Sunday, 14 July 2019

Post 499 - Promoting positive parks at Parliament & Pollinator Papparazzi

Hey everyone,

An historic reformer
acknowledged outside
Been a while since I did a blog, for lots of reasons, but thought I ought to do a post as I had an amazing opportunity this week and have some events coming up that I'm really looking forward to.

I'm lucky enough to be a part of the #iwill campaign as an #iwill ambassador. It's particularly good to be part of it this year as it is also the #Yearof GreenAction. One of the many partners this year is the Department for  Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and I was proud to be a part of the #yearofgreenaction launch earlier in the year.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble and me
A modern day reformer - I was really
struck by the silent determination
of this guy protesting outside
The #iwill campaign promotes youth social action and provides the ambassadors with lots of opportunities to promote what young people are doing and encourage more to take social action and get involved in issues that matter. This week I had one of those opportunities and I was invited to speak at the Campaign For National Parks - Park Protector Awards (see here and here) which was held at the House of Commons. It was great to get involved and to hear about some amazing projects that are happening in some of our most special and treasured landscapes. It was great to meet up with lots of people, some new faces and some I'd only connected with on twitter (Hi Jo, Jeff!)

Lord Gardiner presenting the People
& the Dales project with their award.
I didn't have a lot of time (and rather went over my scheduled two minutes - sorry :-), but I was able to make the point that while it is brilliant that our National Parks are incredible assets, and that they have had a massive role in connecting many people, including me, to nature and our countryside, there is a lot more still to be done. You can see the speech below which Dad recorded. One sound bite picked up on from my speech is that I think they need to do more to be open to everyone and every species. This is something that is a bit controversial but my home county is one of the worst for raptor persecution and even as I was giving this speech news was breaking of River, a Hen Harrier who's body was found on a Nidderdale moor part of a shooting estate - all the indications are it was illegally shot.

This is just one area where more could be done and we have so much space I find it hard to believe we can't make room for raptors and other species. I also mention Beavers, and I'm really pleased that they are back in North Yorkshire and doing what they do, slowing the flow of water from our uplands to villages and communities that have suffered flooding.

It was great to have the chance to speak so a big thank you to #iwill, Defra, and the Campaign for National Parks.

In my talk as well I mentioned something I have coming up that I'm looking forward to, and that is the chance to run some smart phone photography workshops in Nidderdale. This is courtesy of Kew's Grow Wild project and supported by another project I'm involved with as a youth patron - The Wild Watch. The idea is to get more people appreciating the importance of our wild flowers and it's a great chance to get more young people appreciating our wildlife and the landscapes they live in.

I decided on a photography workshop as it's something I do quite a bit of! I thought I'd use smartphones as most people (or their parents) have them and it would be good to use phones to connect people to nature. Often they are seen as part of a problem of people being disconnected from the real world with their constant access to email and social media etc. so I wanted people to see how they can be used to help - I will try and squeeze in a bit of phone based citizen science as well if I can :-)

Any how, I had a little try out of the clip-on macro lenses that will be part of the workshops around my garden - I don't think the results are too bad!

If you live in the Nidederdale/North Yorkshire area or know some young people (5-11 year olds) that would like to tale part, the events are on the 5th and 12th August and are free. You can book at place at:

Hope you enjoyed.



  1. Hi Zack,
    Even though this comment is almost a year late, I’d like to mention my appreciation for your work and passion. I wish you a bright future as a pioneer and a young leader. Kudos to you!
    Greetings from a fellow birdwatcher from Sri Lanka 😊