My name is Elizabeth and over the last six months, I worked as a Youth Engagement & Administration Assistant at Action for Conservation (AFC). I joined AFC as part of the Race for Nature’s Recovery Kickstarter programme, which supported young people to enter the nature sector through work placements at environmental organisations across the country.
My experience as a Kickstarter was an unexpected one; I never knew there was an opportunity like this for young people in the environmental sector and I did not have previous work experience in the environment. To quote Jasmine from Aladdin it was ‘a whole new world’! It’s been a pleasant experience to work in the sector as I was able to educate myself on environmental issues and become more conscious of how my actions impact the environment. I received support from my manager and the Race for Nature mentoring team, who provided me with monthly mentoring and progress check-ins to help me achieve my goals. One of my goals was to plan an event and I can successfully say that it has been achieved, as I organised the final Race for Nature’s Recovery Kickstarter Action Day and Celebration event.
I’ve also had the opportunity to spend lots of time in nature during my placement. This has really helped me, especially because I don’t have that much opportunity to go out anywhere other than my back garden to take part in nature activities. Being on this journey has allowed me to learn new skills and re-energise myself and take time outside of the world of social media and city life and most of all go on fun adventures! For example, I enjoyed canoeing and spotting Sand Martins skimming the water next to me during the AFC team away week. Experiences like this have definitely been a highlight of my time here at AFC.
My favourite experience from my time at AFC was judging Unifrog’s “Save the Planet” competition. I helped evaluate and decide which of the student-led environmental action projects submitted from around the world would receive funding for their idea. There were presentation pitches from all over the world, including Malaysia, Brazil and the UK, and they all focused on tackling climate change and biodiversity loss. It was really great to see such creative solutions, no two ideas were the same. Even though the pitches were all from different parts of the world and each idea was different, they still had one central mission, which was really inspiring. I also really enjoyed joining the team as a leader on the AFC Summer Camps, where I learned about foraging, plant and animal identification and worked directly with the young people.
In the future, I hope to gain more experience in digital marketing and print media and continue building my experience in events management. My placement has helped me take the first step in this direction by exposing me to event planning and social media, skills that I will now take forward in the future.
Thanks for reading!