The Darwin Ecology Team
We're an independent ecology consultancy.
We help our clients – which include planning consultants, local authorities, architects, homeowners and individuals – get planning permission for their projects and enhance biodiversity in the process.
We've grown gradually and sustainably since 2009, mainly because we're great at helping people with unique ecological problems – not to mention our glowing recommendations, close client relationships and our hands-on work ethic.
Our ecologists are friendly, experienced and CIEEM-registered. We deliver accurate surveys with a human touch, as well as mitigation services, ecology reports and protected species licences to help keep your planning applications on track.
We also apply the right levels of effort and mitigation to each situation. Every project is different, and we know how to spend your time and money wisely – whatever the circumstances.
If you need an ecologist for a current or upcoming project, contact the team today.
Meet the team
Michael Cummings BSc (Hons) MSc MCIEEM
E: [email protected]
Darwin Ecology Ltd. was founded in 2009 by experienced Ecologist and Conservationist Mike Cummings. Mike has worked in the Ecology sector in the UK and internationally for nearly 20 years in a diverse range of roles including SSSI Management with the National Trust and as an Officer for Countryside Management with Surrey County Council. For the last 12 years, Mike has focused upon commercial consultancy work and building the Darwin Ecology business.
Mike’s strength is in bridging the gap between ecological theory and practical implementation on site to provide effective ecological solutions for all types of development. His experience of project managing a broad spectrum of projects from individual dwellings to larger scale residential and commercial development allows him to provide the most suitable advice to clients based on the clients budget, time and site constraints whilst providing appropriate mitigation for the species concerned.
Mike holds a Class 2 Bat Licence, is a registered consultant for the Bat Mitigation Class Licence and holds survey licences for Great Crested Newts and Dormice. He has held and implemented numerous European Protected Species Mitigation Licences for these species. He is also trained in aerial rescue and is a skilled tree climber and has specific training in inspecting trees for bat presence/absence.
Mike also leads the design and implementation of specialist ecological landscaping schemes. He is skilled in enhancing or modifying a site to achieve the optimum conditions and requirements for all species and habitats concerned. Mike is adept at both project management and on-site delivery of practical species mitigation, habitat creation and habitat management.
Olatz BSc (Hons) MSc ACIEEM
Principal Ecologist – Bristol Office
Olatz is based in our Bristol office and has over ten years of professional experience in the environmental consultancy sector as well as in nature conservation organisations. Olatz possesses English and Welsh survey licences for bats and great crested newts and is an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.
Olatz specialises in bat surveys and preliminary ecological appraisals, but has a broad range of ecological experience, including protected species surveys such as reptile, great crested newt, water vole, badger, reptile/water vole/newt translocation, mitigation design, EPS licensing, hedgerow surveys and ECoW. She is experienced at mapping using QGIS and has extensive project management experience ranging in size and type, both in the UK and abroad.
Outside of work, she enjoys trail walking and live music gigs, although you’re more likely to find her at children’s swimming lessons or playgrounds.
Amanda BSc (Hons), MSc, ACIEEM
Senior Ecologist – South East Area Manager
Amanda graduated from the University of Reading in 2015 with an MSc in Species Identification and Surveying Skills and has been progressing in the ecology sector ever since. During her time in the industry, Amanda has focused on developing key skills in all areas of Ecology and identifying personal strengths in project organisation and team management. She has had exposure to a spectrum of projects, ranging from small-scale private clients to the delivery of data for large infrastructure developments.
In recent years Amanda has gained Class Licences in Great Crested Newt (Level 1), Barn Owl (Level 1) and Bats (Level 2), attained a certification as a Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) and has even dabbled in tree climbing and aerial rescue. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys assisting local carers in Berkshire by ‘batsitting’ educational bats, and she can frequently be found wandering the beaches of her native environment of Cornwall.
Jessie BSc (Hons)
Consultant Ecologist – South West Office
Jessie joined Darwin Ecology in 2020, coming to the field of ecological consultancy from a background in outdoor and environmental education. She holds an honours degree in Zoology and a PGCE and has spent many years volunteering in the wildlife conservation sector, from conservation in Greece to being an active member of her local mammal group.
As a proud generalist, Jessie has a wide range of interests within ecology and conservation. Applying her experience of wildlife monitoring projects, she has rapidly become skilled in undertaking protected species surveys for bats, reptiles, great crested newts, badgers and dormice. She is looking forward to contributing her experience of habitat management from her work on nature reserves to projects with Darwin Ecology, and in turn, further developing her skills in habitat creation and restoration.
With years of experience as a strategy coordinator within the education sector, Jessie’s skills in report writing, assessment and evaluation lend themselves to the broad scope of project work undertaken in her role at Darwin Ecology. She has gained experience in high-level inspections, preliminary environmental assessments and bat sound analysis and is a Qualifying member of CIEEM. She is currently working towards Level 1 Class licences for bats, great crested newts and dormice.
Outside of work, Jessie continues to volunteer with local wildlife recording groups and is an enthusiastic long distance trail walker and climber. She has several foundling animals who have adopted her including a partridge named Bertie.
Libby BSc (Hons)
Licensed Ecologist – South East Office
Libby joined Darwin Ecology in May 2021 after graduating with a 2:1 degree with honours in Biological Sciences (Zoology). She started as a Seasonal Ecologist and has worked her way to Ecologist level, and in September 2023 was granted her Class 1 Bat Licence.
Libby manages a variety of projects in the southeast, from homeowner extensions to large estate sites, and takes a pragmatic approach in her management which meets the client‘s needs without jeopardising the ecology of the site. Libby is becoming a proficient bat ecologist and assists in all stages of bat-licensed projects including supervision and recreation of bat roosting features on buildings. In addition, Libby handles projects with other protected species present including reptiles, great crested newt and badger.
Outside of work, Libby volunteers with her local nature reserve where she puts her practical skills to use by completing woodland and heathland management tasks.
Nathan MSc (Hons)
Nathan started as a seasonal Assistant Ecologist at Darwin Ecology in 2022 but became a full-time member of the team at the end of the season. He holds a 2:1 Master’s degree with honours in Conservation in Practice, graduating from the University of the West of England. Through this course, he learnt many different skills, including a range of practical survey techniques, and specialist software skills valuable to ecological work.
Prior to working for Darwin Ecology, Nathan worked and trained in horticulture, working on a wide variety of landscaping projects, gaining valuable skills to help on various Darwin Wildscape projects.
Nathan has taken part in many different conservation and ecology projects across the globe, including studying and monitoring turtle populations in Costa Rica; a breeding programme to bolster the population of the critically endangered Spiny-tailed iguanas in Honduras; studying the habitat preferences for amphibians in Madagascar; and a research project on bees and their relationships to wildflowers in Bristol UK. Taking part in these projects has given Nathan a passion for conservation and ecology, and he wants to transfer these skills to help him progress into becoming a proficient ecologist and helping to conserve and protect British wildlife.
During the season Nathan is fully submerged in Phase 2 surveys for reptiles, badgers and dormice as well as bats and great crested newts for which he is working towards his Class 1 Licenses.
E: [email protected]
Aoife has been a core member of the Darwin Ecology team since 2013. She loves heading out on site to undertake Preliminary Ecological Appraisals, badger surveys and bat surveys with Mike. She is especially proficient at finding hedgehogs during nocturnal surveys.
When in the office, she keeps alert for visitors and always lets the team know when another dog is passing by.
She can find a ball in almost any situation and helps everyone to relax by demanding some play time!
Established in 2009 – the year of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday – our name pays homage to the grandfather of ecology.
Darwin Ecology’s purpose is to help stop biodiversity loss in Great Britain. We're pursuing this by promoting understanding, and through the integration of wildlife with modern society and infrastructure.
Our logo is the maidenhair fern, Adiantum capillus veneris – a British native species occurring in Southern England. Often found growing on old stone walls and buildings, this plant symbolises nature's integration within the built environment.