100 miles for Cameron, a guest post by Elliot Montieth

On the dawn of March 31st, I will be embarking on a 100-mile trek in order to raise funds for the Cameron Bespolka Trust. Below are the key pointers I hope will explain why I am doing this walk, a walk I hope you will see my reasoning for and sponsor me.

Following the tragic passing of Cameron Bespolka in 2013 at just 16, his family set up the Cameron Bespolka Trust in his memory. Its direct focus goes towards inspiring today’s youth to cherish and respect wildlife, but in particular our feathered friends the birds; as Cameron Bespolka was a much loved and admired young ornithologist on the international stage.

What the Cameron Bespolka Trust do is organise and fund projects, both their own and in collaboration with other parties to create, an educational and inspiring experience for young people. By doing this, they are creating the foundations for new and improved programs and opportunities that enable young people to get actively involved in conservation. The knowledge young people gain from such projects like those gained from BTO Bird Camp, is priceless and goes towards enriching the mind and experience that teenagers will undertake whilst attending one of the many events which the trust funds and organise.

By working closely with groups such as the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Wildlife Trusts, the Cameron Bespolka Trust is not only encouraging, but also connecting young people so that they appreciate Mother Nature – especially for those who may not have the means to do so. It is becoming increasingly rare for young people to be exposed to the outdoors; the Cameron Bespolka Trust is one of the pieces in the jigsaw puzzle trying to reverse that by adding another dimension to young people’s lives.

Over the years since Cameron’s passing, the trust have been involved in supporting and organising a wide range of events. These events range from BTO Young Birders Camps, The Hampshire Ornithological Society Young Birders Camp, offering a Scholarship for one UK Young Birder per a year to attend the Cornell Ornithology Young Birders Weekend in the USA, RSPB Phoenix Weekends and partnering up with the Homeless Children’s Foundation by where they sponsored 11 homeless children in Florida to attend a Nature Camp. None of that mentioned above would have been possible if it were not for the Cameron Bespolka Trust.

The following video was produced by young zoologist Amy Hall about the BTO’s Bird Camp in 2017. A project supported by the Cameron Bespolka Trust which I’m grateful to have been a part of… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_us0pL6SxY

I am undertaking this 100-mile trek because I believe in the work that the Cameron Bespolka Trust are doing. Having gone through what they have, I utterly and truly admire Cameron’s family & friends in the light of everything, for setting up the charity with its direct and soul aim to actively engage with young people and encourage them to explore the wonders of the natural world. There providing the next generation with the best opportunities out there to support and develop their knowledge for both personal purposes and for those who wish to turn their love for all things wild into their future professional life.

Having been fortunate enough to attend multiple events supported by the Cameron Bespolka Trust, I can say from my heart that they make a difference in more ways than what I believe the trust originally had in mind. Not only are you gaining essential skills in conservation, scientific studying and ornithology, but it they also give way for friendships to form. For me growing up I was isolated, having Asperger’s syndrome and being obsessed by the wild didn’t really make me an attractive person to be friends with. However, by going to events such as BTO Bird Camp & RSPB Phoenix Weekends, then myself and others attending were given the rare opportunity to socialise with similar aged and likeminded folk.

Starting from my home situated in Birkenhead on the Wirral peninsular, my trek will take me along the picturesque North Wales coast and end at the humble seaside town of Aberdaron on the Llŷnpeninsular. In total, the walk is 105 miles and it may be the longest route I could have chosen out of the three most logical, but boy it will be by far the most beautiful.

If anyone wish’s to join me for a section of the walk, then fell free to get in touch and we’ll come to an arrangement. The walk will commence at 7am on March 31st, with my arrival on the beach at Aberdaron aimed to be mid-day of April 7th.

I hope that this has provided you with enough information to see why I’m doing this walk and to hopefully of touched you enough to sponsor me so that my generation can live in a future bountiful in wildlife.

Kind regards, Elliot.


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