Castle Hill Ecology is an independent ecological consultancy run by Rachel Bates BSc (Hons) MSc ACIEEM, which sprang into life in April 2015 after a few years of working as a freelance ecologist.
Rachel now has over ten years of ecological consultancy experience, and is able to carry out a range of habitat and species-specific field surveys and produce high-quality technical reports. She has a BSc (Hons) Environmental Conservation, with her dissertation looking into the habitat requirements of the Purbeck Mason Wasp, and an MSc in Conservation and Forest Protection, with her thesis looking into sexual size dimorphism in UK bats. Rachel has Natural England Class 3 and 4 survey licences for bats and Class 1 survey licences for Hazel Dormouse and Great Crested Newt, is an associate member of the Charted Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), and is registered under the CSCS scheme.
In her spare time Rachel is a keen conservation volunteer, joining in with wildlife surveys and practical conservation management. Her main area of interest is bats and she is always looking to increase her knowledge and experience, both as a professional ecologist and as a volunteer. Rachel is an active member of the Cambridgeshire Bat Group, being the secretary and events coordinator, managing the website and social media, running bat walks and helping with trapping surveys, and carrying out static detector work for those members interested in finding out what species visit their gardens.
Rachel has previously joined bat research trips to several Greek islands, where the aim was to catch bats in the hand to identify them and record echolocation calls to compile a species list for each island, for the purpose of managing Natura 2000 sites. Islands visited include Ikaria (September 2014), Chios (May 2015), Kos (September 2015), Andros (June 2016), Lesvos (October 2016, June 2017 and May 2018), Naxos (October 2017), Lefkada (June 2018), Corfu (June 2019) and Evvia (October 2020). She has also seen various bat species on her travels around Vietnam (2017), Thailand (2018) and Laos (2019), where trapping bats with mist nets was permitted under licence.