Set up by young people, for young people, Youngwilders is a non-profit organisation focused on accelerating the rewilding of the UK and educating and energising a new generation of environmentalists. They bring together young people and landowners to facilitate youth-led nature recovery projects at small sites (under 100 acres). With their first projects well underway, they have their eyes set on expanding, rewilding more sites and engaging more young people around the UK.
Youngwilders organise youth volunteering days which engage young people with their natural environment, as well as running talks and events to engage young people, and working with landowners to deliver site-specific plans to enhance biodiversity and capture carbon.
All projects are small scale, designed for and by young people (aged 18-25), and all involve youth volunteer days, including tree planting, wildflower seeding, and river restoration activities.
On larger projects they set up a Youth Volunteer Council to be involved in the decision-making process and to receive seminars in environmental conservation. They also organise an annual Youth Rewilding Summit to engage with young environmentalists and other rewilding organisations.
Youngwilders currently has eight active youth-lead rewilding projects, including:
- 30-acre nature restoration project in Sussex
- Wildflower meadow creation in Rye
- Hedgerow planting in Surrey
- Urban wildflower meadow creation project in Islington
- 25-acre woodland and river restoration project in Essex
- Young persons rewilding summit at the Knepp Wildland Estate in Sussex.
So far they have begun rewilding over 200 acres of land, directly engaged with over 250 young people in person, engaged with 2000 young people online and they plan to more than double these numbers next year.
Their long-term aim is to build a community of environmentally engaged young people that can be the catalyst for major change in the ecology of the UK in years to come. They would like to have a small nature recovery project up and running in every county of the UK, so that any young person who wants to make a practical difference, or gain experience in conservation, will be able to do so in their local area.
Funds from the Matthew Good Foundation would help Youngwilders towards their aim of doubling their outreach work next year. They are planning new ‘biodiversity monitoring daysʼ, where young people are taught how to identify plant species and produce electronic survey results maps, and they also aim to improve workshop accessibility including providing transport, purchasing equipment and focussing outreach on more communities where young people do not have access to natural spaces.