Global Intergenerational Week at BTO

BTO Youth Rep Socks reflects on the role of intergenerational relationships in creating connections with nature.

Socks, Youth Representative


Socks is BTO Youth Representative for Nottinghamshire, studying Zoology at university. Socks loves nature and they are excited to share this passion with more young people and work towards making nature accessible to everyone.


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Intergenerational awareness is particularly important to me as it acknowledges the importance of bridging the gap between younger and older people within a community.

My long-lived love for nature stems from my connections with my grandparents who taught me about different aspects of nature and wildlife, and I am forever grateful for their influence on my life. This has led to many opportunities for myself, such as my current role as a BTO Youth Rep for Nottinghamshire.

When I think about nature, the first person who comes to mind is my grandma and her Barn Owl – Shi Shi. I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to learn how to handle birds of prey, by helping her look after them from my early years. I learnt the importance of rescue centres, as he was adopted from one when he was very small, and the significance of falconry in different cultures.

As I grew up, I regularly visited my local library and loved to read books about birds and other wildlife. I loved to share new facts that I discovered through my research, by creating informative PowerPoints on birds.

It is very clear that my grandma’s interest in birds of prey and falconry has influenced and guided me. After she passed on, I was responsible for caring for Shi Shi and maintaining his welfare. This prompted my interest in animal welfare to grow and thrive as I continued to delve into topics that interested me, making notes on everything that I discovered.

I grew up in an area where people didn’t necessarily understand or appreciate nature, and it was something that I was persistently bullied for. However, I am glad that I didn’t give up on my interest in nature as it has led to many opportunities – such as gaining my falconry qualification at 13 from my local falconry centre. I had an incredible opportunity to learn more about birds in captivity, how to ensure their welfare and how falconry is applied to conservation projects abroad.

From this point onwards, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career working in conservation or at least something bird-related – which is still something I am pursuing. 

My grandma was only one of the positive influences in my life. My grandfather on the opposite side of my family was also very passionate about nature and charitable organisations. He was very interested in UK wildlife, and this was clear in his garden as it was a haven for wildlife! I remember each spring running into the garden to see the frogspawn and tadpoles – hoping to see some fully grown frogs as well! 

It was full of overgrown spaces sheltering Hedgehogs with bird feeders scattered throughout for the flourishing population of garden birds (as well as a very determined Grey Squirrel). My grandfather also taught me about different insects and butterflies – as well as how to take care of the bird feeders to prevent disease. A personal favourite memory was refilling the bird feeders and then learning how to identify the different species that came to the feeders together. There were so many different species that visited his garden – however my personal favourites were the Blue Tits and the Goldfinches.

We would go birdwatching in my grandparents’ garden, in the local area or in nature reserves nearby. We would talk about the different species that we had seen whilst we were apart, and what they were doing. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the different garden bird species that visited his garden, as well as the gulls nesting on his roof. The species he saw included Blue Tits, Bullfinches, Chaffinches, Dunnocks and so many more!

We also took part in many events in my local area such as bat walks, pond dipping and guided birdwatching walks. I really enjoyed these growing up and these memories are something that I treasure. I also learned many valuable skills.

It was because of events like these in my local area and my desire to meet like-minded individuals that I applied to become a BTO Youth Rep! I wanted to share my love for nature with others and help other young people in my local area gain access to valuable skills related to nature. As I progress throughout my life, I like to remember where I came from, and I am forever grateful that I was introduced to the wonders of nature from a young age.

Being a BTO Youth Rep is a huge privilege, and I wasn’t sure I would have the confidence to apply – but I am so glad that I did. I have met so many incredible people who also love nature! As a Youth Rep, I love planning events to teach young people more about nature in their local area and I can’t wait to continue doing what I love with BTO!

Illustrations by Anna Dupont-Crabtree.

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