FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Young Darwin Scholarship 2016

The 2016 Young Darwin Scholars (YDS) met for their introductory residential at Preston Montford in August. As in previous years among the YDS there was a mixture of expert and generalist knowledge.  The young people came from throughout the UK and all had demonstrated their enthusiasm and knowledge to gain their scholarship.

The individuals quickly made friends and were a warm and friendly group that experts commented on how much they enjoyed working with.    

The programme followed a similar format as previous years with trips to the Stiperstones, exploring the mines of Snailbeach, canoeing on the River Severn, birdwatching at Venus Pool and a Bioblitz at the Preston Montford Estate.

The experts they met over the course of the five days covered a wide range of interests and specialisms including biological recording, botany, entomology, public engagement, conservation and land management, environmental management consultancy and geology.

On the last day, the Young Darwin’s all received their Young Darwin Scholarship Certificates. A great ending to the excellent five days enjoyed by all.

Here are what some said about their experience:

 "I really wanted to thank you all for a fantastic few days in Preston Montford on the Young Darwin Course. The experience has really broadened my horizons and helped me to develop a better knowledge and understanding of the natural world and I've come away with some great ideas about how to pursue my interests further." John McNulty

"The Young Darwin Scholarship has been an excellent opportunity to get involved in nature and meet new people. On the first day we did a Citizen Survey to observe the number of earth worms found in different types of soil. After this we were able to get to know each other a bit better over dinner.

The second day saw us walking over the Stiperstones - a rock structure formed over 480 million years ago. We were able to have a private underground tour of the mines where we walked through the network of tunnels to reach the shafts, some of which, over 500m deep. In the evening we set small mammal traps in the local hedgerows and then went badger watching at a local set - some of us were lucky enough to see the badgers, despite the dismal weather!

On the third day we went canoeing on the River Severn - we paddled 10 miles down the river observing aquatic organisms as well as the spread of Himalayan Balsam. It was also a great opportunity to build on our friendships we had already made! After dinner we went to the nearby Venus Pool to do some Bird Watching where we were fortunate enough to see a Sparrow Hawk and a Barn Owl. On our final full day, we undertook a Bioblitz of the local area around Preston Montford - we had the help of local experts in different fields such as bees and insects, soil fauna as well as small mammals. This saw us splitting into small groups with each expert, surveying the site and finding out more information about our chosen areas – we were lucky enough to see a Great Crested Newt which was a rare sighting! On the final evening we had a walk with Children from Vision England to understand the natural world from a different perspective.

We then celebrated the week together by playing games and sharing our amazing experiences. Overall the week has been amazing and would be thoroughly recommended to anyone interested in Nature, Natural History or the outdoors!" Ed Chaplin 

Check out Sorrel Lyall's experience on her Wildlife blog.

Check out Louise Marsh's experience on the BSBI News and Views blog.

2017 Young Darwin Scholarships will be open early next year find out what the scholarship could do for your career.

Friday, September 30, 2016