WHO IS BEHIND THE HUB...
Sally-Ann Spence is Berrycroft Hubs founder and the inspiration behind the many projects that go on here.
The concept was born after experimental archaeologist James Dilley (now Dr James Dilley we are very proud to update), based himself at Berrycroft Farm for both his student and personal research. He needed a base from which he could refine his knapping skills, start working with metals as well as expand and grow his own outreach and media businesses, Ancientcraft and Ancient Media.
Anyone who has ever lived with an experimental archaeologist will know they need a great deal of space and an awful lot of resources!
With the perfect match of enthusiasm, facilities and passion for educational outreach and science communication, it was not long before James ran his first workshop with Sally-Ann in 2014 and Berrycroft Hub was born.
The rest is history, as they say, and Berrycroft Hub has grown from strength to strength gathering a fantastic team of experts in their various fields delivering exceptional workshops in purpose built workshops and classrooms.
Sally-Ann herself is an informed and engaging science educator, entomologist, ecologist and farmer in her own right who has spent many years enthusing children and adults alike with all the wonders of the natural world. She also has a lifelong interest in humanities with a curiosity cupboard taking centre space in every room and several prehistoric sites on her farm.
Sally-Ann is a fellow of both the Royal Entomological Society and The Linnean Society and a council member of the British Entomological and Natural History Society. She was the principal organiser of EntoSci16, the world's first entomological conference specifically for Key Stage 4, sixth formers and college students held at Harper Adams University.
Moreover as an Honorary Associate of Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Sally-Ann is an active researcher, specialising in land management, biodiversity and eco-system functioning. She is a co-founder of the Dung beetle UK Mapping Project (DUMP), focusing on one of Britain's most endangered and yet highly useful insect groups. Her work with the DUMP project has seen her surveying field sites all over the UK including, and often focusing on, its many outlying islands including the Channel Islands.
This practical experience has been translated into a variety of collaborative projects working on sustainable land management plans within the farming community to promote dung beetles as important bio-indicators for soil, pasture and livestock health.
Passionate to encourage the next generation, Sally-Ann mentors many young people and has set up a network of fellow scientists to support and guide them in their various chosen fields. Keen to increase factual engagement with wider audiences, she writes a multitude of articles for magazines and also works as a consultant on various books including the Dorling Kindersley range and even on the subject of eating insects with the BBC's food scientist Stefan Gates.
Always game for adventure, Sally-Ann relishes challenges and can be found anywhere from 60 meters underground collecting the excretion of a sulphur eating microorganism to flying in a helicopter tracing fragmented habitats or driving a tractor on the family farm helping to get the harvest in.
Known for her media work on television and radio as well as presenting pod casts on natural history subjects, Sally-Ann also keeps her own native Wiltshire Horn sheep flock and looks after a Dexter cattle herd actively researching management plans for calcareous grassland restoration on the North Wessex Downs.
From talking about entomological subjects live on BBC Breakfast to working on prime time shows such as Channel 4’s Extreme Chocolate Makers, Sally-Ann has presented in front of camera both in the UK and abroad sharing her passion for the natural world.
Splitting her time between all of the above, outreach events and the many collections at the Museum, teaching in schools, lecturing in universities, speaking at conferences and at her own farm based research centre here in Ashbury village, Berrycroft Hub, Sally-Ann is an enthusiastic and inspiring advocate for education, connecting communities, sustainable agriculture, supporting young people and engaging everyone in our amazing natural world.