Nicky Stanek



I spent my formative years on the family farm in southern England, surrounded by wildlife, crops and livestock. I began at university studying Languages at undergraduate level before realising that my heart lay elsewhere and moving to Environmental Sciences and Conservation. Since then I have worked as an ecological consultant, returned to school to do an MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial and spent the last 3.5 years working for a food and farming sustainability consultancy based on the Oxford University owned farm in Wytham on the edge of the famous Wytham Woods.


The continued downward trend in UK biodiversity, as documented in the most recent State of Nature report, demands a new approach to tackling species and habitat declines. Farmland makes up around 75% of the UK landscape, and is therefore an important focus for further research. This is even more pertinent in light of the imminent departure of Britain from the EU and the potential loss of stewardship subsidies. It also presents an opportunity for more effective investment in farmland biodiversity protection.

I grew up with farming and know how much pressure farmers are under to produce more food, at less cost, whilst minimising pollution and impacts on wildlife. I am Interested in identifying ways to support and increase farmland biodiversity that are practical, replicable & communicable, whilst avoiding compromising farmers scope to make a living and grow food whenever possible.


nicky(DPhil project title): Using Positive Deviance to identify and understand UK farmland biodiversity successes.

This interdisciplinary project uses Positive Deviance (PD) to identify the social and environmental factors associated with higher levels of farmland biodiversity than would be expected, based on the characteristics of the farm (e.g. which part of the country it is in, or whether the farmer is a member of a higher level stewardship scheme).


05.2014-09.2017     Environmental Consultant, FOOD ANIMAL INITIATIVE (FAI), Wytham, Oxford

10.2012-09.2013     MSc in Conservation Science, Imperial College London

05.2010 – 09.2012  Ecological Consultant, AA ENVIRONMENTAL LLP, Oxford

09.2007-05.2010     BSc hons in Environmental Science: Conservation Biology, Oxford Brookes University

Primary supervisors; Lindsay Turnbull (Plant Sciences),EJ Milner-Gulland (ICCS). Secondary Supervisors; Barbara Smith (Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University), Alfred Gathorne-Hardy (Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development, Somerville College) and Owen Lewis (Community Ecology Research Group, Zoology Department).

Funding from Ernest Cook Trust and Somerville College


Member of the Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management and the British Ecological Society

(2013) Dicing with Death? An evaluation of Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) flights and associated collision risk with wind turbines, using a new methodology. Imperial College London, Supervisors: Dr Aidan Keane, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Life Sciences (Silwood Park), Imperial College London, Dr Staffan Roos, Senior Conservation Scientist, RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, Scotland.

2014: Student Conference for Conservation Science, Cambridge England. “Dicing with Death: An evaluation of Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) flights and associated collision risk with wind turbines, using a new methodology”.