The youth nature spotlight series is intended to give readers an insight into the lives, aspirations and motivations of the intrepid and inspirational young people doing great things for nature in the UK. Each post will focus on a different member of the youth nature movement with featured individuals being asked to nominate others they feel worthy of recognition. This series is run in tandem with New Nature Magazine, and you can check out additional interviews in our upcoming editions. Previous posts, featuring naturalist James Miller and blogger Kate Snowdon, can be found here and here.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Josh Styles, I’m currently practising as an ecologist and have recently graduated with a degree in BSc Ecology from Edge Hill University. Aside from my paid employment, I also operate a plant conservation initiative across the North-West region in England (North-West Rare Plant Initiative), am the author of the Edge Hill University campus biodiversity action plan, and regularly volunteer for a range of local conservation organisations…
How did you first get involved in botany?
I originally got into botany and the natural world in general by gardening for species of British wildflower. This interest leads to further reading whilst I was young, taking a special interest in Collins and Reader’s Digest picture books, initially.
What first inspired you to get involved in nature conservation?
What first inspired me to become increasingly involved in practical nature conservation, was probably myself at a young age growing wildflowers…Seeing the sheer level of invertebrate activity surrounding these flowers highlighted how barren the surrounding area really was.
Can you tell us something you do each day for nature?
As part of my employment, almost every day I need to formulate mitigation strategies to maintain the level of biodiversity that would otherwise be lost as part of a proposed development. Additional to my job, I am forever processing permissions to sample and reintroduce species on the brink in NW England and volunteering.
Do you commit to any voluntary work at present and if so, what?
I currently do casual volunteering with Lancashire and Cheshire wildlife trusts as a local wildlife sites surveyor. I’m also a research volunteer for Martin Mere and have done casual-volunteer work with other bodies including Edge Hill University, Cheshire East Council and Natural England. All of the work I do under my plant conservation initiative is done voluntarily.
Just for fun
If you won the lottery today, what would you spend the money on?
Dependant on how much money I won…I would probably purchase a small bungalow with several hectares of land attached. I would then turf-strip the entire area and collect green hay from a local floristically rich meadow, and seed the area I had turf stripped with that hay.