A ‘tipping point’ in climate change and species loss has seen sixth formers targeted in a fightback mission designed to bring practical help and understanding across swathes of south Cumbria and north Lancashire.
Far-reaching conservation programme, Back on our Map (BOOM), made possible by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and backed by University of Cumbria, has turned to 16 to 18-year-olds for support.
Senior students in schools and colleges are a potential powerhouse of enthusiasm and motivation to make a difference, according to BOOM manager, Jo Sayers, who explained they were being actively encouraged to carry the environmental banner.
She said: “This sector doesn’t have the big promotions or money to encourage young people into conservation and they are often left thinking about it as a career option when it’s too late.
“We wanted to play a part in reversing this trend by asking them to get involved in some of our 10 projects for the reintroduction of endangered flora and fauna. We have offered fieldwork and John Muir award places, which encourages care of wild places.
“Ahead of this year’s A-level results, we wanted to encourage them to think about job opportunities and forge a lifelong interest in protecting wildlife and the environment.
“We are at a tipping point of climate change and species loss. We need our young people to drive forward the issues with practical action.”
Students have been working on tasks around a number of BOOM’s key specimens, including hazel dormice, pine martens, rare plant propagation and butterfly surveys.
Ms Sayers added: “BOOM is engaging with students to give them practical applied experience. We hope to influence and inspire, nurturing a new generation of committed conservationists.
“We’re very grateful to the support from University of Cumbria’s Peter Howarth for photography and filming, as part of is wildlife media course, and Furness College biology student Samantha Haddock, who has put in invaluable work on all species.”
BOOM’s four-year reintroduction programme extends across south Cumbria and into north Lancashire, with Morecambe Bay Partnership overseeing volunteers.