FFNA went worldwide! From Melbourne to Mexico to Sweden, people participated in FFNAcademy’s workshop during The Nature Of Cities Festival (22-26 February). This being a rather large festival, our participants were likewise spread over different time zones, and while it was rather dark at 10 PM in the Netherlands, we even had someone joining us from their sunny garden in the USA!
In our workshop “Future For Nature: a toolkit to inspire and mobilize youth for conservation”, on February 23rd, we discussed, together with our participants, what they thought was needed to engage youth in nature conservation. One of the things that stood out, was to let youth speak, to give them a voice. A voice not only to use in protests, but also to use in teaching even younger children, and to inspire others: exactly what we were (and are) trying to accomplish! Art, music, and other cultural and creative aspects could also help to connect to younger generations.
Local activities, focussing on nature nearby the homes of mainly the youngest generation might help to spark curiosity and reconnect children with nature. For older youth, incorporating job opportunities and career mentorship would be a valuable aspect. Finally, collaboration! Not only through connecting with other groups and organisations that already exist, but likewise to schools and local communities, and of course by keeping in touch with participants of previously organised meetings.
We were happy to see that many of the things that are on this wish list —created by our participants— are the things that FFNAcademy does and that we likewise presented in the toolkit that we prepared for this workshop. After proving insights in “our approach” so to say, the task of our participants was to design an activity aiming to involve youth in nature conservation within cities.
In terms of activities, one group came up with the idea to let local schools involve children and young people in creating a wall for insects and other animals. This could even be extended to a sort of competition between schools (or within one school) in naming the wall and making it as attractive as possible (for both insects and humans). In addition, the parents of younger children could be involved, and this could of course be a great project for reusing and upcycling old pots, stones, plants, and other parts to build insect houses. Another group aimed at incorporating youth and nature conservation in an art festival that one of our participants was already planning to organise. Finally, one participant touched upon an activity that had already been organized, involving youth from Australia and Zambia, a truly inspiring initiative!
Hopefully, we inspired our participants to start organizing activities and to even work on organizing these together with other participants of our workshop, involving more and more youth, and connecting all around the world!
By: Janneke Troost