Inspiring young people through natural heritage

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When groups ask me how they can enthuse young people about heritage I often answer that it is important to talk to them and make it relevant to their everyday lives. It is not just the distant past but links to the world around them. Nature can be a great way of getting young people to think differently about heritage and show them that buildings and museums are only one part of our fantastic heritage.

Every day we are surrounded by nature and we often take it for granted. It may be the riverside or pond that we pass every time we leave the house which houses a whole range of species or the park that we take for granted but there is so much to discover on our door steps.

We are currently trying to raise awareness of the importance of nature as part of our heritage through our Yorkshire’s back garden campaign but we are not starting from scratch. In Yorkshire we’ve funded some lovely projects that have opened up the natural environment to young people; training them in new skills, opening their eyes to local hidden gems and helping them share this world with others.

The Friends of Judy Woods and the Joint Activities and Motor Education Service helped young people to discover the ancient woodlands on their doorstep, identify the species that live there and delve into its archaeological history to help to create new QR code trails around the woods.

The Opening Doors project run by the Sheffield Black and Ethnic Minority Environmental Network (SHEBEEN) allowed young people from inner city Sheffield to explore their natural heritage in Sheffield city centre and further afield. They recorded their trips and what they found through photography and created an exhibition to showcase their local environment.

If you are looking at how you might use natural heritage to inspire future generations why not take a look at our recent Yorkshire’s back garden campaign blog by Chris Smith, Senior Outdoor Learning Officer at Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trusts for some ideas.

I’m sure that there are plenty more projects involving young people in nature and it would be great if you could share with us your successes.

View Katharine Boardman's profile Katharine Boardman Dec 7 2015 - 3:25pm
  1. Hi Katherine,

    Thanks for sharing these projects, they all look really interesting.  Engaging young people with natural heritage is so important and it’s great to see so many different approaches.

    Rewilding Sussex are currently delivering a project which is enabling young people in Brighton to develop their knowledge of the local area's ecological history.  They’ve created a really interesting exhibition at the One Network for Conservation and the Arts (ONCA) gallery with pieces inspired by natural heritage.

    It was funded through the Young Roots programme.



  2. View Heather Turvey's profile Heather Turvey
    Offline | Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
  3. Grow Wild!

    The British Youth Council is taking part in the UK's biggest ever wild flower campaign by sharing free Grow Wild seed kits with youth groups.

    They want to involve young people and youth organisations in getting active outside to grow native plants.

    All you need to do is register for seed kits on behalf of your group to receive wild flower seeds native to your country.

    Registration closes at midnight on 14 February 2016 and the kits will be sent out in late March - just in time for spring sowing.

    See more information here and register here.

  4. View Melissa Strauss's profile Melissa Strauss
    Offline | Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
  5. More than 10% of children (under 16s) in England have not been to a natural environment in the last year. This article reminds us why it is so important to inspire young people about nature…

    It goes on to say that more than one in nine children have not set foot in a park, forest, beach or any other natural environment for at least 12 months. And children from low-income families and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) households are markedly less likely than white children and those from higher income households to frequently visit urban or rural wild places.

    This information comes from a two-year study by Natural England. You can see more about the details and findings of this research here.


  6. View Melissa Strauss's profile Melissa Strauss
    Offline | Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
  7. Here is an example of a project in Scotland:

    Green Aspirations Scotland - Woodland Futures project

    Woodland Futures project worked with young people from urban environments to learn about traditional crafts and rural skills. The young people took part in a range of activities from learning how to build paths, managing the woodland environment, making charcoal and whittle spoons! The new-found skills that the young people took part in enabled them to explore the opportunities for future employment in sectors which they had not considered before such as farming, forestry and conservation.

    Find out more about the project here or watch the video below!  


  8. View Annie Mottisfont's profile Annie Mottisfont
    Offline | Last seen: 4 days 9 hours ago
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