Taking over the role from Julia Henney after her six-year tenure is Dave Bartram, who has a long history of volunteering in the environmental sector and has assisted with the Guernsey Conservation Volunteers for the last 23 years.
Ms Henney, who was a previous member of GCV, was delighted when she was approached by Mr Bartram for more information about the role when it was advertised.
In his years volunteering for the GCV, Mr Bartram has shown a keen interest in helping manage the island’s nature reserves and coastal grasslands and using the herd is just another land management tool, albeit a little different to using sickles, loppers and rakes.
He has come from working in finance and has a history of managing people, as well as experience of coordinating volunteers and updating social media and websites, but one of the biggest areas he has to learn is managing large animals – the volunteers and the herd will help with this.
Mr Bartram said he is looking forward to the challenge and is already beginning to master the ability to reverse a Land Rover with a trailer full of steers.
‘This is an exciting opportunity and totally different to working in a bank,’ he said.
‘I have a lot to learn about biodiversity and dealing with cattle – the webinars I go on now are much different to ones about compliance.’
His role will be primarily focused on the welfare of the animals – ensuring they have enough forage, water, are safe and secure and that their husbandry meets animal welfare legislation.
The herd, which was established in 2014 consisting of eight Guernsey steers from local dairy farms, is owned by La Societe.
It is sent throughout the year to different parts of the island under the responsibility of the herd manager and landowner.
The steers are currently grazing a wet meadow off Gele Road, Castel.
Other tasks include arranging contractors to cut and bale hay for winter feed, helping to rear young calves, arranging the slaughter, butcher and sale of beef annually, which makes the herd financially sustainable, maintaining accounts, fundraising, applying for charitable grants, and promoting the work of the herd.
In the past six years the herd has encouraged the spread of rare flowers such as Deptford pink and musk thistle, rare butterflies such as the brown argus, and supported populations of bee orchids and pyramidal orchids and it is hoped that this will continue.