Meet Our Clients… Army Ornithological Society

Published: 22nd Aug 2012 in Ethical Web Design

We are delighted to present to you one our latest clients, the Army Ornithological Society. We have recently launched their brand new website and it really has been a pleasure working with them. Below, Roger Dickey, the Society's Chairman tells us more about AOS' excellent work, enthusiasm for birding and their ethos.....

Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work.
It comes as a surprise to some people that the Army has its own bunch of Birders, and although the Army Ornithological Society can sound a little scientific, it covers a huge variety of interests and activities, all with birds at their centre.  Ultimately we are an informal conservation group with the understanding and promotion of birdlife as our focus whether that means bird watching, surveys, ringing or expeditions; there is something of interest for all Birders.  We support the national societies of the British Trust for Ornithology and RSPB, but also local wildlife organisations as well as taking particular interest in the birdlife on the Army's training areas across the country and abroad.    

Army Ornitholological Society bird ringing on Ascension Island

How is your organisation different to that of others in your field? How do you stand out from the crowd?
What makes us different is that we have to appeal to the modern soldier who want to be proactive and actually make a positive contribution to conservation.  We provide expeditions to places such as Ascension, Jura or West Africa where the emphasis is on getting out into the wild, finding and recording birds, and then ensuring that our data contributes to something worthwhile.  We provide information from ringing birds on the Training Estate, to surveys of some of our rarer species.  The main idea is we are an active society, serving and retired, who like making things happen and enjoy a challenge.

Who visits your website and what does the website provide for them?
We attract a variety of interests, from people who want to be part of what we are doing, to those interested in the more scientific aspects of our work, particularly the recording of birds in the UK and abroad and the detailed studies that we conduct on Ascension Island.  Many of the people who show an interest are not soldiers but conservationists who just want to know a little more about our work.

How would you say your work is ethically and / or environmentally responsible?
Being deployed across the country and indeed, the world, makes us very conscious of our carbon boot prints!  There is always something to contribute or to give back when deployed abroad and we have never let the opportunity pass to help with conservation effort from Canada, through Iraq to Afghanistan.  Similarly in the UK, a large number of our members use our work to contribute to the BTO and RSPB and to environmental studies liked to our training areas. 

What motivates you to do work this way?
Just a little of this work is self indulgent.  We all have a real interest in birds and the opportunity to mix work with such pleasure can't be missed. Add the fact that most soldiers and ex soldiers are well motivated, have the same work ethos and can be relied on to pull their weight and you have some pretty powerful birding teams.  That means that we make a positive conservation contribution as a team - motivation in itself. 

Do you see your work as part of a movement of ethical businesses / organisations?
We have two sister birding Societies within the Armed Forces.  Sometimes the competition is fierce but we are all similarly motivated.

Share your top 3 tips on how other organisations can work more responsibly.

  1. Consider the outcome before taking the first step - ambition and enthusiasm should support, not lead.
  2. Don't put a limit on moral courage.  Compromise is for others.
  3. Be very prepared to share your ideals.

How do you see the future of your work and what are you most excited about?
We would like to see others have the opportunities that we have had in shaping the environment and making a positive contribution to conservation, not just talking about it. This is why our new web site is so important to us as it will help us to reach so many more people that feel as we do.  The more people we put into the hills with binos, the better.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
If you meet the criteria, come and join us!

You can find out more about the Army Ornithological Society's website in our portfolio.

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