Keeping it Wild in London

The Trust has joined forces with the London Wildlife Trust in a new partnership to get young Londoners involved with nature conservation

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Young Londoners from a range of diverse backgrounds are about to take the plunge into nature conservation thanks to an exciting new partnership initiative led by  London Wildlife Trust. 

The community-based 'Keeping it Wild' project aims to inspire young people who are not currently engaging with nature to  get involved in protecting and promoting the wildlife that lives in their own neighbourhoods.

A series of action days will introduce young people aged 11-25 years to their local wild species and habitats, and give them a taster of urban conservation. They will be recruited to the project by vinspired, the leading youth volunteering charity, with help from the youth club charity London Youth.

Those recruited into the scheme will work towards gaining a John Muir Award, while youth engagement charity Headliners will help them produce a film about their local wildlife and nature. Participants will then develop their own social action projects in their local green spaces.

A final element of the programme involves the creation of a young people’s forum with a focus on improving the way the consortium organisations communicate and work with young Londoners.

Leah McNally, London Wildlife Trust’s Director of Visitor Engagement, said: “We are keen to see more young Londoners engaged in and enthusiastic about nature and wildlife in the capital, and we also want to harness the immense talent and energy of the young people in our community – the Keeping It Wild programme is the perfect opportunity for them to get involved.”

Rob Bushby, the Trust’s John Muir Award Manager, said: “We increasingly hear talk of ‘a spectrum of wildness’. This community-based project will introduce young people in London to some of the UK’s most inspiring urban nature reserves, as well as prompt them to discover what’s right on their doorsteps.

"We’re looking forward to showing that a meaningful relationship with the natural world is as vital in a major city as it is anywhere else. Using the John Muir Award will help knit together various strands of the project, add focus and structure, and help recognise each young person’s personal achievements.”

  • Thanks to National Lottery players, a new £10million funding programme called ‘Kick the Dust’ (named by young people, with an aspiration to ‘stir up heritage’) is supporting twelve projects across the UK – including ‘Keeping it Wild’ – to  help youth and heritage organisations involve more young people. Read the Heritage Lottery Fund news item on Kick the Dust grants.

Image: J Shurte