Welcome to A Dedicated Naturalist: the Dr Mary Gillham Archive Project!

photo of mary

Dr Mary Gillham MBE (1921 - 2013) was a pioneering female naturalist and prolific wildlife author, who took an active interest in our natural heritage for over 50 years. In 1959 she was part of the first Antarctic expedition to include women, and in 2008 she was awarded an MBE for services to nature conservation. She spent many years educating people about their natural heritage, as a lecturer for Cardiff University, and campaigned tirelessly for nature conservation throughout her life.

In 2013 Dr Gillham passed away and left a significant archive to SEWBReC. The eloquent writing, beautiful illustrations and fascinating photographs combine to give a unique insight into Dr Gillham’s life and the history of nature conservation in South Wales. The archive also contains a wealth of scientific data, which is currently locked away in inaccessible and irreplaceable paper documents.

In 2016, after securing Heritage Lottery Fund support, SEWBReC launched the Dedicated Naturalist project aiming to celebrate the life and work of this inspiring woman, and ensure the contents of her archive are made accessible to all through digitisation and conservation.


The Dedicated Naturalist project will

  • extract and unlock the data within the archive, capturing it digitally;
  • properly conserve the physical documents to safeguard their future (with Glamorgan Archives).


The project will also inform local people about Dr Gillham’s work and engage them with their natural heritage through:

  • a series of wildlife recording and outreach events;
  • an exhibition;
  • the creation of interactive online resources. 


The aims of the project are to:

  1. Capture the biodiversity records and historical memoir
  2. Promote the life and work of Dr Mary Gillham
  3. Engage people with their local biodiversity


A large part of these aims will be achieved through the work of volunteers; please take a look at our project volunteer page for more information about how you can get involved.

example page

For more information about the project, please contact the Project Officer Alan Reeve on alan.reeve@sewbrec.org.uk, or call him on 07961 516587.

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