Youth in Nature Summit 2024 – more than we hoped for

Esther, YAP


Youth Advisory Panel Member

Esther has been into birding and nature since she was nine, which has now developed into a passion for the environment.


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The summer of 2023 saw WWF UK’s Youth Ambassadors, the BTO’s Youth Advisory Panel and the RSPB’s Youth Council come together in partnership with visions and ideas for a second Youth in Nature Summit, following on from the initial one hosted in 2022. Over the following few months these ideas and visions began to come together over numerous Zoom meetings until the 17 February 2024 arrived.

More than we hoped for

Held at the David Attenborough Building in Cambridge, watching the attendees come together and the Summit unfold over that weekend was the reward we had been anticipating after months of planning and work. The enthusiasm and passion of the attendees and dedicated investment from all the inspiring speakers and panels made the event more than what we had hoped for. 

We structured our vision for the Summit around three overarching aims: 

  • Connecting young people and leaders; 
  • Empowering attendees to build skills and confidence to have a positive impact on people and nature;
  • Inspiring organisations and young people to take meaningful action together. 

Day one

The first day was centred around creating conversations between young people and organisations to gain an awareness of common goals, challenges, and next steps to work together in a meaningful way. 

Simply the atmosphere that was created through a room full of young people and adults from many organisations was inspiring, and the day that followed strengthened these connections: from the plenary talk from Butterfly Conservation, who brought a unique and inspiring perspective after implementing their youth programme since the last Summit, to Richard Benwell, Chief executive of Wildlife & Countryside Link, and his insights on ‘getting your voice heard’, we could not have asked more from the speakers and panellists who diligently delivered our aims with their unique experiences and talent. 

Day two

The second day was centred around helping young people develop the skills, confidence and connections they need to have a positive impact on people and nature. The hope created by the amount of young people attending and their shared passion really drove that day.

And, of course, the panellists and speakers inspired and empowered the youth and leaders alike in the room to create a unifying hope and understanding. This included Megan McCubbin as our plenary to start the day with her enthusiasm, Ajay Tegala on ‘finding your voice’, and Ramandeep Nijjar and Seniz Mustafa from UK Youth for Nature on ‘using your voice for good’.

Sunday ended with the Youth Empowerment Fair, with representations from incredible organisations, and then the Careers Fair for which we were joined by professionals from the conservation sector. 

But the Summit did not end there

The connections that grew over just these two days are simply the beginning. It’s connection we need to empower youth and hand over the reins to them, whilst simultaneously creating stronger ties and collaboration between young people and organisations in the conservation sector. 

If the Summit showed anything, it is that together we are strengthened by our many perspectives. In the end we have a universal goal: we are in this together for nature.

We hope that, whilst people walked out of the David Attenborough Building at the end of the day, they did not walk away from the networks and collaboration that were created and that these will remain for the future of our young people and the natural world. 

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