A young nature ambassador from Wiltshire is encouraging other students with an interest in the environment to follow their passion and sign-up for a prestigious Young Darwin Scholarship.
Izzy Fry, who is currently studying for her A-Levels at South Wilts Grammar School in Salisbury, is a super keen wildlife photographer, and eventually hopes to go on to study for a degree in wildlife conservation and ecology.
Last year, she became a Young Darwin Scholar with the Field Studies Council – the UK’s leading outdoor education charity – and she says the experience helped to broaden her skills and focus her long-term efforts on achieving a career in the environmental sector.
“The Young Darwin Scholarship was so varied,” said the 17-year-old.
“We learned so many new skills from wildflower identification to small mammal trapping and how to survey bats. Alongside learning these new skills, I also met lots of professionals already working in the field which was just brilliant.
“I enjoyed it so much. It gave me so much insight into lots of different areas of conservation and if other young people are thinking about the same career path, I’d encourage them to go for it.”
The Field Studies Council recruits annually for the Young Darwin Scholarship and this year the charity is looking to take on 80 new scholars from across the UK to mark its 80th anniversary. Applications will close on June 4.
Mollie Clay, learning development officer for the charity, said: “The programme is designed to help young people just like Izzy to develop their environmental skills and understanding of the natural world.
“Those selected for the programme get the opportunity to undertake a residential stay at one of our outdoor education centres where they will be taught a range of field and identification skills as well as gain practical observation, planning and recording skills.
“They’ll also be introduced to a number of inspirational speakers and experts throughout the residential trip. Afterwards scholars will then have access to career guidance and networking opportunities, receive ongoing mentoring as well as online and in-person training from the council’s specialist staff. It’s a terrific package and a fantastic opportunity for young people to take advantage of.”
Izzy, whose interest in nature was inspired at a young age by her grandparents, is already having a big impact in her local community having become a young ambassador for the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust helping to engage more young people with nature
She is also a trainee bird ringer with the British Trust for Ornithology, helped establish the Young Nature Watch in her local area, is a very keen wildlife photographer and was also crowned winner of the National Biodiversity Network Young Person’s Award for wildlife recording in 2021.
She added: “There are very few people at my school interested in wildlife and the environment so the Young Darwin Scholarship was a really great way for me to meet new people my age with similar interests. I still keep in touch with the other scholars and I’m sure our paths will cross again in future.”
For further details on scholarship dates, locations and information on how to apply visit https://www.field-studies-council.org/young-darwin-scholarship-applications/