Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, this project ran in Peterborough from 2006 to 2007. Linked to our work with young offenders through our Froglife Active Conservation Team, this project targeted young people at risk of offending as well as those suffering economic disadvantage. We ran a range of hands-on, fun and educational projects centred around amphibians and reptiles with built in numeracy and literacy elements.
10 to 13 year olds were referred to the project from schools, support projects and youth groups and were involved in improving their local green spaces. The project worked with 98 young people at risk of offending or exclusion, 112 young offenders and via one off events in parks and green spaces the project reached over 2000 people.
It was found that environmental projects involving young people, particularly the vulnerable groups targeted by the project, can be beneficial both for them and for conservation. Longer term engagement in a project is recommended to offer them the chance to build relationships and see a genuine change in their environment.
Despite being a potentially challenging group to work with, the majority of young people involved in the project were incredibly enthusiastic and passionate about their work, showing a genuine concern for the environment and wildlife.
Public green spaces do need changes in maintenance and features to increase not only their biodiversity, but also their appeal to users. Bland, over-maintained areas do not offer many opportunities either for wildlife or for creative play and enjoyment. By considering the whole, larger landscape of a city as a habitat, for us and other animals, features to provide positive opportunities for us all could be planned.
You can download the full report from this project here: Grass Roots Green Shoots Report