Welsh Mountain Zoo Volunteer

Tuesday 9th May 2017

I attended an informal chat with Susan Jones and have agreed as a result to work with them as an Artist moving forward, starting after half term.

They have two project of specific interest, one which is a recycled project involving bottle tops. This is to be a community project and it is already ongoing.

The second project they wish to start is a project about the issues surrounding Palm Oil production. This is probably where I can help them best.

I will also probably help with photography during events and some poster making.

Sunday 7th May 2017

Prior to attending the meeting, I reviewed the Welsh Mountain Zoo web site and in particular their volunteer scheme page.


The Volunteer Scheme is open to everyone over the age of 18 (there is no maximum age).

Our Volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds, including…

  • Unemployed
  • Retired
  • Students looking for experience to go alongside studies
  • Part-time employed wanting to help out


Active volunteers are expected to complete a minimum of 2 hours a week, but this can be arranged around your schedule, subject to availability. We expect Animal Volunteers to volunteer for 1 full day a week (between 8-5) and ideally to commit to a minimum of 12 months volunteering.


Below are some of the reasons people choose to volunteer. For some it provides an opportunity to:

  • Give something back to the Zoo
  • Make a difference to the lives of others
  • Help the environment
  • Feel valued and part of a team
  • Spend quality time away from work or a busy lifestyle
  • Gain confidence and self-esteem

For some, volunteering can be a route to employment, or a chance to try something new which may lead to a career change. From this perspective, volunteering can be a way of:

  • Gaining new skills, knowledge and experience
  • Developing existing skills and knowledge
  • Enhancing a CV
  • Improving one’s employment prospects
  • Gaining an accreditation
  • Using one’s professional skills and knowledge to benefit others (usually described as pro bono)

For others, volunteering appeals because of its social benefits. These include:

  • Meeting new people and making new friends
  • A chance to socialise
  • Getting to know the local community


For more information please contact the Education Officer: education@welshmountainzoo.org.

For an application form, please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to:
The Education Officer, Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay, North Wales, LL28 5UY


Click on the Volunteer Role to find out more about that role.

Animal Department –
Animal Volunteers – Animals are what most people come to see at the Zoo, and it is therefore incredibly important that they have their own dedicated team to help look after them.
Enrichment Volunteers – Animal Enrichment is a crucial part to keeping animals in captivity by creating a more stimulating environment for the animals. It can encourage natural behaviours such as foraging for food, exploring the enclosure, social interaction or simply playing and problem solving.

Education Department
Animal Volunteers (currently unavailable) – The new WILD Centre will house a number of live animals for use in our WILD Sessions. This will include a variety of small domestic mammals, as well as reptiles, invertebrates and other exotics.
Young Zoologist VolunteersThe Welsh Mountain Zoo Education Department is looking for enthusiastic and willing volunteers to assist with the delivery of our successful Young Zoologist Days programme. These days are for children aged 8-12 with an interest in the Zoo.
Art VolunteersThe Natural World has long inspired artists, and here at the Welsh Mountain Zoo we want to promote art to our visitors. This could include running craft events with visitors.
Visitor Education and Engagement VolunteersEducating our visitors is an important part of the work we do here at Welsh Mountain Zoo. We do this using a number of methods, including signage, interactive and multimedia displays, talks and guided walks.

Gardens and Grounds Department
Garden Volunteers – The Gardens and Grounds are as important to the Zoo as the Animals and Education. They are maintained by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers.

Social / Fundraising
Fundraising Volunteers – Volunteers will assist with any fundraising projects around the Zoo or in the local community. These might be for specific Zoo projects (enclosure improvements), BIAZA/EAZA/ WAZA campaigns, or any other charitable cause that match the aims and objectives of the National Zoo for Wales.

Steph Davies, Education Volunteer

I absolutely LOVED my GO Wales work taster at the zoo!! I had so much fun helping to teach the Young Zoologists about exotic animals and current conservation issues. Think I enjoyed it more than the kids!

Philip Wilson, Animal Volunteer

Working in the Zoo was the single most amazing experience I have ever had. Not only were the keepers fantastic people, they also taught me a great deal. In all sincerity, my proudest achievement was, without a doubt, learning how to use a rake.

Traci Knight, Education, Social, and Fundraising Volunteer

I started volunteering at the Welsh Mountain Zoo in April 2014, in my relatively short time here it has changed quite a whole outlook on my life. My main duties are helping clean and feed the small animals in the Education Centre which has also seen me walking our ferret Katie on a lead round the Zoo in the Summer months! I was also proud to help head up the influence/participation in the ‘Pole to Pole’ campaign in 2014, and am currently assisting with the new fundraising initiatives”

Susan Jones began volunteering in 2012 after studying Conservation Biology and Management. She found herself in part time retail employment and wanted to do something worthwhile on her days off, so would help out with the Education Department running the Zoo Club, Junior Board and Young Zoologist Days during the school holidays.
After a short time working abroad and having completed a teaching qualification, when the job of Education Officer came along, Susan was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and landed her dream job.

Jen Quinlan began volunteering at the Welsh Mountain Zoo in 2009. Jen was studying Zoo Animal Management at the University of Wales, Bangor and found that volunteering at the Zoo helped her to put in to practice things she had learnt while studying. A trainee position opened up at the Zoo while Jen was volunteering and after undertaking this role, she is currently studying for a Diploma in the Management of Zoo & Aquarium Animals.

Sunday 30th April 2017

Having found a Volunteer Artist role at the Welsh Mountain Zoo on the Volunteer Wales website, I decided to apply.

volunteer wales

I was then contacted by Susan Jones at the Zoo who requested an informal meeting, which I arranged for Tuesday 9th May at 3:30. See email thread below.


Higher Education (HE) Officer Nominee

Wednesday 3rd May 2017

I also asked Kevin Branchflower and Gwenllian Griffith to nominate me and I prepared my manifesto. Below is my completed nomination form and my manifesto along with the photo I decided to use.

Michelle Wright - HE Officer NomineeA mature student studying towards the BA (Hons) Fine Art at Llandrillo Coleg Menai who is currently a Student Representative and Blog Ambassador.

I am highly organised, proactive, committed and ALWAYS Happy to Help. With a Can Do attitude and a desire to give something back. Helping others achieve the best college experience they can possibly have is of great importance to me.

Becoming a voice for the learner community, I hope to encourage better learner involvement in Llandrillo events, actively promote opportunities available and facilitate better links between the learner community and the college.

Satisfied, tell me, Dissatisfied, whatever it is, if I can help, I will, if I can’t I will find someone who can.

Thursday 27th April 2017

When I received the invitation to become nominated for HE Officer, I knew right away that I wanted to apply.

I initially emailed Sarah Wynn for more information, email attached below.

The post is a Grŵp role so it can be from any of our campuses. The elected Higher Education Officer will also be elected as a Student Governor for Grŵp Llandrillo Menai. This would involve attending meetings at other campuses. You would need to visit some of our other campuses too from time to time.  

The person appointed will represent the interests of students and will encourage learner involvement. We have an Enrichment Calendar with different themed weeks where the HE Officer and the three FE Student Union Presidents would need to be involved in. This would involve taking part and helping me organise events; particularly for the Grŵp’s charity of the year. Here’s a link to our facebook page:www.facebook.com/GrwpLlandrilloMenaiStudentsUnion and have a look on edrac for examples of what we’ve been doing: https://learners.gllm.ac.uk/forms/LPStudentsUnion.aspx

Nadine Roberts is the current HE Officer, you can speak to her for more information too: suofficer.he@gllm.ac.uk

This part-time paid post includes liaising and supporting HE course representatives, liaising with students and staff, attending external events where student representation is required, facilitating links with NUS Wales, working closely with the three Presidents and supporting students during their time in College.

The 10 hours a week is flexible.

I then emailed the current HE Officer, Nadine Roberts for her opinion of the role and how it has helped her develop professionally.

I have been the HE Officer since January. I can give you a summary of what i have done in this time.

During this time I have worked closely with the SU presidents from each campus along with learner services on a variety of initiatives to ensure learners within the grwp have not only a high level of education but their time here is enjoyable and successful.

I have used a variety of methods such as:

  • Holding a learner conference where class reps have given input on how the grwp can improve respect and well-being in the colleges. The conference directly influenced the decision to create a online direct link to learner services where learners can discuss a variety of matters regarding well-being.
  • Creating the ‘class reps in 6 steps’ guideline to simplify information regarding the role of class reps.
  • Raising money and awareness for our local Mind charity.
  • Holding surgeries for students who wish to speak to me.
  • Attending Learner panels and ensuring that the student voice is listened to by the college.
  • Attending meetings with a variety of departments within the college to ensure excellent standards (Quality Assurance, College Council, Canteen managers and the principal of the college to name a few)
  • Discussing with Estyn inspectors our role within the college.
  • Involving myself with events through out the college such as world book day, diversity week, well-being week and welsh language music week.
  • Attending open evenings to speak to potential learners and answering questions about my role and experience as a mature student.
  • Attending NUS conferences and voting on matters an agendas that effect HE students.
  • Being a governor of the grwp so a student representative has direct influence on decisions that effect students.

I am currently involved in developing the student charter for the next academic year, and discussing the potential to have a HE specific area for students to relax and take a break.

These are just some examples, but I know I have directly improved the learner experience for HE students including next years intake.

Personally I have found this role not only enjoyable, but it has given me so much confidence in myself and has directly influenced my academic ability.

I can not honestly say what the most positive impact has been as i value everything that I have achieved within the college and personally.


Blog Ambassador

I was nominated as Blog Ambassador by the Tutors at the start of the second year of the BA Fine Art (Hons) at Coleg Menai.

During the year I have helped many people, not only with issues they have with their Blog’s but also Photoshop issues and Premiere Pro issues too.

Reflecting back on the time spent on this activity, I would estimate between 1 and 3 hours per week for the duration of the second year.

The main issues arising with the Blog tend to be around the use of images. Typical Questions have been:

How do I get more space on DropBox?

I have been asked about increasing space on DropBox. You can earn additional space quite easily by doing simple activities such as Following DropBox on Twitter or Liking their Facebook Page. I advised people to look at the following links:

Get 2GB of Dropbox space in less than 5 minutes

If you are one of the people who have just 2GB of available space, here’s a quick solution for you to almost double it. After you have created a Dropbox account and downloaded the desktop client visit this page and follow these steps:

  1. Complete the “Get Started” tour – 250MB
  2. Connect your Facebook account – 125MB
  3. Connect your Twitter account – 125MB
  4. Follow Dropbox on Twitter – 125MB
  5. Write a short text why you love Dropbox – 125MB
  6. Download Mailbox for iOS or Android and connect it with Gmail and Dropbox – 1GB
  7. Download the Dropbox app for iOS or Android and complete the mobile “Get Started” tour

How do I get a Google Drive Account?

I have been asked a lot why I use Google Drive, and basically for each Google Mail account you get a whopping 15GB storage space. My advice is shown below.

Most people don’t realise that they actually already have a Google Mail Account. Your college email is actually a Google Mail Account. This means you have 15GB storage linked to your college email address.

  • Sign in to your college email using the Google Sign In page.
  • Select Google Drive to open your Google Drive.Google Drive
  • Click New to Create a New Folder.
  • Drag New Files into the Google Drive Space.

Why have I used up all the space on my Blog?

This is generally as a result of using too high quality images on the Blog. The recommendation is to ensure that images that are placed on the Blog have a resolution less than 96dpi to ensure the best use of the space on the blog.

If images have been taken using a camera, they will be too large and the resolution will need to be reduced using Photoshop. If possible, take images for the blog using a phone. The iPhone typically saves images at 96dpi making them perfect to place on a blog.

I can’t see my images on my Blog Page?

This is a bit of a glitch with WordPress and in my experience, it generally happens when there is a lot of images on a page and the wifi is slow – this happens a lot in college. It is just that the images are taking a long time to load.

Basically you will see the image as a box with the edit button and the delete button showing – see below. If you click the edit button, you will see that the images are still there, there are just not displayed in the edit page. If you open the blog as though you were viewing it, you will see that the images are actually still there.

Images on Blog

How do I free up space on my blog?

This was a recent request and is a difficult one to address. Generally, you run of space on a blog due to using high quality images or video in your blog. The suggestions I made are below.

Host your videos online to reduce space used on the blog.

  • Remove any videos that have been loaded into the blog.
  • Upload your videos to either YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Create Links in your Blog Posts or Pages to the videos online.
  • Link the video’

Reduce the Size of Images.

  • For large images, create a local copy of the image.
  • Use Photoshop to reduce the resolution to 96dpi
  • Use Photoshop to reduce the size of the image.
  • Upload the new smaller image to the blog.
  • Delete the larger image from the blog.
  • Do this for all images taken with your camera.
  • Moving forward, if possible take lower quality images with a phone for the blog, or alternatively reduce the resolution of your images prior to adding them to your blog.

Upgrade your subscription to WordPress.

The free version of your WordPress site gives you 3GB of space which may not be enough for your requirements. There are several other WordPress options.

  • Personal: £2.50 per month gives you 6GB of storage space.
  • Premium: £7.08 per month gives you 13GB of storage space.

You can pay for these plans annully which does reduce the price a bit.

Create a new WordPress Blog Site for each year of your education. This way you get 9GB of storage space for free. Make sure you give the Tutors the address for the new site.

  • Select My Sites, Switch Site to open the Sites page.
  • Select Add New Site to create an additional site for each year.

How do I organise content on a page?

You can divide the content on any page or blog post up by including page breaks in the content.

At the point where you would like the page break, press Alt+Shift+P on the keyboard to create the page break.

When you have page breaks in a page, the page numbers are displayed at the bottom of the page.

How do I organise menu’s on my blog?

I was asked this question on numerous occasions. It is really important to organise your menus, particularly as you progress into the second and third year. The pages can become difficult to manage and navigate.

  • From the Site page, select Themes, Customize to open the Customizer.
  • Click Menus to display the available menus.
  • Click Add a Menu to create a new menu.
  • Type the Menu Name and Click Create Menu
  • You can then select the menu to modify the pages and navigation order.
  • At the bottom of the page click Add Items to add new items to the menu.
  • Select Reorder menu to reorder the pages in your menus.
  • Look at shesafineartist.blog if you want to see examples of a menu structure.

How do I create a Blurb Book?

I have been asked several times about creating Blurb books. I directed people to the following Tutorials and in several cases, gave training on the use of the Blurb software.

I need a Blurb Book in a Hurry, what do I do?

I have given several people the advice below relating to acquiring digital books in a hurry.

There is another alternative to Blurb and this is a company called Yophoto.

Yophoto have an application to download, just like Blurb, or alternatively you can create your book online.

Yophoto have an express delivery option and can deliver before 1pm the next day if an order is placed before noon. Without exception when I have used this service, the book has been on my doorstep as promised.

I have purchased several books by Yophoto and all but I was pristine. In the case of the 1 which wasn’t, the spine hadn’t been attached correctly, I emailed Yophoto and they responded immediately – a new book was in the post the next day and I kept the less than pristine book too – Excellent Customer Service.

The only downside to Yoophoto is that it doesn’t have a Store like blurb does, so if you plan to sell your books, you need to find an alternative method. For college purposes, this shouldn’t really be an issue.

How do I host a Video on Youtube?

I have given several people training on how to host a video on Youtube. My advice is below:

Firstly you need to create a YouTube Channel. You can use your College Email Account to do this.

Upload your videos to the YouTube Channel. Once uploaded you will be provided with a URL for your video, which you can then link to in your blog.

Be aware of copyrighted material, YouTube check all uploaded videos for  this.

2nd Year Student Rep Activities

This page documents my activities as Student Representative during my second year of the BA Fine Art (Hons) at Coleg Menai.

3rd May 2017

I attended a meeting with Alana, Julie and Billie about the forthcoming change in our affiliation to Bangor University. The outcome of the meeting was that I had to gain a unanimous agreement from our group for everyone to be included in the move.

I spoke to several people in person and emailed everyone else.

This is just to catch up with those I didn’t get chance to see after yesterday’s meeting with Alana. I had hoped to speak to everyone in person but this isn’t really practical at the moment.
Basically the meeting was to discuss the move over from Glyndwr to Bangor University which I believe Helen told you all about yesterday morning.
Essentially the move won’t really affect us at all other than that we will get a Bangor Uni Degree at the end of next year. We will probably also have access to Bangor Uni resources too.
Bangor University has been established for a lot longer than Glyndwr and everyone I’ve spoken too sees this as a positive move.
For this to happen for our year we need to have unanimous agreement that we are happy for this to happen, If only one of us doesn’t agree then our group will remain with Glyndwr.
At the moment the college are seeking a verbal agreement from us all but at some point we will have a form to sign to say we agree. I have to go back to Alana on Tuesday with our collective decision, so please could you all let me know if you agree with this.
If you have any other questions about this, I can ask Alana at the meeting on Tuesday. Please can everyone reply with your decision or let me know by text or Facebook by Tuesday.

I was unable to attend the following meeting, however I did report our unanimous agreement to Alana.

30th March 2017 – Learner Panel

I wad unable to attend this Learner Panel and there were no volunteers from our group to take my place at this meeting.

26th January 2017 – Learner  Conference

The Learner Conference is a conference held for class reps from across Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s campuses. All Student Union Presidents, the two Principals and the Grŵp’s Chief Executive will be at the conference to answer your questions and listen to your views, so come along to make sure the voice of your class is heard.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the Learner Conference this year due to other commitments.

18th October 2016 – Learner Panel

I attended the first Leaner Panel of the year and the following items were discussed.

Matters raised from a previous meeting

  • Taster Days: Response – Continued and increased in number.
  • Photography Studio Access: Response – Reviewed and Reformed.
  • Estates Staffing at Parc Menai: Response – Change in Staffing completed.

Positive Comments

  •  Interviewing process and applying internally.
  • College is safe and welcoming.
  • Supportive and approachable staff.
  • Awareness of how to access support services.

Matters to be addressed

  1. Review of length and content of Induction process
    Lack of involvement in Freshers week by students at Coleg Menai.
    Response By and When: Maes Rhaglen-Programme Area/Gwasanaethau Dysgwyr-Learner Services/SGR-MIS-1.6.17.
  2. Transport matters address reporting of issues follow-ups
    Transport issues for people travelling to Coleg Menai along a particular route.
    Response By and When: Gwasanaethau Dysgwyr/Learner Services 17.2.17.
  3. Review access and use of equipment (computers).
    Use of the MAC room and access to MAC’s when classes are in progress – no timetable.
    PC’s at Coleg Menai are old and slow and required updating.
    Response By and When: Maes Rhaglen/Programme Area 16.12.17.
  4. Refectory: representations to catering company regarding choice and price.
    Lack of Choice and Price in Canteen still an issue for many students.
    Response By and When: Undeb y Myfyrwyr/Gwasanaethau Dysgwyr; Students Union/Learner Services 1.2.17.
  5. Studio fees-breakdown of provision
    Students do not understand why they have to pay studio fees, particularly BA group where fees have already been paid.
    Response By and When: Maes Rhaglen/Programme Area 4.17.

1st October 2016

I volunteered to be Student Representative for BA Fine Art (Hons) Second Year.

Light Choreographies, Pontio 2017

Tuesday 25th April 2017

Today I attended Pontio as an invigilator for the exhibition piece, Light Choreographies. Whist invigilating we were asked to ensure that the public were escorted into the piece and allowed to interact with the space in their own way.

Monday 24th April 2017

Today I attended a Focus Group for Angela. I was asked to experience the artwork for myself and spend time in the space before being asked to complete a questionnaire based on my perceptions of Interactive Art and my direct experience of the piece.

On arrival at the space, my heart rate was recorded as evidence and then I was encouraged to enter the space. Initially, I spent the time to look at the robotic device in the centre of the room and observing the reflections on the ceiling. I then took the glass sphere which I was afraid of dropping and moved around the room, while continuing to watch the patterns on the ceiling. This made me feel very disoriented and quite sick.

I decided to sit at the edge of the room and simply watch the reflections from a seated position and the sick feeling began to ease. I felt very calm and almost as if I was looking at the inside of someone’s eye or even another galaxy.

On reflection, I found the space to be extremely meditative and calming – I could have stayed in there all afternoon.

Friday 21st April 2017

I attended the Induction Training with Sharon Roberts of Pontio and also with Angela at the White Box in Pontio. Angela discussed the project and her requirements of the invigilators.

Pervasive M promotion

Friday 31st March 2017

Today I received the email regarding volunteering for this project and links to the timetables for volunteering. There are two volunteering opportunities Invigilation and participation in a Focus Group.

Wednesday 29th March 2017

Attending a talk by Angela Davis who described her forthcoming exhibition to be held at Pontio called Light Choreographies.

Light Choreographies performance – an immersive exploration of gesture, scale, rhythm and movement featuring aerial performer Aislinn Mulligan and a sound composition by Ant Dickinson.

The dialogue between human and technology was explored through the interactive robotic light projecting sculpture. Traditional processes of glass blown forms harmonise with technological systems. The movement of sensors communicate to form a choreography of light.

Penrhyn Castle: State or Slate 2017

Saturday 8th April 2017

Today I volunteered at the State or Slate Project in Bethesda, spending the day stencilling text onto a template of a banner which will eventually be stencilled onto Fabric using Fabric paint.