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Iolo's Street Life

If you missed the first episode of Iolo’s Street Life, it’s showing on BBC iPlayer for the next 24days.
Here’s the Link

The next episode is on tomorrow (Friday 27th) at 7:30pm on BBC One Wales so there’s time to get it on series link if you’re able.

For those that haven’t been following my blog over the last year, this series was my first time working on a major production, commissioned by the BBC and produced by Aden Productions. I was employed by Aden as a researcher and as a researcher, it was my job to ensure that everything on the day of filming was pre-planned to ensure we made full use of the limited days we had Iolo and the production team booked.
Not an easy task when you’re dealing with subjects as unpredictable as Wildlife and as you can imagine, to ensure things went perfectly on the day, it required many hours prior, sleeping in random hotels all over the country, staying up all hours monitoring cameras, laying camera traps, speaking with local people on the phone, at their doorstep, on the streets… Pretty much anything it took to get the knowledge we needed to film wildlife on the streets.
It was a great pleasure to work on the program and everyone at Aden was so welcoming, supportive and generally such a good bunch to work alongside. I mainly worked with Associate Producer, Osian Griffiths, who helped guide me in this new role, but I also spent some time with Kathy James who was also new to the role of Researcher but she had her own series to concentrate on called Iolo: Saving the Land of the Wild. A truly epic series that touched upon some really important topics we’re facing in this country at the moment so well worth watching if you haven’t already.

I probably should have took more behind the scene pics for my own memory sake but I didn’t want to be the one playing about with my phone on a major shoot. Below are some of my setups, some footage of which you’ve already seen of the Owls and Foxes but some that also didn’t make the cut like the Otters at Haverfordwest and Sparrowhawks in Michele Hughes Garden. For every one item you see in the program, we must of had 3 extra as reserves, backup plans, or items that simple didn’t meat the criteria in the final cut.

I must admit, the whole experience filming with Iolo and being such a critical part of the filming process, was such an honour, but I’ll be totally honest, it took a tole on my mental health, and all I’ve really concentrated on since then, was getting myself back on track, both physically and mentally. Very soon I’ll be co-launching a new community interest company called ‘In Our Nature’ with Veronika Brannovic. The company aims to improve wellbeing for people who suffer with mental illness, by utilising the power of nature and everything it has to offer. More about this on a future blog post.

For now, I hope you enjoy the program, please let me know what you think via the comments, on social media ect.

In the present, I think I just about made the most of the last bit of autumn sunshine I could get, getting some more time with the Brown Hawkers at Ebbw Vale and finding a very late Male Black-tailed Skimmer which usually peaks in June-July.

Something else I stumbled upon by accident was later identified by Steve Williams, was a possible Tufa Spring. - Read more about it here. I’ve seen this before at this exact location and I’ve mistaken it for some sort of pollution incident, almost ringing NRW to check on it too as there was a burn out car nearby and I’ve found random chemical containers up there in the past. If this is a natural Tufa Spring, it'll be worth examining the flora around the pond as there may be some rare plant life that usually associates themselves with calcium-rich waters.

An opportunity I cannot miss!

My time as a Seasonal Ranger has come to an end, with my last official day with them just yesterday. But why you say? You love it at Llandegfedd! This is very true, I do love Llandegfedd, and thankfully, my connection to Llandeg goes much deeper than a Job with Welsh Water, and that connection will never end. 

So what's next? Well, I've been offered a Job as a Specialist Wildlife Researcher for Aden Productions to help produce Iolo Williams' next wildlife documentary for the BBC. It's a great opportunity that I simply cannot turn down, and I can't wait to start with them on the 28th of this month. It will mean some extra travelling but it's well worth it, working alongside like-minded people, all of which share my passion for wildlife. I appreciate all the support from friends and family, as though this change is a good change, I still struggle at times like this as my anxiety can sometimes get the better of me. 

Below are four of my favourite pics from Llandeg last year. I'm sure I'll continue to have many more memorable moments at what is such a fabulous place for wildlife.  

Garnteg Primary School Meets GWT & Breaking Barriers

In my first Job with the Gwent Wildlife Trust we kicked off a new project called 'The hills are alive: with the sound of nature!). The aim of the project is to banish the idea that our uplands are baron and bereft of wildlife. We plan on doing this by teaching people of all ages how to record/interact with wildlife. Families and generations of people actually struggle to connect with nature with their children, unless of course it is as easy as visiting your local pond/lake where they often feed the ducks. 

This is the reason why GWT has invested in quality recording gear for the younger generation to actually use in the field so they can practise and see how rewarding it is when you put in that extra bit of effort. It is surprising the things we miss in our busy daily lives. We tend to move too quickly, both physically and mentally...

We have teamed up with a great company called 'Breaking Barriers' and between the two of us, we intend on creating a memorable experience for the children at Garnteg Primary School who so far have learned how to use the gear and have now started to identify some of the bird songs around them. Garnteg Primary School have great facilities to accommodate this project with their very own recording studio so my knowledge of sound and music is really being used to help make this project productive.

News Update (The Hills are Alive) (Llandegfedd Meeting)

 have good news! Last week I had a meeting with Veronika Brannovic from the Gwent Wildlife Trust regarding plans for a new project starting this year. The project will be called 'The Hills are Alive' (With the sound of Music!).. Those that know my background will at this point be quite excited for me as this project is pretty much tailer made! On that note, the outcome of the meeting was in fact a Job! Finally a Job that I can put all my knowledge with sound to good use. The Hills are Alive project has the aim to banish the idea that our upland habitats are baron land and bereft of wildlife and we will be approaching this from 2 different perspectives; Sound & Photography. My Job will be to teach people (mostly the younger generation) how to record the wildlife of our uplands. This is a huge task because the reason why people have this perception that the uplands is empty, is because the wildlife for the most part is very good at hiding. Not only that, the weather on the uplands can be quite extreme and even at the best of times, wind noise always plays a factor with sound recording. So, we have to approach it professionally and with the right equipment so the next step will be to gear up and prepare for everything. I'm very excited for this project to start! It will only be 1-2 days a week but that also means I can carry on with my current Job so win win. 

In other news, next week I have an important meeting with Welsh Water regarding Llandegfedd. The meeting came about after I expressed my concerns via email about the health and safety of both people and the wildlife onsite. In this email I offered a solution to solve all these problems and that involves bringing a Trust like the Wildlife Trust onboard to manage the ecological requirements at the North side. On that note, I saw the opportunity to invite Veronika Brannovic from GWT to the meeting also so that she could give factual information as to what the WT could offer if such a partnership commenced. I am super excited about this meeting and really hope that the outcome is beneficial for all and not just the narrow slopped path that Llandegfedd is currently taking. 

Newport Wetlands Job

I think it is safe to say now that I didn't get any of the Job Vacancies that I applied for at the Wetlands this year. Interviews are meant to be starting this week and I've not heard anything back from them. What a shame! Those Jobs were perfectly made for me. Ahh well, guess it wasn't meant to be. What with my driving starting next week and a possible car on the horizon it can only get better from here. Sorry for the lack of wildlife posts this Month so far, I've been ill and very busy with 4 school documentaries to produce and a lot going on at work. That said, the weather has been pretty rubbish for photography..

Iolo's Great Welsh Parks

Tonight on BBC 1 Wales a new series starts called Iolo's Great Welsh Parks, of which I feature on the very last episode in our very own park of Pontypool. I'm pretty nervous to see what the program turned out like as I really was nervous on camera... For now I'll enjoy the 3 episodes before.

In other news, I've now got a part time Job as a Web Developer for Evergreen Supplies in Newinn. It's not my ideal Job that's for sure but I'm really greatful to have it none the less and hopefully this will bridge the gap for long enough until I get the Job that I really want in Conservation. I have a meeting with the Gwent Wildlife Trust on friday in order to start volunteering which will also help me get the Job that I so desperately want in life.