Winner: Dr Mark Young
Mark Young is a skilled communicator who has inspired and mentored generations of lepidopterists, entomologists and general naturalists. As a Lecturer at University of Aberdeen from the 1970s until 2012, he taught many people active today in conservation. Whilst his commitment to student learning was unstinting, it is his study of moths and contributions to conservation, that really set his efforts apart from others.
Although a skilled all-round naturalist, Mark is most widely known as one of the UK’s foremost microlepidopterists. Mark served on the Council of Butterfly Conservation (2006-2015) and frequently chairs their meetings of recorders. He heads up the scheme’s Scottish Verification Panel and provides guidance for vice county records across Scotland in verification of records.
Mark’s activities have had real conservation impact. He has played an active role on the Scottish Government’s Advisory Committee on SSSI’s (1998-2008) and Biodiversity Science Group (Chairman, Biodiversity Lists Sub-Committee 1996 – 2010). He sat on the North Board of SEPA (1996 – 2002) and was a Council Member of Scottish Wildlife Trust 1978-1985; 1990-1997 (Chairman, Nature Reserves Committee 1990 – 1997). Mark has also been instrumental in recognising the imminent extinction threat of the UK’s sole remaining population of New Forest Burnet moth, in Argyll.
Mark is a prolific author and has been co-editor of the microlepidoptera review, published annually, since at least the 1990s. This report collates new verified vice county records of micromoths and is the main source used for distribution maps and for a national review of the conservation statuses of micromoth species (carried out in 2012). Mark also wrote the highly acclaimed A Natural History of Moths (1997) which expertly combined a scientific evidence base with highly accessible and entertaining language. He was also joint editor of Field Guide to the Smaller Moths of Great Britain and Ireland (Langmaid et al., 2018) and has had over 200 research papers published.
Mark is an inspiration through the commitment that he shows to the study and conservation of the natural world but even more than that, his collaboration and people skills enable him to achieve so much more.