The vision is to create the first forest in Scotland that is co-designed, led and governed by young people.
The mission of the Scotland’s Young People’s Forest (SYPF) Youth Leadership panel, a group of young people aged 11 – 26 from across Scotland, is to create and regenerate native Scottish forests, which are accessible to all, and can be utilised as an educational resource while combatting the climate and nature emergencies.
We are currently working with RSPB Scotland at it’s Baron’s Haugh nature reserve to engage the Youth Leadership Panel and local young people in forestry management techniques. The long term view is for more young people to lead, manage and shape the direction of additional forested spaces in their local communities, alongside land owners across Scotland and inspire a SYPF movement.
The project and the forest sites will be vital in building the capacity of the youth work sector, supporting them to engage their own youth groups in green skills, outdoor learning, and climate social action. The project will also inspire and equip youth groups to collaborate in partnership with land owners in their own communities to ensure that young people feel empowered through their engagement with woodlands and forests.
The Youth Leadership Panel co-designed the below ambitions for the project:
The project is supported by YouthLink Scotland, Young Scot, the Woodland Trust, and Green Action Trust, alongside founding partners Corra Foundation, NatureScot, Pears Foundation, Scottish Enterprise, Accenture and Wood.
Online and in person meetings and residentials: The Panel meet regularly for online sessions to discuss ideas and make key decisions about the project. They have also taken part in residentials engaging directly in and with nature to visualise different uses of land which they might want to consider in the development of the forest whilst receiving expert advice to inform them.
COP26: The Panel promoted the project in Glasgow during COP26, inspiring further youth-led conservation projects and highlighting the importance of climate initiatives while experiencing the buzz of the conference.
BBC Documentary: Members of the Panel took part in interviews at RSPB Baron’s Haugh Nature Reserve in Motherwell to share their thoughts and reflections ahead of COP27. Read the blog and catch up with the full documentary on iPlayer.
Youth Climate Leaders in Stockholm: Members of the Panel were invited to Stockholm to meet with fellow young leaders in the climate space to collaborate in youth to youth capacity building. Read Josie’s blog.
Site Visits: The Panel have considered and visited various potential sites across Scotland to identify a suitable location for the forest. They are continuing to work towards confirming a location in central belt Scotland and discussing partnership agreements with land owners.
"Setting out to do something you’re not sure you’re cut out for, within a supportive team where everyone brings different skills, provided with the resources you need, and managing to do what you set out to is what empowerment feels like. It’s what we need to happen across the world, in every sphere of society at every scale. It was amazing to be part of that process, and I felt extremely privileged to have been given the chance."Josie, Youth Leadership Panel member
“We’re excited that young people are really at the heart of this forest; not only is the project bringing people closer to nature, it is sending a message that the natural world is important to young people, that there is a want to protect it and enjoy it for generations to come. It gives hope.”RSPB Scotland, partners of Scotland's Young People's Forest
Are you a funder who can join us in making Scotland’s Young People's Forest a reality? Or do you have a skill, experience, area of expertise and can volunteer some time to support the young people? We would love to hear more, so please get in touch with the team.