The Wildlife Trust – Every Child Wild Podcast

Sorell Lyall, Nathan Burch, Alex White, Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Billy Stockwell
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

In September, I, along with other young people interested in the nature of varying secondary school ages was invited by Lucy McRoberts of The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) to take part in a discussion on key questions related to getting kids into nature. It was excellent that TWT was giving us young people a voice in something relating to us.

Some of the questions we were invited to discuss were:

1) What do you think TWT should be doing to connect the next generation with wildlife?
2) What do you think Government should be doing to connect the next generation with wildlife?
3) What are the barriers to young people connecting with wildlife?

The discussion was to be recorded and published as a podcast by Charlie Moores of Talking Naturally speaking. What we said would help shape the future direction of TWT policies on young people and also inspire other young people.

In October, myself, Nathan Bach (age 10), Alex White (age 12), Sorrell Lyall age 16, and Billy Stockwell (age 16) met in Brandon NR in Warwickshire. The session was chaired by Charlie Moores with Emma Websdale and Adam Cormack from TWT available for help. The link is bit.ly/1kzXxeD

Charlie Moores, Billy Stockwell, Sorell Lyall, Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Emma Websdale, Adam Cormack
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Charlie Moores, Billy Stockwell, Sorell Lyall, Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

The discussion was really empowering and lasted 4 hours. It was a brilliant thing for TWT to have done and Charlie Moores was fantastic directing the meeting.

Originally, we were to be in two groups, over 14 and under 14 but because there were 5 of us we ended up being in one group. It was great to give my opinion but the session was the first time I had spoken in a group like this, and with such a mixed age group. It was a really big learning curve for all of us.

If TWT were to repeat the session next year, would give the following feedback:

· Break the group into two by age. As we had a large age range, this had an impact on each of our confidence within the group;

· It would be good to keep the warm-up short, as lots of interesting points were discussed before the recording started.

· It would be good to give different people the opportunity to contribute in future years, but I don’t think that those taking part this year should be barred, as they might have been involved in a relevant project and so have something specific to contribute (e.g. Camp Avalon).

· Whilst Charlie was great, it would be good to alternate and maybe try someone who has experience of dealing with teenagers, like David Walsh who used to be a teacher and now acts as a mentor to teenage birders.

· Part of group dynamics is learning how to create a space to have your say without talking over people and also making sure that you are giving other people a chance to speak. These are things adults find hard, let alone us to manage as young people in our first group discussion. I think that next time we should have a flag we can hold up when we have something to say so that we don’t have to interrupt anyone to speak.

· Now that the discussion has taken place once, next time I would make it more peer-led, with fewer adult views in the podcast.

· I think that each young person should raise a few areas that they want to discuss before the event so that these are included. Although I mentioned diversity as an issue, the conversation went elsewhere and I didn’t get a chance to talk about it. It turned out that Charlie did not know about my arranging Camp Avalon until afterwards and so could not ask me about it.

These are small suggestions, which hopefully will be taken positively by everyone. Thank you again to Lucy McRoberts for organizing this event, which left me feeling really empowered.

Adam Cormack, Sorell Lyall, Billy Stockwell, Charlie Moores,
Nathan Burch, Alex White, Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Emma Websdale
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

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