Youth Advisory Panel
Meet our panel of young volunteers who help steer BTO to better serve our younger supporters. Over the course of 2020, these ten panellists will be working towards an inclusive and extensive Youth Engagement Strategy, helping BTO inspire the next generation of birdwatchers.
Arjun, 16, London
Arjun is a 16-year-old nature-lover from South London. While birdwatching has always been his greatest passion, he also enjoys environmental campaigning and photography. He volunteers for the National Trust, and is an ambassador for the Cameron Bespolka Trust and #iwill campaign. Since he’s keen to help younger generations - of all ethnic backgrounds - understand and enjoy nature, he can't wait to get involved with supporting the BTO's work.
Conor, 24, South Glamorgan
Conor is currently in the final year of his PhD at Cardiff University, in the field of environmental psychology. His research is looking at how to encourage visitors to be more environmentally friendly in the Brecon Beacons National Park through behavioural interventions like signs, social media campaigns and interpretation. He’s a keen birder and also has an interest in photography and videography.
Ellie, 17, Shropshire
Ellie is a 17-year-old young naturalist based in Shropshire. At the moment she’s studying maths, geography and biology for her A-levels. She’s a keen birder, horticulturist and photographer and started a wildlife gardening club from scratch at her school over two years ago, where their work to fundraise over £2,000 has helped transform their school environment and lead her to be RHS Young School Gardener of the Year and an ambassador for the Cameron Bespolka Trust. Having been to BTO youth events previously she understands BTO’s importance and looks forward to enhancing the program to inspire future generations!
Emma, 18, Surrey
Emma is a gap year student, continually growing her knowledge of and interest in various aspects of wildlife monitoring. She is passionate about the environment and strives to use and develop her skills to create solutions to preserve our planet for the future. She looks forward to beginning a degree in Biology in October 2020. With her love for birds and enthusiasm for science, she is excited to join the Youth Advisory Panel to work in a field that fascinates her and create new ways to inspire the next generation.
Greg, 24, London
Greg is 24 and currently works on science communication at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London. He studied Earth Sciences at university - so he knows more about rocks than birds - but he’s particularly interested in how people connect with nature and environmental issues, be that biodiversity loss, climate change or natural hazards. He’s looking forward to working with the Youth Advisory Panel to make sure as many young people as possible can get involved in BTO's scientific work in ways that are meaningful for the individuals and the organisation... and to learning more about birds along the way.
Matt, 20, Norfolk
Matt is a 20-year-old lad from Essex currently residing in North Norfolk. Birding has always been his passion and he’s been an obsessive birder since the age of 10, and has been lucky enough to have many great experiences within this hobby for a relatively young person. He’s currently a residential volunteer at RSPB Titchwell, as well as previously being an assistant warden in Hamford Water, and he is determined to get more young people into birding and conservation. He’s hoping to use his experiences and enthusiasm in doing so, and that's why he looks forward to working towards this goal with many likeminded people.
Maura, 18, London
Maura is 18 years old and is in her first year of studying Biology at the University of Oxford. She loves learning about nature and ecology, and she would like to go into research and conservation in the future. As someone who is newer to birding, she is really excited to be part of the panel to help engage more young people from different backgrounds with the work of the BTO, and how they can get involved.
Megan, 16, Buckinghamshire
Megan is a 16-year-old wildlife enthusiast from Buckinghamshire, and she is currently studying biology, psychology and geography for her A-levels. Her aspiration is to study zoology at university and pursue a career in conservation in the future. She is currently a volunteer stock watcher and youth work party participant at her local nature reserve, College Lake, where she enjoys birding and photography as often as she can. She really enjoys getting involved with the BTO at their stand at wildlife events, such as Birdfair.
Samuel, 19, London / Dorset
Sam has been interested in wildlife since he was 8 years old, which has seen him trying to turn his hobby into a profession and also to try and get others actively involved in his main hobby, which is birdwatching, and nature. He is currently studying Ecology and Wildlife Conservation at Bournemouth University and volunteers for the BTO by doing BBS and being a trainee ringer. He also volunteers during the holidays for the London Wildlife Trust, RSPB, and Heath Hands, as well as being a Young Ambassador for the Cameron Bespolka Trust. He is looking forward to being on the Youth Advisory Panel as it provides a great opportunity to help shape the future of young people within the BTO. He hopes the Panel will be able to provide a great opportunity to inspire the next generation of wildlife enthusiasts to come and volunteer for the BTO and to get more recognition for the younger people who already make a difference within the BTO.
Sorrel, 21, Lothian
Sorrel is a 2nd Year Ecology student at the University of Edinburgh and a keen birder and trainee ringer. Whilst growing up, she knew a handful of young birders around the UK and had the opportunity to meet up with them at a few events each year. However, in her school and local area, and even during her first year of university, she was the odd one out. She thinks there is huge potential to make a real difference at a local and national scale, by supporting local birding groups for young people in schools and universities. She’s eager to help bring down the barriers that restrict young people from accessing nature; by building a network of like-minded young people, providing the physical means to develop skills in this hobby and career, and creating welcoming groups that young people feel proud to be part of.
Read our Young Birder Blog
Read fresh takes on birding and volunteering for BTO from young volunteers, and join the conversation.Browse Young Birder posts
Gen Z and the BTO
Amy Hall discusses how BTO can better provide opportunities for the next generation of ornithologists.
BTO's Young Leaders Course
The attendees of BTO's Young Leaders Course reflect on what they learned at Spurn.