For scientific research and internal CPD skills development!

I am so pleased to finally announce that we have completed on the purchase of a substantial piece of land at Yarnfield Copse, Stone, Staffordshire (“YC”).

About 2 years ago, I announced at a company meeting that we would investigate the potential pitfalls and opportunities of some crazy idea I’d had–acquiring a crappy piece of land and returning it to nature. At the time this was top-secret and while opinions were banded about internally, we didn’t mention it to anyone outside of the company. We did this because acquiring land is one of a number of ‘big win projects’ that I hoped would propel our business one step closer to the goal: to be the number 1 career destination of choice–to attract and retain the best talent the industry has to offer.

Initially, I figured it was a great way to give something back to nature, and to give our consultants a ‘playground’ in which they could de-compress, switch off from doing conservation for the benefit of our developer clients, and just tune into whatever took their fancy. Conservation for conservation’s sake, and the pleasure that brings, kinda thing.

As the concept progressed, it occurred to me that building our own landholdings over time could have some extraordinary benefits, beyond the obvious. For instance:

We will advance science’s understanding. Our consultants could bid for budget and resources to undertake their own conservation related research projects at YC. They could then present their findings at conferences and aim to publish in peer reviewed literature.

We will maximise the potential of the landholdings by drawing up an ecological management plan, and execute the plan over time by giving our entire staff an extra 4 days paid leave per year to contribute to the upkeep and enhancement of the habitat quality at YC.

We will advance our Professional Training Series (our internal skills and CPD modules, delivered by company principal, Chris Formaggia, and new senior team addition, Julie Powell, our Technical Lead for ecology) by installing/creating habitat features that will hopefully allow us to train our people on a site where we know there are X types of habitat and Y species present. This is all the more brilliant, since we also also the riparian rights along a 200m stretch of the River Trent, that forms the western boundary of YC.

We will offer colleges and universities the chance for their students to undertake particularly challenging or interesting dissertation projects at YC, and possibly even help fund that research.

And all of this — it’s just the beginning

Over the next 5 years, we plan to massively expand the acquisition of our landholdings. We want to create and improve a wide variety of habitats, from meadows to lakes, upland to lowland, and everything else in between. I’m even on the lookout for somewhere with invasive and problematic species, much to Chris’ delight, I’m sure!

We will shortly update you with our full, fancy management plan for YC and some photos and video of our conservation efforts in action. In the meantime, if you have any ideas about what we could do with YC, or would like to become involved in a project, please do let us know in the comments sections below.

Until next time.

-R.