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Earthwatch at 50: Kate Barlow's story

Dr Kate Barlow, was a passionate wildlife conservationist who joined Earthwatch as Head of Science and Engagement in 2015. Kate's great passion was for Bats, and before arriving at Earthwatch, she had turned the National Bat Monitoring Programme into a great example of how to achieve scientifically-sound volunteer-based monitoring.

As her job title at Earthwatch suggested, Kate knew that in addition to generating knowledge through data, we also need to inspire people to take action to help save the planet. She saw citizen science as a great way of achieving both of these aims and as a means of engaging a wider audience amongst the general public. 

Kate was instrumental in not only involving Earthwatch as a partner in The State of Nature Report – but also in developing exciting ideas and projects which could reach a wider audience.

At the time Kate noted “This is a good scientific report but is written by scientists for scientists and is mainly used by scientists, NGOs and for policy…If we want the wider public to support it and help us to improve the data in the report then we need to get them involved in ways that they can relate to, understand and get excited about nature”.

This led to the development of Naturehood – our community wildlife project, where people act together to save the nature on their doorstep. 

Kate died unexpectedly after a short illness aged 44, but her legacy lives on in those she has inspired to make the world a better place.

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