Northumberland National Park has developed a youth engagement programme to open up the landscape to young people, to help increase confidence, care, and the desire to connect with the natural world on a longer-term basis. The programme is aimed at young people who wish to get more involved with the work of the National Park. The young people are supported in developing their skills and knowledge, and encouraged to inspire and engage with other young people who may then themselves become the next green leaders.
Throughout the Generation Green project, Northumberland National Park work with the Young Green Leaders to help them understand and value the National Park’s distinctive natural and cultural qualities. The Young Green Leaders have the opportunity to get involved with conserving and enhancing these special qualities, as well as enjoying these special landscapes through involvement with organised events and activities.
Jane Riddell, Assistant Youth Engagement Officer at Northumberland National Park, said: “This is a great opportunity for young people to gain some hands-on experience, especially for those who may be looking for a career in the conservation or environmental sector.
“We currently have 14 active Young Green Leaders and from June to September (2021) they have completed 243 hours worth of volunteering. They have taken part in an induction day, training events, and assisted with delivering activities at public events and with youth/school groups. Two of our Young Green Leaders have either completed or are about to do a placement with the National Park’s Ranger Team.”
Jessica Davison is currently studying Environmental Science at Northumbria University and has been involved with the Project over the last few months. She said: “So far, I have taken part in a day up Simonside with Berwick Youth Group doing a navigation task, and I have been along to The Sill to learn about footpath maintenance along a World Heritage Site, which was very interesting. I have also been helping plant sphagnum moss on Cheviot as part of the Cheviot Restoration Project, which is a very rewarding task (especially when you think of the justifications behind this project).”