On a summery 2nd of June, A Focus on Nature (AFON) was kindly invited to attend and present at the Natural History Museum’s ‘Identification Trainers for the Future’ Symposium, marking the end of and celebrating this fantastic three-year programme led by John Tweddle and Steph West.
For those of you who are not who are not familiar with this Heritage Lottery funded programme, 15 highly motivated trainees were selected to undertake a year's intensive course at the museum to develop their communication and biological recording skills, to help address the skills gap that is becoming increasingly prominent. The trainees also embarked on an array of projects creating useful resources which range from a beginner’s guide to lichens by April Windle, a shrill carder bee identification card by Chloe Rose and a documentary about Britain’s temperate rainforests by Alex Mills. All the projects can be found here - http://www.nhm.ac.uk/take-part/identification-trainers-for-the-future - and they are well worth a look!
The symposium, held in the grand Flett Lecture Theatre, showcased much of the great work that had taken place over the previous three years and included a range of talks from various project partners including the FSC and NBN. There was a strong and consistent narrative of how we continue to support young aspiring conservationists and ecologists to enter the sector and gain the knowledge and skills to have a successful, impactful career. With all the 15 trainees now successfully working within the conservation sector they have clearly demonstrated the power of what a quality training programme can achieve.
At AFON we are now looking to engage closer with the Natural History Museum and the various other partners in the room to enable us to further support our network, and it is great to have the support of these fantastic institutions. It was real pleasure for me to deliver a talk which introduced AFON, explaining our aims to support, connect and inspire young people to work within the environmental sector.
We would like to thank Steph West and Nicola Lowndes from the Angela Marmont Centre for inviting us to the symposium. Stay tuned for future updates on how we will look to work more closely with organisations such as this.
Elliot Newton is the Creative Director of A Focus on Nature. Follow him on Twitter @ElliotNewton90.