A Focus on Nature, the youth nature network, is a rather fabulous organisation. One which, through sheer determination, generosity and the hard work of its committee and members, has established itself as perhaps the go-to community for young conservationists, ecologists, nature writers, campaigners and others with an interest in the natural world here in the UK. I have been a member for a number of years now, and have loved every minute of it. Really, during my time in the group I have been able to forge some seriously fantastic friendships, gain vital skills and confidence, attend some wonderful events and have even utilised their awesome mentoring service to gain some very useful career advice. Simply put, it’s been a blast.
As an organisation, AFONs objectives are quite simple. They aim to:
- To provide a safe, secure and enjoyable platform for young nature conservationists and naturalists to network with each other, and older professional
- To inform wider nature conservation debates by offering a young and fresh perspective on environmental issues
- To work with other youth networks and environmental organisations to create a youth conservation movement in the UK
- To provide a mouthpiece for young nature conservationists in a wider environmental forum, representing their views, wants, ideas and values
- To contribute to a society in which nature is more valued and better protected for the benefit of young people and future generations
- To ensure a transfer of skills and knowledge between generations, assisting our members in getting jobs, educating them and increasing confidence
- To give young nature conservationists access to opportunities, by providing events and projects for them to take part in
- To promote nature conservation and natural history to young people
Now for the main point of this blog post. Following a successful application a few weeks back, I am thrilled to announce that I will be heading up AFON’s presence in North-East England as their new regional representative. This, hopefully, means that I will rise to the challenge of creating a thriving, safe space for young environmentalists in the region to interact, make friends and share experiences. While also endeavouring to provide opportunities for said people to get out there, explore nature, gain skills and develop on a professional level. No easy feat but one I am very much keen to commit to.
While things are still very much being ironed out at present, there is now a dedicated AFON North-East Facebook group for members and supporters to share ideas, engage and discuss, and I would be thrilled if you would consider joining here. Having recently ran a poll in said group, it appears members are most keen to attend events with a conservation focus – beach cleans, habitat management and the like – and, as such, that is where I will be focusing my attention for now. While also aiming to improve membership through contact with local universities etc.
A Focus on Nature is currently in the process of establishing regional representation in many areas of the country, from the South-East to Scotland and beyond, so for those reading this not from the glorious North-East, keep your eyes peeled! I know the incredibly talented Gus Routledge has already established a group for Scottish members.