Jun 04 2021

Livestock Monitor Spotlight: Gavin Thomas at Brynau

Gavin has been a volunteer with us at Brynau for less than a year and he’s already got multiple volunteer roles under his belt.


Gavin attended a public tree planting event at Brynau just before Covid hit in March 2020. He got talking to the site manager, Chris Matts, who encouraged him to pursue his long-held ambition to give some of his time to volunteering.


Although he felt nervous about putting himself forward for a role, Gavin went on our website and put his name down. Since then, Gavin has amassed three volunteer roles in total – livestock monitor, warden and woodland working group member – and he’s not looked back.


“Things just snow-balled once I realised I could do more than one role!”, exclaims Gavin.


As a volunteer livestock monitor, Gavin checks that the cattle are in good health with no obvious signs of limping or injury. He also assists if the cattle need to be gathered for a TB test or other inspection.


Photo of one of the cattle, courtesy of Sheila Harris.

“Gavin and the volunteers at Brynau are invaluable,” says Chris Matts the site manager, “Volunteers make us the organisation we are, our trustees are volunteers. On-site volunteers add so much vibrancy and depth to a project like Brynau.”


As a woodland working group member Gavin also gets stuck in with practical conservation tasks. “I love feeling like I’m doing something with real purpose, whether that’s clearing a drainage ditch or planting trees.” Says Gavin, “The volunteering has been really beneficial for my mental health, I see it as a sort of healing process.”


Having studied some Ecology modules at university, Gavin is really looking forward to further involvement at the site to monitor various wildlife including freshwater invertebrates, moths, small mammals and bees. “I’m also keen to see how all the newly planted trees settle in and how they change through the seasons.”


Chris Matts says, “Volunteers like Gavin are an inspiration. He gives so much energy and time to his volunteer roles on top of his day job. He’s really immersed himself in the project at Brynau.”


Brynau is not open to the public yet but you can find out more here: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/woods/brynau-farm/

Written by Martha Boalch VDO for Wales.

With thanks to Gavin Thomas and Chris Matts.

1 Comment
  • Sarah Shaw

    So glad you joined us as a volunteer Gavin! I’m looking forward to visiting Brynau later this year… hopefully we can say hi!

    June 4, 2021 at 3:48 pm

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