We're launching a fundraising appeal to raise £50,000 in the next few months to help expand our work connecting children and young people with nature.
Today, we launch a fundraising appeal to help inspire a love of nature in the next generation.
Over the coming months, we're appealing for donations to help us raise £50,000 for our Children and Nature Fund to help expand our work supporting children and young people to enjoy the benefits of being in nature.
A 2019 study commissioned by The Wildlife Trusts found that children’s wellbeing increased after they had spent time in nature, showing increased personal wellbeing and health over time, and high levels of enjoyment. Most children taking part in the study reported that after time in nature, they felt capable of doing new things when they tried, had more confident in themselves and reported better relationships with teachers and classmates.
Natalie Bailey, our Engagement Director, said: “We want to help every child and young person in Norfolk to develop a love of nature, to enjoy all the benefits it brings and to grow up wanting to protect it.
“We already help up to 4,000 young people to enjoy and benefit from time in nature each year, but at such a vital time for supporting our wildlife and the wellbeing of our young people, there is so much more we must do.
“Our Children and Nature Fund exists to help to create wilder spaces where our children live, learn and play, and helps to develop new and exciting opportunities to inspire the next generation to enjoy and care for wildlife.
“If you know a young person that would love to have more opportunities to enjoy our county’s special wildlife, every donation, no matter how small or large, will help us to make this possible.”
Patrick Barkham, nature writer, parent and our President, explains: “Nature brings us joy and mental and physical good health and yet many children spend less time outdoors than ever before. One of the best things we can do for wildlife – and for our children – is to give them more opportunities to enjoy and learn about the natural world. Helping children of all backgrounds into nature is the first step to saving the planet!”
One of the initiatives that could benefit from your donations to the Children and Nature Fund include our Wilder Schools programme.
As part of this programme, we are already working with three Norfolk schools, including Fairhaven Primary School, to help wildlife thrive in their grounds and deliver more learning outside, so children can enjoy and support the wildlife on their doorstep.
Stephanie Lake, Head Teacher at Fairhaven Primary School, said: “Being part of the Wilder Schools Project has enabled us to teach parts of the science curriculum outside, which helps children really connect with their learning and see how environmental issues are as relevant in our local environment as they are in other parts of the world.
“With children’s wellbeing on everyone’s mind, enabling our children to learn collaboratively on a project they feel invested in is also vitally important to their personal development. Our school values the opportunity Norfolk Wildlife Trust has given us, and it will be great if children from other schools can benefit in the same way.”
Another initiative that could gain support from your donations is our Wilder Wardens scheme, which invites 11-16 year-olds to meet each month at a nature reserve to carry out practical conservation tasks alongside one of our wardens.
Hetty, Wilder Warden, says of her experience at Hickling Broad: “I always wanted to help wildlife. I found out about Wilder Wardens by going to an open evening at Sheringham High School. I really enjoy going to these sessions as they have allowed me to make new friends and I can help wildlife at the same time. I am hoping that I will be better able to help our local environment, as this is really important to me.”
A successful appeal could also see us providing more opportunities for young people experiencing challenges to enjoy the benefits of being in nature and creating a youth advisory board to empower young people to make a difference for wildlife.
Our vision is that locality, cost, access to transport, mobility or ethnicity should not be a barrier to accessing wild green spaces and that all children and young people, regardless of background, can experience nature.
All funds raised during this appeal will go towards our work supporting children and young people.
To donate to the appeal, visit: www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/can