Our informed, inspiring and engaged young people have led on a number of their own projects. Read all about them below.
The students loved it (so much so I couldn’t get one to leave!
In November 2019, the Our Bright Future project worked with the Natural History Consortium to host Communicate+ , an environmental conference for young people at Bristol Zoo. Over 85 young people from schools and youth groups across the city came together to learn more about important environmental issues such as plastics, climate change and the ecological emergency.
This was a youth led project where staff ran planning and development meetings with our newly formed youth forum and young volunteers to hear about what environmental issues they would like to learn about and how they would want an event like this to run.
The students really enjoyed it and found a number of the speakers really inspirational”
There were speakers on the night from the Woodland Trust, Bath University, Avon Wildlife Trust Youth forum, the Our Bright Future National team and the school strike movement. It was a great evening learning all about behaviour change and the students put what they had learnt into creating their own behaviour change campaigns! We had great feedback from the event with one school deciding to set up their own ‘Eco Council’ and another did a plastic awareness demonstration in the school cafeteria.
The Youth Forum Beginnings
As an advocacy and youth project Our Bright Future was an obvious fit to develop a youth forum. We set to outlining a proposal for the Board. While reception for the idea was warm we quickly realised that the drive needed to come from the young people themselves. So we asked all the young people we met this same question: “If you could change one thing for the environment and yourself what would it be?”
In November 2018 we brought the youth voice to the Avon Wildlife Trust AGM and announced our intention to form a youth forum.
We hoped to fill a branch with leaves written by the young people, but we brought a small forest, three large branches carrying the voices of over 100 young people filled the back of the room. We played recordings of the participants speaking about their connection to nature and their hopes for change through headphones for a fully immersive experience.
Their main concerns and areas for change were reducing littering and more recycling, stopping plastic use, improving and creating green spaces/homes for wildlife, global warming, pollution and clean air.
The Youth Forum in 2021
The Forum has gone strength to strength and have played a key part in the Communicate + conference, by inputting into the sessions, speakers and content, as well as facilitating workshops, timekeeping and introducing the speakers on the night. The group created social media content throughout the first lockdown and have worked with other teams at the trust, such as writing articles for the magazine and blogs with the communications team.
One of the posts on social media from the forum was to highlight other young local activists which has built up the AWT and other young people’s networks. With one young person saying “I think a positive change is amplification of the youth voice. Young people’s perspectives are becoming more valued – but we still have far to go before young activist are heard equitably”. I feel this is one of the main achievements of the youth forum and the project, giving young people a place to voice themselves and creating that online network. Participation in the project has allowed the young people to build up connections and meet likeminded young people which they have really enjoyed.