pressures from funders to get work finished on time, it’s hard to clear space to think and write about science.


We forgot about the snow and thought about the BTO’s five tagged cuckoos, on their way back from the forests of The Congo. I pulled out of the morning meeting, to talk about making a short film about the project, but I chaired one in the afternoon to discuss where to find £60,000 for this year’s work.


Up early and off to Edinburgh for a funding meeting; if new forests are designed more thoughtfully we can make space for birds like cuckoos. I stayed overnight to chair a session of a national bird conference. Train journeys provide great opportunities to think; by the time I was back in East Anglia, on Sunday evening, I had devised a set of quiz questions to use on Twitter. Look out for them on @_BTO.