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The reluctant TV presenter: Iolo Williams, A Career

Iolo Williams, A Career

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!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing and outdoor
Iolo visiting local NWWT nature reserve ‘The Spinnies’ outside Bangor, 2019.

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.

Published by thegardeningzoologist

Emily Madeline Davies is the project manager of the only Student - Led Garden in Bangor 'The Healing Garden'. She works with the project leaders to deliver engaging volunteer experiences for students to maintain the garden. Her background is in wildlife gardening and zoology, by volunteering at the North Wales Wildlife Trust workshops and completing a comprehensive trainee-ship as a Conservation Ranger in 2019. She is currently in her third and final year studying Zoology with Animal Behaviour at University, favouring the conservation and practical management modules. Her current honours project is to investigate the effect of wind direction on the energetic expenses of bird flight, by using the controlled flights of homing pigeons - which hopes to be useful for the conservation of migrating birds in the face of climatic adversity. Her gardening experience includes completing a Horticultural Technician internship at Treborth Botanical Garden, whilst also being part of the Student's for Treborth Action Group committee. Her personal accomplishments include securing external funding for the Healing Garden from Kew Garden's 'GrowWild' initiative, in partnership with the brain injury charity ''Headway', to develop a sensory spiral flower border for therapy, recovery and mindfulness - free to use for the brain injury and local community. She also had considerable input designing the garden to accommodate and benefit the local habitats and wildlife using her experience working with the North Wales Wildlife Trust. With a knack for gardening and illustration, in her free time she paints in gouache for her natural history portfolio. Looking forward, Emily aims to graduate into a local job in habitat management, connectivity of urban green spaces (gardens) or native conservation strategy.

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