In 2021, FSC gave life-changing experiences to 75 people with biodiversity training and mentoring.

The Young Darwin Scholarship is an FSC initiative to encourage and support young people who have a real interest in the natural world – to develop the next generation of ‘Darwins’.

  • Young people outdoors looking in at insects
  • Ian Cheeseborough teaching Young Darwin Scholars about bees
  • Young people looking in to microscopes
  • young people learning outdoors
  • Two young people outdoors looking at wildlife ID guide
  • Young Darwin Scholar looking at insect with hand held microscope
  • Two young people looking in to an insect net
  • Young people looking in to microscopes
  • Young Darwin Scholars looking at insects

The scholarship starts with a heavily subsidised 5-day residential trip, or series of days, at an FSC location which involves a lot of time outdoors in environmentally engaging locations. During the week or series of days the scholars: 

  • Practice a wide range of field and identification skills in areas which have been selected for their variety of plants, trees, invertebrates, and other wildlife.
  • Gain practical observation, planning, and recording skills through a series of real-life application tasks, including creating mini management plans, using microscopes, and mapping on GIS (*tasks dependent on location)
  • Explore a range of landscapes and learn how these areas are managed and conserved, guided by organisations such as the wildlife trusts, and ANOB rangers.
  • Meet inspirational speakers and experts from different environmental backgrounds to discuss current environmental issues and projects, offer advice, and answer any questions.
  • Build confidence while exploring the outdoors with like-minded people, their own age who share similar interests.

#SponsorAScholar: finding the next generation of Darwins 

FSC has supported nearly 200 ‘Young Darwin’ scholars aged 16-25 for a decade. But right now, demand for FSC scholarships far exceeds our charitable funds.

There are 210 young people who applied successfully in 2021, but which FSC can’t support. This includes people from deprived communities who struggle the most to get the training they need to get environmental employment.

Help us to help them.

Scholars will continue to be supported by a dedicated member of FSC staff, exclusive webinars, heavily subsidised places on FSC’s natural history courses, conservation days, and behind the scenes tours in areas that are environmentally engaging.  

Young people who attend the programme enjoy spending time with other Young Darwin Scholars; people of their own age who have a similar enthusiasm and interest in the natural world. Through the residential and reunions, they build friendships and are able to advise and support each other through a dedicated Facebook group. 

I hadn’t considered that one small application would forge such a pathway through my life. The FSC Young Darwin Scholarship planted and continues to grow my passion for the environment and sustainability. I have met two of my now closest friends, and it has provided a strong link to a community of fellow young people with similar passions and interests.”

Previous Young Darwin Scholar 

Past scholars have continued to study ecology and biology through university degrees and pHDs. They have secured green careers in ecology and conservation, and many are volunteering with various environmental organisations.  

This has all been possible thanks to previous support from The Jean Jackson Trust, The Cross Hills Naturalists’ Society Duncan Clough Grant, The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, The Royal Entomological Society and individual donations. 


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See our other young people opportunities