My name is Liam Olds and I am the founder of the Colliery Spoil Biodiversity Initiative. Growing up and living in the south Wales valleys, I have been surrounded by the legacy of the coal mining industry all my life. As a child, I spent many a day exploring old colliery sites. It was here that I discovered the wonders of the natural world, for which I’ve been enthralled ever since. Coal tips have had a huge influence on my life, essentially acting as my own personal nature reserve where I could learn and discover wildlife. This was when my love for coal tips began! Coming from a family of rich mining heritage adds another element to my love for these sites – after all, my forefathers created these tips!
My interest in wildlife developed from my childhood adventures on coal tips ultimately led me to pursue a career in wildlife conservation. Following the completion of my BSc Zoology (Hons) degree at Cardiff University, I was very fortunate to be offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to the study the biodiversity of these sites on a full-time basis as part of The Conservation Volunteer’s Natural Talent traineeship scheme – funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. The Natural Talent traineeship scheme aims to increase expertise across the whole of the UK to protect our less well known species and create awareness of the habitats that support them. Based at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, my traineeship focused on the invertebrates found on colliery spoil tips in the south Wales valleys. During the course of this traineeship, I undertook surveys on colliery spoil tips in Rhondda Cynon Taf to identify and record the invertebrates found in these habitats. It was from this traineeship that the Colliery Spoil Biodiversity Initiative was born.
Filming for ITV Wales News at 6pm (©ITV Wales) (video available at http://www.itv.com/news/wales/2017-06-07/how-old-colliery-sites-can-be-a-haven-for-rare-and-diverse-wildlife/)
Following the completion of this traineeship, I founded the ‘Colliery Spoil Biodiversity Initiative’. This not-for-profit project aims to raise awareness of the important biodiversity value of colliery spoil tips in an attempt to change the often negative public perception towards these habitats, ultimately aiding their conservation. Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council have been invaluable supporter of the project from the outset, and the principal funders for 2016 and 2017. Many thanks are sent to Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council for their continued support.
Thank you for taking the time to visit my webpage!