Yesterday was the final day to send in entries to A Focus On Nature. We more than doubled our applications to the project, and on a preliminary reading the quality appears to be outstanding – we have poets, writers, photographers, videographers, PhD candidates, all of whom are positively oozing commitment and passion for the natural world.
It’s been an exciting week for A Focus On Nature; James Shooter, one of our lovely photographers, returned from a week in the Highlands of Scotland with Northshots photography; through A Focus On Nature we managed to secure James a place on one of Peter Cairn’s photography tours, helping him to expand his professional contacts, skills and knowledge (blog to follow). We’ve had news that our sexy new website will be ready to go in the next couple of weeks, providing a better platform for promoting your work, and most excitingly we have received confirmation that Swarovski Optik has officially pledged support to our cause! As such, we have scope for a couple more projects, including wildlife gardening and habitat management, the interaction between children and nature, and possibly best of all (and we’re not quite sure how we’re going to do this yet…) a project on Birdfair 2013! If you’re a member and you fancy getting involved in any of these, then drop me a line; we’re eager to put some teams together and help you build up your skills and your CVs. We also want to know what you would like to see us doing – would you like a conference style event? Workshop days? To submit your own project ideas?
Most importantly, however, I want to say from the heart how inspired I have been in the past few weeks by what A Focus On Nature seems to have achieved. I go on Twitter and Facebook and everyone is nattering away like old friends; some are comparing and sharing photographs, and offering tips for how to get the perfect shot; Beth Aucott has enlisted James Shooter to give a careers talk at the University of Nottingham (she told me that she doesn’t want someone who got a job years ago, she wants the honesty and hard work of a young person at the bottom of the career ladder, someone who can share real, contemporary advice); our first project team, Urban Nature led by Matt Williams, is working tremendously hard on their project on cultural change and migration; members are asking us for references (AND getting job offers to boot); our University Birdwatch Challenge is progressing beautifully with support from BirdTrack, the RSPB and the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
So it seems that what A Focus On Nature can achieve is something far deeper than we ever anticipated – our members are becoming true friends, who aren’t competitive or bitter or selfish, but rather are working together for the benefit of nature conservation. We have nudged them along with the provision of equipment, networks and connections, and a platform for them to explore their own ideas, and they’re doing the rest. This is what’s wonderful about young people, and why eNGOs and wildlife businesses should be making the most of what we have to offer them!
Thanks to all of the wonderful people who have really made this worth while!