120 Young Darwin Scholars from 2012-2019

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’. 15 Scholarships are awarded each year to young people aged 16 and 17 living in the UK who have demonstrated their interest and potential.

  • Young Darwin Scholars looking at insects
  • Ian Cheeseborough teaching Young Darwin Scholars about bees
  • young people learning outdoors
  • Young Darwin Scholar looking at insect with hand held microscope

All Young Darwin Scholars (YDS) attend an introductory five-day residential course at FSC Preston Montford near Shrewsbury – the home town of Charles Darwin. In subsequent years the YDS are offered support and other opportunities to develop knowledge and skills. YDS from different years meet each other at reunions and on subsidised courses. They build friendships and are also able to provide advice and support through social media including top tips on university and course choices. Above all they enjoy spending time with other YDS – people of their own age who have a similar enthusiasm and interest for the natural world.

The Young Darwin Scholarship has received 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. Thanks to this generous support FSC is able to provide ongoing support and opportunities for the Young Darwin Scholars.

Something clicked. Maybe it was Bio-Blitzing in and around the centre, digging for earthworms or sweep netting the long grass. I was in awe of the identification skills of the tutors, their knowledge of the local area and their understanding of the impact each organism had on the ecosystem as a whole. The exploration, the fresh air, the use of field guides and searching for different species. It was clear I was more enthusiastic than most about looking up at trees and rummaging under logs.

Olivia Cairns, 2013 Young Darwin Scholar

It is with great regret that FSC has made the decision to cancel the Young Darwin Scholarship for 2020.

Although government lockdown rules are gradually easing, we do not feel we can offer the full YDS experience in August 2020.

FSC is developing exciting plans to expand the scheme in the future, with more scholarship places on offer, in more locations and with much more promotion and marketing so we can reach greater numbers of young people going forward.

YDS has been in its current form since 2012 and we will take this opportunity to review, learn lessons and plan for expansion. New guidelines will be shared here as soon as possible.

To quote Charles Darwin himself “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change”.

Finally it is important to recognise that FSC’s YDS offering would not be possible without donations and support from many organisations and individuals. We are grateful for your continued support for this fantastic scheme and will work hard in our review, to ensure that we can continue to inspire a new generation of young people, passionate and knowledgeable about natural history.


  • 2019 Young Darwin Scholars out in the countryside
  • 2019 Young Darwin Scholars in canoes
  • 2019 Young Darwin Scholarsin Shropshire
  • 2019 Young Darwin Scholars in canoes
  • 2019 Young Darwin Scholars in Shropshire
  • 2019 Young Darwin Scholars looking at a mouse
  • 2019 Young Darwin Scholars at FSC Preston Montford

Find out about FSC marine science campsgeology campssummer camps and Duke of Edinburgh Gold residentials