Launched in 2016, Tomorrow’s Natural Leaders is an initiative for 16 – 24 year olds.
Participants take on a 12 month placement with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, upskilling and empowering them to carve out a future career in the green economy.
The local wildlife charity helps each to become environmental champions, able to inspire their peers and local communities to take action on environmental projects and campaigns across Yorkshire.
Over five years close to 100 young adults are set to benefit from the experience.
The latest recruits will form five teams across Yorkshire carrying out a range of conservation work on Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s 100+ nature reserves, such as habitat restoration, wildlife surveys, events management, campaigning, outreach and education.
One team will be based at each of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's key sites: Appleton Mill Farm near Pickering; Potteric Carr Nature Reserve in Doncaster; Stirley Community Farm near Huddersfield; Pearson Park in Hull; and the Living Seas Centre in Flamborough.
Shannon, 21, is one of seven new TNLs based at Potteric Carr Nature Reserve.
One of her first tasks was clearing scrub on Doncaster Common to restore the sandy grass land habitat for heather. She said: “I wanted to join the scheme because I have always had a passion for conservation and the environment from a very young age. My ideal future career will be managing a nature reserve and doing my part in preserving wildlife. Having grown up in Doncaster, I particularly want to help protect the natural areas I know and love. I believe that conservation starts at home and so working locally is ideal for this.”
Joe Wyatt, project lead for South and West Yorkshire, explains what the TNLs can expect: “The teams work with Trust staff to gain skills and experience in practical conservation, whilst alongside this they will be developing and delivering self-led environmental projects and campaigns. Each is encouraged to steer the direction of their placement activities and training in the way they wish to go from the outset. They’ll learn loads of transferrable skills which will really help them to find work at the end of the year.”
Tomorrow's Natural Leaders is one of 31 projects run nationwide as part of ‘Our Bright Future’, a £33 million pound initiative funded by the Big Lottery Fund that supports young people across the UK to lead progressive change in their communities and local environment.