Peri, 24, is the Engagement Assistant at the Cymdeithas Eryri / Snowdonia Society, where she combines forms of education with her love of art and the outdoors. Peri began her journey with no experience in the conservation sector and now aims to continue making an environmental impact on Eyri National Park, with dreams of a creative and confident future.
Photo of Peri Smith

Peri felt a lot of uncertainty surrounding career paths after school and the options for her future seemed limited. After finishing an art foundation course, Peri worked in outdoor centres as a trainee, but was looking for something more structured, that would help the environment, and accessible without a degree. New to Nature ticked all of these boxes.

As a painter, Peri has found inspiration in the vast mountains of Eryri National Park. But her art blends well across all aspects of her engagement role; Peri can apply her visual creative side to her office-based tasks and social media posts. Her conservation work has even given her new ideas for the future, where teaching a charcoal workshop outdoors has unlocked artistic possibilities of non-classroom learning and engagement.

The accessibility of the New to Nature programme has afforded Peri the time to try out something new and weigh up what she wants in a career. The answer is as varied as her traineeship: something where she can keep using her creative skills, get outdoors and be able to make a difference.

Beyond her placement, Peri hopes to remain doing impactful work with Cymdeithas Eryri / Snowdonia Society and gain a better understanding of the landscape and people of Eryri. By engaging the public to aid its protection, Peri aims to get the ball rolling on conservational change.

Peri said:

“I really enjoyed the Himalayan balsam bashing workdays. There’s a real sense of satisfaction when you can see the instant difference you and the other volunteers have done in a day’s work.

“It’s given me a good structure to the day and flexi working hours have been really beneficial to me. If I want to go to the gym or go to yoga class halfway through the day, that’s an option.

“If I’d have seen this role and it wasn’t a trainee placement, I would have gone, oh, I can’t go for that. But because it was so open and I didn’t need to have the experience already, it’s built a confidence in me that you can apply for stuff and they can only just say no, but if you don’t apply, you’ll never get the job.

The increased confidence and the training opportunities I’ve had will be with me for wherever I end up next, as well as being useful in other areas of life.

New to Nature is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the celebrations to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the King’s Coronation, delivered through a partnership of Groundwork, The Prince’s Trust, Disability Rights UK, Mission Diverse and the Youth Environmental Service.

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