Tribute to Mark Crick

 

Our colleague Mark CrickWe are very sad to report the death of Mark Crick in March.

 

Mark was a key member of staff, based in the Surveillance and Monitoring team in Peterborough, but working across many of our areas of business and was known to many around the conservation community.  Mark died while swimming in Turks and Caicos, after a week advising the Department of the Environment there.  He was helping in the production of the first habitat maps for the islands, by advising on methods in a project using remote sensing techniques.  He was invited to visit the islands to help make the practical links between the maps and on the ground action.

 

Mark’s career started and stayed very much with a practical approach, always looking at how to make an impact for conservation and the environment.  His first chance, after doing an Ecology MSc, was to join a survey team, followed shortly by spells as a Wildlife Trust conservation officer, as a local authority ecologist and a period in consultancy.

 

His work at JNCC over the last eight years started with habitats advice.  He was a major driving force behind the UK’s Article 17 report under the Habitats Directive.  He was critical in making sure there were structured audit trails of the evidence used for each habitat and species, and these have proved invaluable ever since.

 

Mark’s in-tray in March was demanding, he was helping the agencies, DECC and Defra conclude on the peatland carbon flux research needs, details of which can be seen in this edition, he was advising Defra and the agencies on the outcome of research into the potential scale of impact of Phytophthora on biodiversity and ecosystems, and was close to completing research on one of his passions, ensuring that remote sensing techniques deliver far more for biodiversity than they have to date.  It took over half a day to assemble the list of Mark’s immediate working colleagues across agencies and departments, and the final tally was over 120 people – a measure of his great span of influence.

 

Mark was a caring, honest, hardworking person, with a tremendous sense of humour.  He organised field trips, using his local knowledge to get other staff members out of the office and into some interesting habitats.  He was very active in the local community in Stamford, where his family live, recently organising a ghost writing festival with the local arts centre.  Mark is greatly missed and it was a privilege for JNCC staff to work alongside him. He is survived by his wife Helga and sons Ben and Tom.

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