Pittarthie CastleI have always been involved in conservation, working as an environmental educator, helping with fieldwork, development of resource material, first aid training of staff and with workshops in child and developmental psychology in South Africa.

I have been working with Patrick Bowden-Smith on a number of wildlife and wetland conservation and management projects with farmers and land managers in Fife and Central Scotland on a consultancy basis over a number of years.

Some of these projects looked at the use of ICT in conservation and land management, including data analysis, design and visualisation, which allows me to wear my other hat as well.

View a slide show showing some of the work A slide show explaining some of the workhere.

Patrick Bowden-SmithTed CarrPatrick Bowden-Smith and Ted Carr
are friends who I work on Land Management and Conservation projects with, under the umbrella of the Noblecastle consultancy.

Patrick is a highly successful farmer, conservationist, hydrological engineer and land management consultant. He has won numerous awards for his innovation in agricultural conservation and services to rural education and development.

Ted is a farm and estate management consultant and member of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He is based in Perthshire and works throughout Central Scotland and beyond.

Patrick doing blacksmithing instruction.Patrick has a philosophy of using past and current landscapes and practices to work with the land and the environment, while embracing appropriate technology. This approach is supported by continual research and promoted through a variety of educational activities.

Central to this is a “whole farm” policy which aims to develop and maintain a diverse, productive and sustainable farm that positively contributes to the conservation and development of wildlife and natural resources in the wider area, without detriment to the viability of the farming operation.

Laid hedgePatrick embraces a variety of constructions and management approaches, restoration and enhancement of bird, fish and other wildlife habitats, which do not impose an overly-heavy financial burden. He believes in "multipurpose management" where approaches serve more than a single purpose, for example using a laid mixed hedge as a field boundary, which not only forms the boundary, but also warms the field, provides a wildlife habitat and after some time will serve as a wood resource.

Gus FergusonResearch into appropriate the design and production of new machinery to fit conservation needs is a speciality of Patrick's. Careful trials, lateral thinking and a multi-use approach are key to ensuring that all activities on the farm have positive spin-offs and are not financially burdensome.

I have also been researching various aspects of conservation and land management with Patrick, such as water vole habitat identification, and particularly looking into the use of ICT in these areas.

Gus Ferguson

Last updated:
May 2017

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Gus Ferguson