Keeping it Wild

An inclusive social action project providing opportunities for young people to engage in creative wildlife conservation and campaigning. 

Keeping it Wild is a programme that brings the youth and conservation sectors together to provide exciting opportunities for young people to engage with and protect the capital’s wild spaces, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund 

London Youth is a part of a consortium of organisations led by London Wildlife Trust to deliver a three-year programme that will inspire hundreds of young people. It encourages young people to reflect on natural spaces, learn more about protecting wildlife and then take part in developing and delivering a project or creative campaign to raise awareness and encourage practical conservation in local communities. 

How does it work? 

In its final year of delivery London Youth is supporting its members to involve groups of young people aged between 11 and 25 who traditionally may not engage in wildlife conversation or  environmental social action.  

As the sector adapts to the current context, we are working to ensure programme continues to have a positive impact. We are increasingly aware that connecting with nature and the wellbeing benefits this brings are so important right now. With this in mind, flexibility to this programme include moving delivery online where better suited, stages and funding being combined to increase accessibility and project criteria are being adapted to what is doable now.  

Keeping it Wild will support groups of young people through progressive stages: 

1. Discover and Explore stage – each group will get an interactive online introduction to the programme – a ‘Wild Meet’ – with London Youth and the London Wildlife Trust, to understand the importance of protecting our local wildlife now. It will cover how to design and deliver a project that works within the current context and will raise awareness and inspire others. This will also include some media training with Headliners with plenty of ways to get creative. Following this you will receive the resources to dive deeper into using multi-media as a tool to support your project and challenges you can use on your guided walk at a London Wildlife Trust site. During this stage your group will have the opportunity to decide on a fun team bonding experience together. 

2. Share and Conserve stages – after a few online group sessions, led by your youth worker and your participants the young people will decide on an idea to have a positive impact on the natural environment. This could be by creating digital media content, running a social media campaign, or getting the community involved through your creativity. It could also involve a practical conservation project, like creating a natural habitat to attract more wildlife to your area or creating a garden for your community. All of these methods will have a positive impact on how young people interact with their local green spaces and wildlife and leave a lasting impression on the importance of nature, especially in urban areas. 

As they develop their own digital social action projects and campaigns, young people will gain vital skills such as teamwork, media skills, increased resilience and improved wellbeing as well as building their confidence in working on environmental issues. 

What else is included? 

An additional offer as part of Keeping it Wild is the opportunity to gain a John Muir Award from the John Muir Trust to help structure young people’s learning about nature as well as receive media training with Headliners to document their experiences whilst working on their projects. 

Keeping it Wild Social Action Project delivered during lockdown   

We’ve had great success with Keeping it Wild adapted to work online and have seen some fantastic projects since March focusing on wellbeing, nature, mental health and building connections in local green spaces and through environmental action. It’s great opportunity for young people to reflect on how nature and the environment have helped them through this difficult time.

Below are some great projects delivered this past year:

The Youth Eco Development Council are a group of young people who are passionate about creating change in the Thamesmead area. YEDC organised a litter pick and collected 2,500 litres of rubbish to create an aerial art piece of raise awareness of the extinction of the Marsh Harrier, an endangered bird of prey, once common in Thamesmead. Watch their video below to see the beautiful art piece

AlexZ Youth Club created an amazing Keeping it Wild Documentary about the importance of nature, wellbeing during lockdown. It was great to see how even at a social distance they were able to adapt and make connections with one another.

AUTUS created a 3D virtual world to teach people about conservation and how to make hedgehog houses, birdboxes, wildlife crossings and composters to support nature and wildlife. Their dedicated FLICKR  Keeping it Wild page includes instructions on how you can make your own objects to save London’s Wildlife!

Phoenix Rising Youth Club focused on learning about the canals and waterways that pass through NW10 to understand the value of the waterways and how they can be accessed by everyone in the community. They did some amazing individual photo research, walks and took note of the surrounding environment. This was all in  preparation of the future actions of river and waterways clearance and identifying sites for tree planting and creating community orchards.

Surrey Docks Farm adapted their original idea into an online campaign, keeping the same message as before to help improve knowledge about pollinators and to involve more local people in projects/initiatives to plant wildflowers or trees for pollinators and to learn more about them.

I’m a London Youth member, how can I get involved? Get in touch with Allia, our Youth Action Delivery Officer.

We are currently recruiting for organisations to take part in this programme across London. If you’d like to register your interest in taking part or would like to learn more about the project, contact  allia.fredericks@londonyouth.org  or fill out a Keeping it Wild Partnership & Proposal Agreement