Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Is there hope for the future?

 On the 11th of October five young wildlife enthusiasts, including myself, joined in union to deliver a very important message - one of both hope and pessimism, joy and sadness, but most importantly the younger generations connectivity (or lack of) with our natural world. We were there, at the Wildlife Trust's Brandon marsh reserve, to record a podcast with Talking Naturally's Charlie Moores, which would form part of the Every Child Wild campaign. After the huge success of the 30 Days Wild campaign, achieving thousands of supporters, lots of media coverage and even mentions on Springwatch, I was very much looking forward to being part of this new campaign.

Left to right: Sorrel Lyall, Alex White, Nathan Bach, May Rose-craig and myself.
I was extremely excited for the day, if a little nervous too.  I'm sure that the other four naturalists, including Sorrel Lyall, Mya Rose-Craig, Alex White and Nathan Bach were feeling just as positive as myself. On arrival to the reserve we were greeted by Emma and Adam from the Wildlife Trusts, both of who were incredibly welcoming and put our nerves at ease effortlessly. The weather outside was lovely and we all wanted to get out on the reserve, but first we had to get cracking on the task in hand! Charlie Moores, the co-founder of the Birders Against Wildlife Crime organisation and host of the Talking Naturally series, was going to be leading the discussion, asking questions and throwing new ideas into the mix. He began by giving each of us microphones and running through the style of questions he would be asking. We had a very informal discussion for about 10 minutes to settle our nerves, and get us into the right mindset for discussion. Right then - introductions made, water drank, nerves settled...and so we began!

And with the "camera rolling" the discussion commenced. The range of topics covered was immense, but all fell back to the same fundamental message regarding the disconnection between today's younger generation and nature. I don't want to disclose too much about the content of the podcast as you'll find out when you listen to it in a few weeks time, but questions ranged from 'what is nature?' to 'do you think politicians should be more active in the fight to get young people interested in wildlife?' - the questions were challenging, but not in a ''I don't know what to say' way, but more of a 'I have too much to say!' way, which I suppose is a good thing! There were lots of good points made during the recording sessions, including the idea of an annual podcast by different young naturalists each year. I thought that this was a really great idea, as it would not only connect those that are interested in nature already, it would also louden the volume of young, inspiring voices around the UK – enthusing others and building up confidence. We recorded for a total of around 1 hour 30 minutes with two breaks, allowing us to indulge in the delicious lunch we had provided. All was vegetarian, making Emma and I (the two veggies) very pleased. To finish I had the chocolate cake, which was amazing! (So if you’re heading to Brandon Marsh anytime soon I would strongly recommend it)

After all the hard work by everyone we took the last half hour or so to explore the surrounding nature trails and take a group photo allowing us to remember what an amazing day we had. I'd like to speak on behalf of all five of us to thank Charlie, Adam, Emma and all the staff at Brandon Marsh for their contributions to the day. I hope that you all enjoy the podcast, which is due to be published at the beginning of November so keep your eyes (and ears) out!