Our Bright Future - Emma's Story

Our Bright Future - Emma's Story

The Our Bright Future youth project has been a resounding success, involving hundreds of young people aged 11 - 24 in the life of the Trust, as well as training them in conservation skills and helping them make friends they’ll keep forever. We know how little time we have left to fix the climate crisis we as a species have created, and with young people increasingly disconnected from nature, our efforts to involve them in conservation work could not be more important. Across Avon, many of our young people now have a story to tell about their wildlife journey. In the second blog of a series, it’s 17 year-old Emma Revell’s turn to tell her story.

My interest in nature started in childhood. I was brought up going on walking holidays in places like the mountains in Scotland or the Mendips, so I got to see a diverse range of habitats and spaces to learn about nature. Living so close to green spaces, like Stoke Park Estate in Bristol, where there is a range of woodland and nature, also fired up my love for looking after the wildlife that surrounds us. 

I have many early memories of helping on the Our Bright future project. On one occasion, my friend and I were the only ones to turn up to a planting session in Lockleaze – but we did plant lots of wildflowers!  Satisfyingly, there is evidence that our efforts that day helped, because now there are flowers AND wildflowers across the square.

The next time I was involved with Our Bright Future was for work experience. I wanted to be outside while helping the environment. It gave me an opportunity to learn about nature and green spaces, while also making some friends and being able to see that we’d made a real difference to an area. Activities included raking up hay from a hay cut, painting planter boxes, and creating a project to help younger children learn about nature. 

My experience with Our Bright Future has definitely improved my understanding of nature, because as we work, I can also learn about different habitats and the species that are there. I’ve learnt about different types of birds and their calls, as well as surveying the species of wildlife at sites like Grow Wilder.

Volunteering over the summer has also allowed me to reconnect with others, easing some of the sense of isolation I had experienced during lockdown. In fact, it has been key to my wellbeing. One of the Our Bright Future days was created purely with mental health in mind.  We weaved sheep’s wool into mats to sit on, taking the opportunity to meditate as we sat quietly outside. The fact that Our Bright Future prioritises improving wellbeing in young people, while also helping to protect the environment, makes it a great scheme to volunteer with.

We have been fortunate enough to have had the funding for a project like Our Bright Future for the past five years, which has enabled us to deliver this essential work with young people. As the project draws to an end we are looking to the future to continue this work. We know the power of connection and working together is the best way forward, so if you would like to help, get involved or share ideas, we would love hear from you.