By Dylan Byrne, Field Studies Council Youth Engagement Officer.
Are you aged 16-25? Do you spend your free time immersed in the natural world?
Have you ever wondered if this hobby or love affair with nature could lead to a career in the long run?
Do you wish you could meet other young people who share this interest who are asking similar questions and be inspired by environmental professionals already working in the green sector?
Well, look no further! The Field Studies Council is delighted to announce that applications for its 2022 Young Darwin Scholarship are open.
The application process is short and sweet, and it is your chance to share your environmental interests, explain what inspires you to get outdoors and describe why you want to be a Young Darwin scholar.
One scholar said, “I feel my love for ecology has been re-sparked. It’s refreshing not to have the stress of being assessed whilst learning in a relaxed yet very informative way. Meeting like-minded people has motivated me to go back home and make a difference.”
We have awarded places to 195 young people over the last 10 years, and this year we have another 75 funded scholarship places available. We believe this is a fantastic and important programme to really help young people with their environmental goals, which is why we only ask scholars to pay 10% (£45 for the day series – £90 for the residential) towards the programme and the rest is covered through grants and donations.
Although we could write pages of why we think this scholarship is great, other organisations who help fund the programme also agree on the benefits of this unique learning opportunity.
Ground Control says: “We are thrilled to sponsor the Young Darwin Scholarship. The program is a fantastic introduction to biodiversity and environmental sustainability, and it creates a community of young people who share similar interests. Ground Control is committed to human nature at its best, and the scholarships provide an excellent introduction to help ensure nature’s recovery.”
But most importantly, here is what past scholars think of the programme:
100% of scholars said they had a greater awareness of environmental pathways they could follow after attending
100% of scholars agree that young people should apply for this opportunity
It’s hard to argue those stats!
One scholar said: “A great week with a fantastic group of people. I’ve made lots of really good friends and learned a lot about plant identification and invertebrates which was something that I had never done before.”
So now you’re thinking this sounds great, organisations support it, other young people find it beneficial, but what actually is it?!
The scholarship starts with an immersive five-day experience integrating fieldwork, identification skills, career guidance, and networking opportunities, led by inspiring experts in ecologically rich environments. This is combined with ongoing mentoring, support and online/in-person training from Field Studies Council specialist staff and a diverse range of mentors.
The scholarship originated from the minds of Field Studies Council staff back in 2012 at our Shropshire field studies centre. This was very convenient as Shropshire also happens to be the birthplace of Charles Darwin! Since then, we have been delivering this programme every year. We listen to the scholars’ feedback and consult our Youth Council to shape it into something that benefits young people the most.
This year we are running it at five easily accessible locations in the UK: Preston Montford in Shrewsbury, Castle Head near Cumbria, Manchester, London and Bristol. Each location is unique, and activities will vary, but here are some snippets from last year.
Now are you thinking of signing up?
Great! We want to hear from all young people with an interest in nature. We particularly want to encourage those who feel a bit excluded from the natural world to apply. Whether you feel unrepresented within the natural world, you have some neurodiverse needs requiring additional support, or the 10% financial contribution is just too difficult to afford, we are here to help you! However, you do need to get in touch if you do require extra support.
Drop Dylan, the Field Studies Council Youth Engagement Officer an email if you have any questions about the scholarship or requests for additional support — [email protected]
Feeling inspired? You know what to do next! Apply today for a Young Darwin Scholarship. Click here to find out more, watch our video from 2021 and most importantly, check what’s involved within the application process!
Applications close 5th June 2022. We look forward to hearing from you!