During his 2018 seminar at Pontio Bangor, the lecture theatre was packed with the hum of excited naturalists, horticulturalists and students from the University.
‘Iolo Williams tells the story of how he went from being a young naturalist growing up in mid-Wales to working for the RSPB and finally, to being a reluctant television presenter. The army, grizzly bears and mountain gorillas all make an appearance as do a whole host of other characters.’Event description
Iolo presented an illustrated review of his career, highlighting most importantly that it was not planned, straight forward or predictable!
He gave solid advice to future graduates, ‘to not plan a solid future.’ Instead he emphasised the importance of being fluid, adaptable and say yes to unexpected opportunities.
His career perhaps became the secondary topic to his presentation, the first being the absolute crisis of UK Wildlife. I remember the heartfelt concern he communicated to the audience, who reflected his emotions in a responsive hum.
The audience was saturated with wildlife enthusiasts, who knew all too well the crisis habitats, population, and the climate faces. However, instead of delivering a sombre message about the situation, Iolo created a wonderful atmosphere of hope and action.
He encouraged and emphasised how important it is to care, and keep on caring in the face of political and social adversity. His message was strong, that as long as people in society care about conservation, the environment and creating positive change – Iolo would not give up working towards a better future.
Iolo explained that his only tangible career aspiration as he entered the working world, was that he wanted to make a positive difference for Britain’s wildlife. He absolutely reiterated that TV was never an end goal!
I learned that his roots were humble, working with the North Wales Wildlife Trust, a workplace I am already familiar with, I was pleasantly surprised to find he is still close friends with our CEO, Frances.
Iolo then worked for RSPB surveying, liaising and within habitat management, until he was asked to present a short television segment, the rest is history!
It was enlightening to learn that his roots are similar to what little roots I already have. I am not aspiring to become a TV personality, but I appreciate how truly accessible and welcoming the field of environmental conservation is in the UK.
Graduate jobs within conservation are competitive, but this is only due to the underfunded nature of charities, the workplace itself is in fact the most accommodating I have ever been welcomed into.
The hopeful atmosphere of the shared concern at this talk is definitely what impacted my thoughts about a career in conservation. It provided me with the drive to continue working towards the inspirational goal to make Britain’s wildlife sustainable again.
Especially during current events which include the burning Amazon, the dismal state of nature report and political adversity – I value most knowing that there will always be a community of like – minded people who can provide true direction and aspiration for young graduates.