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Make a Change Today!

In order to preserve the Earth as we know it, the individuals of this planet must make a conscious effort to make a change. I, Tamar, aged 16 am an activist who is part of that change along with the other young people - together we are part of the Manchester Nature Consortium's Youth Panel. Each year we make appearances at different events discussing nature, for instance, recently another young person and I spoke at the Sustainability Show where we spoke about the effect of the general public's everyday habits on the environment. Notably, we help organise and have a stall at the Manchester Festival of Nature (MFoN) each year!

Tamar and Harry, Youth Panel members at the Manchester Festival of Nature 2023.

Witness to the imminent issues with our world’s environment and climate, I felt compelled to make a change. After watching documentary after documentary and no longer ignorant of the dilemmas in the world around me, I decided it was time to make an active change outside my school's eco club and that's what led me to start my activism journey with the Youth Panel. Who would have thought an application form that I completed 2 years ago would have led to so many unforgettable memories and experiences?

Tamar in the uplands in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Inspired by the theme of wildlife, our focus this year was on what ordinary people can do to support nature around them, a theme we decided upon after meticulous planning. After weeks of consideration, we were finally able to get together on the magical 25th of June and bring our vision to life. One thing many festivalgoers enjoyed about our stall was the smelling challenge where we laid 5 different scents in different cups on the table. The challenge was to match each scent to the correct smell whether that was vanilla, lavender, banana, fish paste or even ginger. It did prove to be quite the challenge as very few people were able to get all 5 correct!

Tamar and the Youth Panel leading an activity at MFoN.

Our DIY bird feeder proved a marvellous success also, with numerous children enjoying stringing together the bits and pieces, placing the bird food into the feeder and decorating their masterpiece. Our stall wasn't the only delight to enjoy, as the myriad of stalls all around provided a variety of activities and particularly the festival parade where people walked around and rode bikes holding up cut-out flowers and bees and playing music around Heaton Park meant there was something there for everyone.

Youth Panel members Harry and Grace leading the parade at MFoN.

All in all, there's no denying that the Manchester Festival of Nature took a large amount of effort and was hard work. With that being said, just like all things that take careful cultivation, it was a day full of memories, spreading awareness about the Youth Panel's message and most importantly it was a day full of fun. It provided us with an outlet to advise other charities to take into consideration young people's perspectives as they were at the forefront of the ideas that were brought to life that day. I certainly won't forget about the time I had alongside my fellow Youth Panel members that day and looking back at the joy I felt then as I write this article you're reading, just reminds me as much as you why it's a gift to be passionate about nature, a gift I hope never to lose!

Thanks for reading!

By Tamar, 16

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