Graham Smith

Graham Smith
Project Officer – Polli:Gen

“Being told I was ‘the best pollinator ever!’ by one child has to be one of my favourite moments from those first sessions. Hard to top that for a compliment!”

About Graham

When did you start working for LtL and what does your job involve?

I joined the LtL team in March 2021.

I am a Project Officer for Polli:Nation for the Next Generation, focussing on curriculum, resource development and in-person delivery to 7-14 year old pupils and communities around Leicester city. By working towards an inspiring pollinator-focussed curriculum I and fellow project officers have the very exciting aim of making Leicester one of the most pollinator-friendly cities in the UK. We will be supporting in the implementation of changes to school grounds and beyond, equipping pupils, teachers and communities with the knowledge and skills to maintain these changes far into the future!

The 3 experiences that have best equipped you for this role?

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I have a deep love of insects with an MSc in Entomology from Harper Adams University. In my spare time insect identification and habitat surveying has given me an increasing appreciation and understanding of the natural world (and a recent obsession with wildlife gardening!). My work has focussed on solitary bees in orchards and habitat surveys for glowworms in Sherwood forest, but I will take to anything with six legs! The Dor beetle on my face in the photo above illustrates this point a little too well.

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My time with local and regional nature organisations such as Loughborough Nat’s, FSC Youth Council and Leicestershire Wildlife Trust have each attuned me to the needs and views of various groups. Throughout I have developed an awareness of various ages and stages of understanding, confidently conveying my existing knowledge while (importantly!) maintaining an open curiosity. I am always eager to learn more! An appetite which serves me well at LtL.

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I have had some formal experience of two half year modules on photography at the University of Nottingham, but – mostly as a hobby – I cannot get enough of macro photography and like to dabble in some graphic design work! Tying in an evidence-based mindset from my research background has been of great use in preparing resources and survey methodology while keeping them as user-friendly as possible! The real takeaway here is that I come pre-packaged with a mountain of insect photos.

Graham’s LtL Experience

What has been your best day at LtL and why?

My best day at LTL so far was more like a few days in succession! It was when I began delivering to pupils for the first time. Their curiosity and eagerness to throw themselves into collecting minibeasts, asking questions and most endearingly telling me of their stories from home of the spider they saw last week, or the ladybird they wanted to keep as a pet was wonderful. Being told I was ‘the best pollinator ever!’ by one child has to be one of my favourite moments from those first sessions. Hard to top that for a compliment! My face returns to a massive smile and I feel so fulfilled whenever I think about these little interactions.

camera and barefoot running shoes

Why a camera and barefoot running shoes?

A bit of a cheat here! I love running in nature spots as it gets me into such a good headspace, hence the barefoot running shoes. However, I also suffer with the problem of stopping to investigate any and all creatures while on the move and desperately wanting to take a photo of them! My love of both causes an ever-challenging rift whenever I leave the house – walk with camera or run without! A marriage of the two would be a perfect, when the time comes that someone can install my DSLR into my body that would be a game-changer.

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