Having grown up in the Welsh countryside surrounded by wildlife, I have always been intrigued by the natural world.
In July 2009, I went on a Field Studies Council course with TV naturalist Nick Baker, who first introduced me to the magic of moth trapping.
Shortly after this, I got my own light trap and began identifying moths in my garden.
As time progressed, I became involved with my local moth group and benefited greatly from the support of the Montgomeryshire county recorder, Peter Williams. As my knowledge of the common macro and micro moths developed, I began identifying more obscure micro moths through genitalia determination and searching for early stages.
I have been able to explore the county’s most under-recorded areas; producing tens of thousands of records and discovering over 100 new species to the county in the process.
In 2013, I took over the role of county butterfly recorder for Montgomeryshire and set about increasing the number of records and coverage across the county, producing a digital atlas to highlight the most under-recorded areas.
Meanwhile, I completed my GCSEs and A-Levels, and later went on to read Biological Sciences at Brasenose College, Oxford. I graduated with first-class honours in July 2017 (one of my proudest achievements, having come from an uninspiring state school). I continued my studies at Oxford with an interdisciplinary MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management.
In October 2018, I began a NERC-funded PhD at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) Wallingford. I am investigating the impacts of street lighting on moths. The project – which also involves Newcastle University and Butterfly Conservation - will entail fieldwork and DNA metabarcoding to construct ecological networks, as well as novel analysis of existing long-term datasets.