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AWE's batwoman educates children on the flying mammal

By day she is an AWE environmental advisor, but by night she cares for sick bats.

When Jo joined AWE she didn't know she would be able to combine her love of bats with her day job.

But that is exactly what happened because she had a skill set that the company needed - her bat know-how.

Jo Lucas

Yesterday, May 1, Jo took her enthusiasm for bats to Ashford Hill Primary School to try and inspire the younger generation to care about the adorable flying mammal.

AWE works actively with local schools to foster and inspire an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.

50, year one and two pupils were fascinated by Jo showing them three different sizes of bat poop, two dead bats and different bat detecting and surveying equipment.

"It has been really fun finding out new things about bats. I have learnt a lot of interesting facts". Pupil Ewan Fry aged seven.

"I have really enjoyed the talk and I especially liked seeing the little pipistrelle bat it was a lot smaller than I thought." Megan Spooner aged six.

There are seventeen known breeding species of bats in the UK, at least nine are found in Berkshire which means there are potentially lots of bat roosts across AWE Aldermaston and Burghfield.

Bats are a protected species under EU law. This legislation makes it an offence to impact a bats ability to survive. Essentially AWE needs licensed bat workers to help with permitting developments where bats may be present.

Bat workers are tasked with supporting AWE's on-site ecologist in surveying and monitoring potential bat roosts.

"I really enjoy my day job especially having the added layer of bat conservation. Bats are an extremely charismatic species to become involved with. There is still much to learn about UK bats and many questions remain unanswered for now. It is a rapidly developing sector with a very interesting network of people. These factors continue to make involvement with bats really rewarding." Jo said.

Jo's experience means that she can rehabilitate injured bats and release them back into the wild.

Last year she rescued a female Brown Long-Eared Bat who was found injured.

Jo was able to bring the injured animal home to recuperate. After a few weeks of feeding and watering the animal was well enough to be released back into the wild.

There are no current estimates of the number of bats at AWE.

Bats aren't very fussy animals and can fit in a gap small enough to hold two fingertips. This means they can turn up anywhere which makes Jo's role very important.

She added:

"AWE is extremely considerate of protected species. All developments are required to consider their impact on protected species prior to commencement. There are several known roosts onsite and numerous bat boxes which are monitored. The ponds and wooded areas in particular are hotspots for foraging bats and are likely to attract a variety of bat species."

Notes to Editors:

  1. AWE plays a crucial role in national defence by providing and maintaining warheads for Trident, the UK's nuclear deterrent
  2. AWE is contracted to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) through a Government-owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) arrangement. Whilst our sites and facilities remain in government ownership, their management, day to day operations, and the maintenance of the nuclear stockpile is contracted to a private company AWE Management Limited (AWE ML). AWE ML is a consortium comprising three equal partners: Serco Group plc, the Lockheed Martin Corporation and Jacobs Engineering Group.
  3. AWE press releases are available on our website: www.awe.co.uk<http://www.awe.co.uk>. For further information contact Media@AWE.co.uk – Tel: 0118985588
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