One of the UK’s most notable environmental scholarship programmes for young people is taking applications for its 2022 scheme.
Now in its 10th year, the Young Darwin Scholarship, is open for applications from individuals aged between 16 and 25 who want to develop their environmental skills and further their understanding of the natural world.
The programme is operated on an annual basis by leading outdoor education charity, the Field Studies Council (FSC), and this year due to increased funding, there are a total of 75 scholarships on offer, all of which are heavily subsidised.
Dylan Byrne, Youth Engagement Officer for FSC, said the scholarships presented an “unmissable” opportunity for young people interested in developing their passion for the environment.
“We’ve been running this programme successfully for the last 10 years and it’s a fantastic way for young people to develop their environmental skills and knowledge as well as build long-lasting friendships with other like-minded individuals.
“Due to increased funding, we have 75 places available on the programme this year – which is a fivefold increase in the number of scholarships compared to previous years – so it really is an unmissable opportunity, and we would encourage anyone interested to get their applications in as soon as they can.”
The scholarship programme, which was first introduced at FSC’s Preston Montford field centre near Shrewsbury – the birthplace of Charles Darwin – starts with a five-day immersive experience integrating fieldwork, biodiversity identification skills, career guidance and networking opportunities.
Scholars will also have access to ongoing mentoring and support as part of the scholarship programme, as well as online and in-person training from a range of FSC specialist staff and mentors.
This year, the on-site training will be run at five locations across the UK including the FSC’s own field centres at Preston Montford in Shrewsbury and Caste Head near Cumbria. Scholars will also use the YHA site at Potato Wharf in Manchester and undertake local site visits to Risley Moss and Rixton Clay Pits. In Bristol, training will be based at YHA Bristol at Narrow Quay and visits to Leigh Woods and Avon Grow Wilder will take place. In London, scholars will use training sites at Stave Hill, Regents Park and Bushy Park.
The scholarship programme has received significant funding through the Generation Green project and the Our Bright Future project as well as generous donations from organisations such as the Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland (BSBI) and Ground Control UK.
Dylan added: “This programme is aimed at supporting young people with their long-term environmental goals, whether that be supporting them onto the correct pathway to an environmental career, ensuring they have the skills and knowledge to support a more sustainable lifestyle or enabling them to meet people who share the same mindset about the environment and nature recovery as they do.
“90 per cent of all scholarship fees are covered by the charity due to the funding and donations available. Successful applicants will only be asked to fund the remaining 10 per cent of the costs which works out to be either £45 or £90 depending on which location they visit. It really is a unique chance particularly for those who can’t easily access wide outdoor spaces from where they live. “
Applications for this year’s programme close on June 5, 2022, and extra support is available for those individuals who may financially struggle to cover the remaining 10 per cent of the fees.