"Conservation through Research, Innovation & Education." Dr Sarah Beynon


A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME - DR SARAH BEYNON


Being brought up on a farm I have always had a fascination with the Natural World. I was given my first ‘bug box' at the age of 5 and have never looked back! The first time I broke a toe was by dropping a large boulder on it whilst building a Ladybird house on my primary school window ledge in St Davids! Things have changed very little since: I am still fascinated by Beetles and am still rather accident-prone!


 


As an undergraduate student at the University of Oxford, my interest in insects was cemented with a tour of the Hope Entomological (Insect) Collections by the superb entomologist (insect-expert) Darren Mann. Volunteering at the Collections gave me some of the skills I needed to actually go out into the field and study insects. It was at this time that I became aware of the diversity in form and function of insects and the their use as indicators of habitat health. After my degree, I set up an environmental consultancy business in Pembrokeshire, working with farmers and conservation organisations to deliver advice on habitat management for invertebrates.


Alongside the consultancy, I worked on a number of my own research projects around the World, before starting my doctorate at The University of Oxford, studying the impacts of agricultural intensification on non-target invertebrates and the ecosystem services they deliver. During the course of my research, I have had the opportunity to travel the world to follow my passion: I have led projects in countries including  Zambia, Bolivia, Brazil, America and Honduras.

Whilst I love my  work as a scientist, I am also passionate about education and the dissemination of that research. Therefore, instead of working as an academic at a university, I came back to Pembrokeshire to start-up Dr Beynon's Bug Farm Ltd and its business arm, Dung Beetles Direct. This way, I can do both: I still work as a scientist and ecological consultant, but also work with children, the public and farmers to enthuse people about Insects and make sure that my research is delivered where it is needed - to the farmers and policy-makers.

I am a full-believer in the power of television to get your message across to a large audience. Therefore I work as a television presenter and have been lucky enough to present for, amonst others, BBC, Channel 4, Discovery Channel, Channel 5 and Animal Planet. I also co-run the other family farm with my parents, where we farm 60 acres of pasture under organic management and in the Glastir Advanced agri-environment scheme.

 

In December 2013, I bought the original 100 acre family farm (Lower Harglodd Farm) from which to run the Bug Farm. The farm has not been farmed for the past 15 years, so we are currently busy with a programme of refurbishment to create a laboratory, education centre and wildlife-friendly farm. Also on-site will be a brand-new restaurant/food experience run by my partner, Andrew Holcroft, called Grub Kitchen...I wonder what will be on the menu?! The farm is a work in progress, so I am currently running activities from other locations, such as Oriel y Parc and with Thousand Islands in St Davids. However, they will soon move to the Bug Farm

We already have a full (and very exciting) programme of research running at the Bug Farm, which you can read more about on the 'Research' pages. We plan to open the farm as a public attraction by 2016 - we have LOTS of awesome plans!

Keep up-to-date with our news by following me (@drsarahbeynon), The Bug Farm (@thebugfarmUK) and Grub Kitchen (@grub_kitchen) on Twitter and 'like' our Dr Beynon's Bug Farm Facebook page.