Back from the Brink is always on the search for interesting viewpoints on our work; the conservation, the species involved, the people etc.

We recently had a guest blogger from our Willow Tit project who gave us an insight into the life of a Willow Tit volunteer – a fantastic blog.

This month, we got in contact with Joshua Styles - a 22 year old, life-long botanist who is a practicing ecologist and recent graduate with a 1st class degree in BSc Ecology. His Twitter feed is always full of interesting trips, species and facts and he clearly has a real love for the natural environment and so we asked him:

Why is it important to you that we save species?
Here’s his response, from a botanical point of view:

“I think it is important to save species, or more specifically - rescue plants at the cusp of localised extinction - for several reasons.
First of all… Plants are amazing.
They are the fundamental basis of all life on earth and we rely upon them for so much - from medicines, to building materials, to food.
The loss of plants at a regional level is often a precursor to more widespread extinction events and so acting at a relatively early stage in a species’ decline just means that things can stick around for future generations to both study and enjoy, for the benefit of both the plants and ourselves!”

(c) Stephen Barlow: Oblong-Leaved Sundew (Drosera intermedia). A NWRPI species adapted to grow on often seasonally inundated areas of bare peat on both wet heaths and mire systems.

It’s fantastic to hear this from someone who clearly has such passion and drive to help the natural environment.

What does Joshua do and how is he personally having a positive impact on nature:

“As well as my day job as an ecological consultant, I operate a regional botanical conservation initiative for the most threatened plants across the North-West region (the North-West Rare Plant Initiative). This is an initiative that I had formalised by August 2017; its main aim is to secure the prospects of 49 of the region’s plant species on the very brink of localised extinction, employing well-justified re-introductory and reinforcement strategies. Plants are essentially sampled and taken into cultivation, then once a species is in sufficient numbers for any kind of introduction/reinforcement, they are then planted onto suitable sites; both sampling and introduction of plants is done with both the permission of relevant bodies and in accordance to existing IUCN guidelines on plant translocations.”

(c) Joshua Styles: Shepherd’s Cress (Teesdalia nudicaulis). A NWRPI priority species in the cabbage family.

(To view an overview of the reintroduction protocol adhered to by the NWRPI, go here).

We’re always really interested in showcasing a wide variety of thoughts around our work here at Back from the Brink.
It’s because of people such as yourselves, reading this blog, that we can have the impact that we do – without the passion and love for nature from people, saving species would be much harder!

If you happen to get involved in one of our projects as a volunteer or otherwise and would like to write a piece about your experience then please get in touch with Emma, our Community and Outreach Officer for Back from the Brink:
We’d love to hear from you.

Till next time…


Joshua Styles
Life-long Botanist

(With additions by Emma Burt Community and Outreach Officer for Back from the Brink).


Would you like to help this incredible species? There are numerous ways in which you can:

  • Why not volunteer for Back from the Brink? Check out our events page for opportunities near you.
  • Help us to spread the word of this species, and the others we will be helping over the next 3 years, by sharing our message across our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Follow us: @naturebftb.
  • Finally - help support the work we do across England by donating. Our impact will be greater with your help.

1 thought on “Saving species: chapter 2

  1. I am currently writing an opinion piece for Sociology Lens about my research with the Cornfield Flowers project (CFP) in North Yorkshire. I have had an open access article published about my results (see below), and still volunteer as a plant grower/ seed saver for CFP I’d be happy to write a blog entry or opinion piece about it for BFTB. If you’re interested, please contact me at the email below.

    Saxby, H. , Gkartzios, M. and Scott, K. (2018), ‘Farming on the Edge’: Wellbeing and Participation in Agri‐Environmental Schemes. Sociologia Ruralis, 58: 392-411. doi:10.1111/soru.12180

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