30 August 2022
Young people lead the way with nature projects, with NatureScot Future Routes Fund
Fourteen-year-old Yunique Ogunshe is one of nine recipients of this year’s NatureScot Future Routes Fund, and the COP26 Local Champion for Argyll and Bute will be helping school-aged groups transform neglected grounds into wildlife havens with tree-planting, pond creation and other nature-friendly work through her Nature 4 Wellbeing Sake project.
The teenager’s successful Future Routes Fund application will also see high school pupils increase their knowledge and understanding of Scottish native plants and fungi with support from Clyde and Argyll Fungus Group.
Other funded projects include schemes seeking to inspire more young people to learn about carbon-friendly lifestyles, climate justice and marine habitats, as well as to develop community gardens and wildlife-friendly spaces.
Eat, Sleep, Ride CIC is a riding school with a twist, where young people learn about horse care but also developing life skills like self-confidence, supporting others, community and wellbeing. They have received Future Routes Fund support to build a nature pond in Lamberton, which will be used to educate children from the local area on the importance of Scottish wildlife.
The leaders and young Leaders of 5th Giffnock Guides, Brownies and Rainbows meet in the local synagogue, catering for girls and young women of all faiths and none, as well as girls who need different special support. Their Future Routes Fund grant will help with plans for camps and nature-based activities which promote carbon-friendly lifestyles and choices, as well as sharing understanding of climate justice.
The Future Routes Fund is aimed at those aged 11-26 and supports young people to connect with nature and make a positive impact on their local environment, and increase their knowledge and understanding of Scottish biodiversity.
The £20,000 fund was originally designed in partnership with YoungScot and ReRoute - Scotland's Youth Biodiversity Panel - and is now delivered by NatureScot, Scotland’s nature agency, which will take the learning and good practice gained from these projects to inform the future development of larger funding programmes. Individuals were invited to apply for funding of between £500 and £2,000, while teams could apply for £1,000 to £5,000.
NatureScot Chief Executive, Francesca Osowska, said: “The twin crises of the climate emergency and biodiversity decline makes it more important than ever before that young people are empowered to take positive action for nature in Scotland. It is individual projects like the ones funded today that will make the difference and set us on the road to recovery.
“This Future Routes Fund puts young people at the heart of decision making and ensures that they are fully involved in shaping and taking action to tackle climate change and deliver a nature-rich future.”
Yunique Ogunshe, of Nature 4 Wellbeing Sake, said: “The Future Routes Fund grant will enable me to carry out my exciting new project titled Nature 4 Wellbeing Sake, helping young people from nursery age to S6 unleash their passion, creativity and potential to have opportunities to connect to nature and take action for nature and climate.”
Hannah Rose, Leader at 5th Giffnock Guides, said ‘Our Future Routes Fund grant will help with plans we have for camps and nature-based activities which promote carbon-friendly lifestyles and choices, as well as sharing understanding of climate justice. This is an important part of our programme and endorsed by Girl Guiding Scotland for Guides, Brownies and Rainbows, Leaders, and Young Leaders. These topics will be covered during camp and activities in a sensitive way that will not frighten our girls but reinforce their determination to do their part towards climate justice.”
Alexandra Sinclair of Eat, Sleep, Ride CIC said: “ESR is an accessible, sustainable community hub, encouraging people to thrive physically and emotionally through the power of equine interactions. As part of our two year move to our new site, we have already been planting over 2000 trees, reclaiming wood to build sheds and furniture, making a sensory garden, and planting herbs and a kitchen garden for our community. The Future Routes Fund grant will enable us to build a nature pond area - creating a biodiverse space for nature to thrive, which will be used to educate young people from the Borders and East Lothian on the importance of Scottish wildlife, native species and biodiversity in our countryside.”
Find out more about the Future Routes Fund on our website.