Mary Gillham Biography

Curriculum vitae  land army_files-1

Mary Gillham prepared this CV around 1980. Her academic career and extensive involvement in nature conservation are both impressive!

Name: Mary Eleanor Gillham
Date of birth: 26 November 1921
Address: The Cottage, Gwaelod-y-Garth, Cardiff
1933-1938    Ealing Grammar School for Girls
1938–1941    Millbank Technical Institute
1943         Bath Agricultural Correspondence College
1945-1950    University College of Wales, Aberystwyth
1950-1952    University College of North Wales, Bangor

1948         BSc Agriculture with Botany, Zoology, Chemistry
1949         BSc Honours Botany, Class 1
1953         PhD Botany: Plant and animal ecology of islands

Teaching posts held:
1 year, University College of Wales, Research demonstrator

August 1953 – November 1956
3½ years, Exeter University, Assistant lecturer in Botany

1 year, Massey Agricultural College, Massey University, New Zealand, Exchange lectureship in Botany

1 year, Melbourne University, Victoria, Australia, Exchange lectureship in Botany

4 years, University College, Cardiff, Staff tutor in Biological Sciences, Extra Mural Department

1968 – [Mary retired from Cardiff University, as it later came to be known, in 1987]
13 years, University College, Cardiff, Senior lecturer in Biological Sciences, Extra Mural Department

Other teaching and administrative experience:
Warden of women’s hostel, Massey College
Resident tutor in University Women’s College, Melbourne
Work in Girl Guide Movement as Captain and Commissioner
Occasional lectures to schools and colleges, natural history societies and other bodies in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Rhodesia, Nigeria, United States and Britain

Major research projects:
These have been concerned mainly with the interactions of plants and animals on remote coastal and oceanic islands, plus a few more general ecological studies, mostly coastal

Ecology of the Pembrokeshire Islands and of a representative series of other small seabird islands around the coast of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland

Ecology of islands around New Zealand (with backing from the British Council, N.Z. D.S.I.R. and University of N. Z.)

Ecology of islands around E., W. and S. Australia (with backing from C.S.I.R.O.)

Member of expedition to Antarctica (Macquarie Island base) with the Australian Antarctic Division in 1959-1960

Ecology of South African Guano Islands – with further studies through inland parts of Southern and Central Africa

Subsequent working visits to study wildlife (including reef life) of North and East Africa, Zanibar, Mafia, Latham and other islands off East Africa. 6 weeks in West Africa.

A Royal Society expedition member to Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean for 4 months in early 1970

A visitor to a puffin rehabilitation experiment off the coast of Maine at the invitation of the American Audubon Society in 1977

Visiting scientist responsible for botanical ecology of the uninhabited island of Little San Salvador in the Bahamas on an expedition in the sailing vessel ‘Westward’ run by the Sea Education Association of Woods Hole, Massachusetts, in 1979. This followed by work on other Bahamian Islands from the flamingo sanctuary of Inagua in the S. to Berry Is. in the N.

Research projects in South Wales have been concerned with learning more about the general environment of Glamorgan, Gwent and the Brecon Beacons National Park. Again emphasis is on coastal sites, which embrace all types of habitat, the aim being two-fold; for the acquisition of data  to pass on to extra mural classes in natural history and to gather for publications relating to the local scene.
A copy of ‘The Natural History of Gower’ is enclosed.

Others in this series are partially completed. The next to appear (hopefully) is an account of the coast of Swansea Bay, the Mid Glamorgan Sand Dunes and the Heritage Coast Cliffs. Another, well on the way, will deal extensively with the historic site of Aberthaw, the cliffs, and saltmarshes eastwards to the Wentlooge reen country and the Holms. Data is being accumulated for subsequent works on inland sites. Four chapters written for the ‘Book of Merthyr Tydfil’ are still in course of publication, but another, ‘The Historic Taff Valley’, written with a geologist and industrial archaeologist, has recently appeared. A number of booklets and semi-popular articles in the local journals have emerged from these studies.

Since entering the extra mural field the number of scientific papers produced has decreased, in favour of more popular, interpretive works for the interested layman.

Work with extra mural students has included a deal of field work, which has been greatly appreciated. Series of evening and day walks have been supplemented by weekend study courses, not usually further afield than Malvern or Aberystwyth, and week or fortnight stays centred in sites such as North Wales, the Lake District, the Farne Islands, the Norfolk Broads, Sussex, Cornwall, Somerset, the Channel Islands, the Scilly Islands, Aran Islands and the Western Irish seaboard, the Inner Hebrides, the Eastern Highlands, etc.

Overseas study tours have been predominantly in Europe: Norway, Andalucia, Corsica, Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Neusiedlersee, the Austrian and Italian Alps, and the Camargue.

Study tours outside Europe have included Jamaica, the Seychelles, Morocco, Kenya (and one currently in course of preparation to New England).

Involvement with professional societies:
Past president and council member of the Cardiff Naturalists’ Society; council and committee member of Glamorgan Naturalists’ Trust since its inception (currently chairman of S. Glamorgan area and scientific secretary of N. Glamorgan area).

Vice president of the Merthyr and District Naturalists’ Society.

Until recently, a member of the Brecon Beacons national Park committee and the Welsh committees of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Botanical Society of the British Isles.

Past council member of the British Trust for Ornithology and Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves, and past member of the British Ornithologists’ Union and the Institute of Biology, also the British Ecological Society.

Member of four county Naturalists’ Trusts, the World Wildlife Society, etc.

Reports of planning matters in relation to wildlife conservation are submitted as required to county and district councils, both in a professional capacity as an individual and as a representative of some of the foregoing bodies.

Publications: See separate list

War service:      4½ years in the Women’s Land Army

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