Meet the GWCT Wales Team

Lee Oliver Cymraeg

Lee OliverInterim Director for Wales

Born and brought up on the beautiful Llŷn Peninsula, North Wales, Lee is a first language Welsh speaker and comes from a farming community where his grandfather farmed sheep and beef. Lee lives with his family of three children and partner Alaw on the site of his grandfather’s farm in a house he built with his father.

Lee studied Environmental Risk Management at Cardiff UWIC. On graduating, he worked in boatbuilding and then spent time in South Africa working on cattle and game farms.

“Although I have shot all my life, my experiences in South Africa solidified my deep interest in conservation and game management. It also taught me the fundamentals of centrefire rifles and their use.”

On returning from South Africa, Lee began work with Keep Wales Tidy, with whom he worked for a total of 18 years.

“My work with KWT taught me the importance of working with volunteers to achieve conservation goals. Additionally, my work with schools also demonstrated that the same goals for conservation and environmental gain can be achieved much easier through educating the next generation.”

During his time with KWT, Lee was awarded a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship. His studies and travel took him to New Zealand where he studied the control and management of invasive species.

“Many of the methodologies I studied and used in New Zealand I have been able to apply in my work in Wales. My hope is I can still use these within my role with GWCT.”

“Shooting, fishing and particularly deer stalking are an important part of my life. I was brought up to respect any quarry and shooting has always been about providing food for my family. Conservation and environmental management sits alongside this as another passion of mine.”

Rugby has also played a major role in Lee’s life, playing for 20 years for local, county and North Wales teams. Now retired from rugby, his other passions are surfing and spending time with his three children and partner.

Owen Williams Cymraeg

Owen WilliamsGWCT Wales Chair

Owen is a countryman, wildlife artist and writer living in Ceredigion. Being a long-time supporter of the GWCT and its evidence-based approach to land management, his interest in woodcock pushed him to set up the Woodcock Network to encourage more ringing and study of woodcock across the UK. Through this initiative he worked closely with Andrew Hoodless and the GWCT research team, sharing his data and assisting with ringing and tagging of woodcock in Wales for their Woodcock Watch project. He also designed and conducted a scoping study on woodcock and soil health on his ringing sites in West Wales.

It was this experience that gave him an acute understanding of how much effort goes into fieldwork, and the subsequent delivery of peer-reviewed science that convinced him to accept the role of GWCT Welsh Chairman and become a trustee in 2022.

Despite his responsibilities as Welsh Chairman, Owen continues to paint wildlife and ring woodcock, and is spending an increasing amount of time writing on countryside matters, having been asked to be a regular contributor to the online countryside writers platform Scribehound.

Alaw Ceris Cymraeg

Alaw CerisFundraising and Membership Officer
Tel: 07494 476750

Having grown up in a rural Welsh-speaking community in the foothills of Eryri (Snowdonia), North Wales, Alaw has always been passionate about the environment and being active outdoors, with a keen interest in wildlife. Having studied Mathematics and Statistics in Cardiff University, she moved back up to North Wales to pursue a career in the environmental sector, working for Keep Wales Tidy for 10 years.

Alaw started with GWCT in October 2022 to support the fundraising committees; arrange attendance at major events (Welsh Game Fair, Royal Welsh Agricultural Show and Eisteddfod); lead on the communications work; membership; and support the GWCT Wales Team and director.

Now settled on the coast in Llanbedrog, Pen Llŷn, raising three children, leading the local surf club, netball club (as well as captaining her own team) and playground committee, there is plenty to keep her busy.

Julieanne Quinlan

Julieanne QuinlanCurlew Connections Project Manager

“Growing up in Ireland, I gained an immense appreciation for all aspects of nature and knew I wanted to pursue a career in the field. I started my career in South Africa and Namibia, working alongside anti-poaching units and reserve management before attending Bangor University where I studied my BSc Zoology with Animal Behaviour. My research primarily focused on understanding the large game interactions and vegetation heterogeneity in the fire-driven biome known as the Fynbos within the Cape Floral Kingdom. It was here where I deepened my appreciation for all things ornithology and botany.

“Upon returning to Wales, I focused on local nature recovery within the Welsh landscape, where I put my focus into a variety of projects, from meadow creation/restoration and heritage orchard creation to supporting the recently red-listed common swift across Conwy.

“Now calling North Wales home, I spend most days with my camera birdwatching, hiking or exploring with friends. As Project Manager for the Curlew Connections Project, I strive to make positive impact and a more resilient future for the Eurasian curlew in Wales.”

Katie Appleby

Katie ApplebyCurlew Connections Curlew and People Officer

“I am from Shropshire in England. I spent six months this year working as a monitoring officer with the RSPB’s Curlew LIFE Project in Northern Ireland. Building experience and knowledge of the Eurasian curlew, spending all hours of the day with them learning their habitats and behaviors. Seeing the first nest and chicks was a real high point. To then watch them grow and fledge made me fall for them even more as a species. I am excited to continue to work with curlew, especially in Wales, and having the opportunity to work with the GWCT and partners to reverse the decline of this incredible species is a real honor. I am ready to get stuck in and hopefully increase the success in this area.”

Matthew Goodall

Matt GoodallHead of Education and Advisor for Wales and NW England
Tel: 07741 902021

Matt previously worked as an ecological consultant, biodiversity officer and game management lecturer. He joined the GWCT in July 2018 as an advisor and has played a vital role in building the GWCT’s profile in Wales, working on our Welsh projects and undertaking advisory visits, biodiversity assessments, training courses and talks across the country.

James Warrington

James WarringtonProjects Officer

“I have grown up in Shropshire and have always been interested in the outdoors and spent many a day walking, cycling and volunteering in the countryside. I am a graduate of Harper Adams University, with a BSc (Hons) in Countryside Management. Initially working for the MOD as a Wildlife and Habitat Consultant, I offered SME habitat and wildlife advice for six airfields. Most recently, I have worked for the GWCT Curlew Country Project in Shropshire as the Project Officer. This covered all aspects of curlew conservation, ranging from monitoring, headstarting, nest protection, habitat work and farmer liaison. In my spare time I work with a youth organisation, leading various activities including walking, climbing and DofE expeditions.

“I am now extremely excited to be joining GWCT Cymru as Projects Officer.”

Jazz Elms Cymraeg

Jazz ElmsWelsh Student Placement

“My name is Jasper Elms. I was born and have grown up in North Wales. Having lived here all my life, I have developed a keen appreciation for its wildlife and natural landscapes. The rivers I enjoy swimming and kayaking in; the rocks are fun to climb; and the mountains are great for exercise. Growing up in the countryside, I am surrounded by wildlife. Every creature I see, from small voles to the great red kites, sparks happiness inside me and reminds me of my passion to protect their innocent lives. I am a second year Zoology with Conservation student studying at Bangor University, taking a loose approach to conservation and the many forms it comes in. I am willing to help nature in whatever way I can, and I am excited to work with the GWCT, with all their great researchers and staff. I am especially excited to start my conservation journey working with Welsh curlew.”

Elin Thomas Cymraeg

Agriculture and Conservation Officer

Elin Thomas“I was brought up on a farm in Llannerch-y-medd, Anglesey. My upbringing and my experiences in the agricultural sector have greatly influenced and inspired my unwavering respect for the industry. My roots have undoubtedly influenced me to pursue a career goal linked to agriculture. 

“I am a graduate of Bangor University with a degree in Biology. The focus of my degree was influenced by my interest in science, nature, conservation, and of course agriculture. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to integrate my passion for agriculture into my studies. 

“Of course, farming is a big part of my life, and as I am surrounded by a wealth of nature and wildlife here in Anglesey, the remainder of my free time is spent admiring this.”