Community Champion: Liz Davies

Liz Davies
Llanrhychwyn, Wales

How are you using OPAL to make a difference in the community?

In children’s events in the forest and play days.

How did you first discover/get involved with OPAL?

Have worked with Bob Griffiths for a number of years previously when he worked as project officer for Cydcoed, a Community Woodland project. Bob worked with us to help us set up the woodland labyrinth, Caerdroia, in the forest. It was great to see Bob again after a number of years, when he came to see us in the Golyfa Gwydyr offices, when he introduced us to OPAL.

What do you enjoy most about using OPAL resources / what has been your favourite moment while using them?

Easy to engage children, and I learned something as well.

Which is your favourite OPAL survey?

Bug Count.

Where is your favourite place to enjoy nature and why?

Caerdroia Labyrinth Gwydyr Forest, because it’s magical.

What is the most interesting/unusual/beautiful plant or animal you’ve ever seen?

Cauliflower Fungus.

Who/what inspired you to work in your community?

My first summer job at 14 was working for a community group that made lunches for homeless children in the summer holidays. Then I spent the summer working with children in Belfast in 1978 taking kids from different religious backgrounds on outing together. I moved to North Wales in 2003 and helped to create Golygfa Gwydyr in 2004 and we’re still going in 2015.

What advice would you give to people who want to encourage their communities to get involved in science and nature?

We’re known for helping people, delivering a service or training and creating events in town and in the forest. In Golygfa Gwydyr’s experience it has taken a while to get people engaged, sometimes even years. We view it as planting a seed, and growth takes time. We never gave up on our core values and after 12 years we’re still here. People keep coming back to us for help and to help us, so we’ve done something right.

It’s always difficult to get money in to cover projects or wages and many times funders will not pay for salaries – so you really have to be someone of a generous nature to do this work, because most of the time as they say, ‘you’ll get your thanks in heaven’.

Any funny stories from working with a group or any moments that made you proud? 

Seeing reactions of attendees to any of our events we’ve staged in the forest.

About OPAL Community Champions

The OPAL Community Champions scheme aims to acknowledge the contribution made by individuals to the OPAL network, to thank people for their efforts, and to act as an inspiration for others.

Over the next few weeks and months we'll be profiling our Community Champions who are nominated by OPAL's team of Community Scientists from across the UK.