Yvonne Hunt, RSPB Youth Partnerships Officer, tells us about our exciting partnership with Girlguiding LaSER and how lockdown has seen even more girls and young women turn to nature for a positive boost during these difficult times. (See photo left of Yvonne Hunt - smiling selfie)

As a global conservation charity, we are passionate about inspiring young people about nature, so who better to link up with than Girlguiding?! London and South East Region (LaSER) focuses on positive experiences for young people, by encouraging fun, adventure and the space to discover their own potential. 

The story so far

The RSPB and Girlguiding LaSER partnership has been going strong since 2015 and has inspired thousands of girls by deepening their love of nature. We’re also working to empower girls and young women to use their voice and make positive change on issues which matter to them.   

“I really enjoy nature as most of it is very bright and all of it is beautiful.” Toni, Brownie from 9th Woodford Brownies, London

At the heart of the partnership is an ambition to encourage young people to feel a connection to nature . This is vitally important, not least because when people feel connected to nature they’re much more likely to take action to protect nature. (Photo right: Two Guides exploring a tree trunk looking for insects)

Over lockdown, girls and their families have been doing all kinds of activities in their gardens, or during their daily exercise, ranging from scavenger hunts to discovering minibeasts or watching the sunset.  Many have earned RSPB Girlguiding LaSER’s ‘Brilliant Birds’, ‘Together with Nature’ or ‘Growing Up Wild’ badges, and, more importantly, they’ve connected with nature on their doorstep! 

Girls from the 9th Woodford Brownies in London, told us:

 Talia, age 8: "I really enjoyed making bird feeders so that I can help birds get food in the winter.  The RSPB charts were really good at helping me learn the names of the different birds.  What interests me about nature is all the different varieties of creatures and bugs. I am interested in helping nature by stopping people wrecking their natural habitats." (See photo left - Talia in her brownie uniform standing next to a tree with homemade birdfeeders) 

Toni, age 9: “The first day of the birdwatch I had seen magpies, pigeons, robins, a sparrow and a blue tit. It was very useful having the identification charts from the RSPB and I enjoyed playing the bird bingo.  The second day we put out the bird feeder. We made the bird feeder in our online Brownie meeting too.  I really enjoy nature as most of it is very bright and all of it is beautiful.” (See photo right - Toni in her garden wearing her Brownie t-shirt)

Holly, age 8: “I help nature by litter picking in the woods, so creatures don’t get hurt. In nature I am interested in birds and leaves - leaves because there are 100s of different types of leaves, and birds because they eat things like meal worms and sunflower hearts. Nature makes me happy because there are many adventures to have in the forest near where I live, like rope swings over water.” (See photo below - Holly checking her bird feeder)

Inspiring the next generation of conservationists

Where next for the RSPB Girlguiding LaSER partnership?  The RSPB has big ambitions to expand into other regions, in order to engage many more young people in outdoor activities which can deepen their connection to nature.  Alongside this, we want to enable Girlguiding members to speak out for nature and take action to help save nature, especially important during this critical year in which we’ll see the United Nations Biodiversity and Climate Change conferences. 

The RSPB have also been working with the LaSER Champions, a group of young women aged 16-26 who create, plan and deliver campaigns about issues they feel passionate about. 

 LaSER Champion, Rai, age 25 said: "The LaSER Champions were thrilled to be able to team up with RSPB as we believe it is important for everyone to do their bit for nature. We are working hard behind the scenes to create some exciting activities to help encourage girls to get outside and take action for nature!" (See photo left - Smiling selfie of Rai )

There are so many ways to get involved and we’re really excited about the next steps of the partnership. Why not check out the RSPB’s Wild Challenge for lots of ideas for families to connect with nature and to give nature a home.