Thursday, 1 October 2015

BSBI's ongoing support for the next generation of naturalists.

Young Darwin Scholars with tutor
Image courtesy of
Field Studies Council
BSBI has always been keen to invest in the future by supporting our next generation of naturalists. One of the ways that we have been doing this in recent years is by supporting the Young Darwin Scholarship (YDS). 

This initiative was set up by the Field Studies Council to "encourage and support young people who have a real interest in the natural world - to develop the next generation of 'Darwins'." 

BSBI has been proud to support YDS ever since it was launched and you can read more about the scholars we helped in 2012 by clicking here and here is a report on YDS in 2014.


Ammaarah examining a plant.
Image courtesy of
Field Studies Council
So it was great to hear last week from Cathy Preston at the Field Studies Council about this year's crop of Young Darwins. BSBI President Ian Denholm was delighted to read Cathy's report and you can see his response below, but first, here's what Cathy told us: 


"Once again this year FSC has have been privileged to be able to award Young Darwin Scholarships and work with 15 enthusiastic and passionate young people as well as continue to support the previous three cohorts of scholars. 

"We are very grateful to BSBI for its continued commitment and support for the initiative and I am also very grateful for the involvement and time contributed by key members of BSBI's Training & Education Committee, such as Sarah Whild, Mark Duffell and of course Sue Townsend.


BSBI Referee Fred Rumsey introduces 
Young Darwin Scholars to herbarium sheets
Image courtesy of Field Studies Council
"The 2015 Young Darwin Scholars (YDS) were a warm and friendly group of young people who were enthusiastic and engaged with all elements of the programme. As in previous years we had a mix of young people with general interest and some who had a very specific interest. 

"Throughout the programme the young people were identifying and recording flora and fauna and considering conservation issues such as the effect of different land management practices. 


Young Darwin Scholars in the field
Image courtesy of
Field Studies Council
"During their canoe journey down the River Severn each canoe ‘team’ devised a citizen science project to estimate the Himalayan Balsam population on the river bank.

"On the final full day of the programme the YDS benefited from Sarah’s presentation on biological recording and then during the Bioblitz session Mark was able to work with small groups and has inspired several of the YDS to follow up their interest in botany – something which I shall support and encourage. 

On that day the YDS submitted over 120 records using iRecord.

"In addition to this year’s cohort of YDS, the majority of the previous years’ cohort are still in touch and many are taking up further opportunities with us. 


Young Darwin Scholars examine their specimens
Image courtesy of Field Studies Council
"It is wonderful to have 60 YDS and it is thanks to the support of BSBI and other kind funders that FSC is able to continue this work. I am quite convinced that out of the 60 we shall have some future ‘stars’ of the environmental world. Many thanks!"

Inspirational stuff! 

Thanks to Cathy for sharing this and to BSBI President Ian Denholm, who responded by inviting the Young Darwins to join us at this year's BSBI Annual Exhibition Meeting in London on 28th November, saying:    

"I’m delighted that BSBI was, once again, able to support the Young Darwin Scholarships and thereby contribute to enthusing and training a new generation of naturalists and conservationists. I wish our Scholars every success with developing their careers and look forward to hearing reports of their progress".