‘I’ve always wanted to do something that mitigates the impact of human activity’

Ian has been a Prospect member since 2018, and works as a Fieldwork Officer at Kew Gardens. What does being in a trade union mean to him? “It’s important to have a collective bargaining and negotiating power rather than to fight issues on your own,” he says.

He works on a project called the UK National Tree Seed project which is based at the Millennium Seed Bank and he does a lot of important work for this: “I’m currently working on planning seed collection trips across the UK,” says Ian. “I’m currently trawling through botanical records, flicking through maps, trying to find where our target populations exist and we’ll go to the locations and try and collect the seeds.”

Ian loves what he does and is proud of things he has achieved while working at Kew: “I’m most proud of the seed collecting that we’ve done over the past year,” he says, “We’ve managed to collect seed from 300 individual trees which will go some way to add to the 14 million already banked by the project.”

“Our job is to conserve the genetic diversity that is here now,” Ian says. He is passionate about the environment and being able to play his part in looking after it is of great importance to him.

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“I’ve always wanted to do something that mitigates the impact of human activity, whether this is the internships or voluntary placements before working for Kew, or my role at Kew now in seed conservation.”

Ian describes the biggest advantage of being a Prospect member “having access to a wealth of expertise within the organisation…legal advice, pamphlets on employee rights or access to a network of people that share similar values to myself.”

Being part of a collective means your voice is stronger; you are able to meet people from across your sector who are all striving for the same outcomes and work alongside them. Trade unions can create a sense of community in your workplace so you can work towards positive change with others and Ian recognises this: “I feel well represented,” he says.

Prospect’s members are hugely diverse and it’s great to see all the amazing work that Ian is doing to help preserve the UK’s woodlands.