Twenty young people are taking part in the biggest conservation project in the world to be led by youth, where they will be responsible for managing more than 300 acres in the Brecon Beacons to help restore wildlife habitats and develop sustainable farming and forestry.
The volunteers, aged between 12 and 17, will be involved in all aspects of managing the Penpont Estate in Powys. Working in partnership with tenant farmers, the landowners, conservationists and local stakeholders, the Youth Leadership Group will restore habitats and ecosystems and explore innovative farming and forestry approaches to provide a healthy support system for people, biodiversity and agriculture.
It is intended that the initiative, which was devised by charity Action for Conservation, will create a blueprint for how youth action and conservation can bring change for the greater good of the environment. Van Hensbergen, chief-executive of Action for Conservation, said: “We are at a critical juncture when it comes to our environment,” said . “A recent UN report calls for transformative change to avert an extinction crisis.
“Now is the time to take positive action to reverse ecological and climate breakdown and there is compelling evidence to show the value of restoring nature to halt biodiversity loss and act as a natural climate solution.”
The Youth Leadership Group, who are made up of a diverse group from across the UK, will visit Penpont four times a year. They will also keep up with progress via regular meetings held over video link.
The youth leaders will also be expected to plan work with local school pupils and others to help them learn more about nature conservation. As members of the Youth Leadership Group grow up and move on, other young people will take their place.
One of the participants, 16-year-old Deep Shah from London said: “An opportunity to transform a landscape doesn’t come around often. We are thankful for the faith and trust given to us by the landowners and tenant farmers, and we look forward to learning from each other and working together to create change. More people need to care about our environment in the UK and beyond, and our hope is that this pioneering project will inspire others to follow in our footsteps and spark a chain reaction of similar projects. If we can do it, then why can’t you?”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com