On October 27th we gathered at camping Ganspoort near the city centre of Utrecht for the second “scrum” (or brainstorm) in the life of FFN Academy. The meeting room at Ganspoort proved to be the best place for an unconstrained free flow of ideas about FFN Academy activities in 2019. The great thing about FFN Academy is that it is young and dynamic: students and young graduates join for shorter or longer times, network, get inspired, and inspire others. We welcomed new members, we learned from things that could have gone better in the past, and we jump into the future with the same enthusiasm.
Our internal structure-and-communication will be improved, making it easier for new people to find their way in how we operate, without compromising the simple and “flat” structure of our movement. This should be operational before 2018 comes to a close.
We listened, thought, talked and discussed past events, and figured out which ones could be replicated at other locations without putting too much pressure on the shoulders of the organisers. Logbooks likely enable us to see more citizen science projects (such as “Zooniversing”), pub quizzes, public lectures with general public involvement and other activities across several locations in the Netherlands. A location calendar will help too, whereas we remain opportunistic. After all, if an FFN award winner or other conservation hero is around, we will create a platform at short notice to meet & mingle. Never waste an opportunity to get infected with their passion!
Another highlight was Ruben’s presentation on his recent travels to South East Asia, where he visited several FFN award winners’ projects in the Philippines (Patricia Davis, C3), Indonesia (Rudi Putra, Forum Konservasi Leuser and Farwiza Farhan, HAkA) and Vietnam (Thai Van Nguyen, Save Vietnam’s Wildlife), concluding with a trip to Iran. Ruben took a year off from his studies, worked to fund for his travels, produced blogs and vlogs (see http://ffnacademy.org/future-for-nature-academy-report/) and spoke passionately about his experiences, originating from him actively taking part in the FFN Academy Day on 30 March 2017 (http://ffnacademy.org/events-overview/page/3/). How one event changed his life! His experiences rocked our emotions; we were touched by his talk and his concluding video. Ruben’s powerful performance gave rise to discussing how the conservation experiences by other FFN Academy members can also be spread across our networks. We will continue the “Report” section on our website, so stay tuned!
When we created the FFN Academy just over two years ago, we hoped it would inspire young people to focus on the conservation of nature, amidst the adverse conditions of society at large. And to make them feel empowered that they can make the difference. The hope has turned into an exclamation mark. This generation rocks!
By Rascha Nuijten and Ignas Heitkönig