Before Christmas, while mulling over the idea of starting a youth nature magazine, I did not expect such to ever become reality. Three months back, I would not have dared dream that my idea would ever take shape or that, with the help of a team of gifted young writers, we could produce something others would find both enjoyable and actively beneficial. Well, it looks like I was wrong; at least if this recent post by the ever-inspiring Dara McAnulty is anything to go by.
As we approach our third issue, New Nature looks to be going from strength to strength; with each of the volunteers working on the magazine inundated daily with emails of support, pitches and offers of assistance. All of which are greatly appreciated. The support and advice we have received thus far – from conservation NGOs, societies and individuals young and old – have left us thoroughly reassured. Both in the sense that we, as a group, are capable of producing something worth reading, and that we are doing exactly what we intended to do from the start: supporting, promoting and emboldening the next generation of British naturalists. Yes, we are only a magazine (a virtual one for the time being) but it looks as if people feel there is both a niche and need for this sort of thing. Hooray!
The success of the magazine to date – downloaded over 7000 times already – has set me to thinking. My spare time (and that of Alex, Alice, Alysia and Emily) now occupied by brainstorming as we contemplate just how we can advance the project in the future. Much of which, ultimately, comes down to the prospect of getting New Nature published in print at some point – though we are aware this takes viewing figures and financial clout beyond what we possess at present. It is, however, an aim of ours and we hope to take steps to provide a print version of the magazine in the future.
Obviously, there are questions about how we would fund such an endeavour; especially as we believe that New Nature should be entirely free to read and enjoy. Something which, in itself, seems incompatible with our hopes of getting the magazine into print; although stranger things have happened and I would love, one day, to use the magazine to generate funds. Perhaps via sponsorship, perhaps through donations, or maybe through a mixture of both. Not so the team can make money – both myself and the girls are content to do this on a voluntary basis – but to cover the costs of the website, promotion and so forth. But also, and much more importantly, to reinvest in our incredibly diligent young contributors. Paying contributors may not seem feasible, at present, but I would love to be able to provide prizes, fund adventures and contribute towards important projects undertaken by young people. It is all very pie in the sky at present, in truth, but given the overwhelmingly positive response to the magazine so far, I suspect that with a little graft on our part, and maybe some luck, we may be able to make this happen. And thus encourage young people to do more than just write.
Whatever route we go down in the future; whether we stick to virtual realm or set out sights higher, I feel there is great scope to develop New Nature. To transform the project into something that actively benefits young people; on par or perhaps in cahoots with other wonderfully supportive organisations. It has certainly been rewarding to hear your views on the magazine so far and I would be delighted to receive any advice regarding how we can grow and expand in the future. Please get in touch, but more importantly, please continue to share the magazine with other like-minded people. Tweet it, blog it, email it to your colleagues; it is only with your support that we can make this work, sustain the project and, I hope, meet our aspirations of giving a voice to young nature lovers long into the future.