My name is Ellie Micklewright and I’m a 16 year-old naturalist, with particular interest in moorland birds and mammals. I also have a passion for gardening as well as ecology as I believe in the strong links between gardening and wildlife. I wanted to inspire more young people to get involved with nature and therefore started a wildlife gardening club at my school from scratch. Following my work to start this club, fundraise and design projects , I was amazed to be awarded the RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2018.
My love for nature was encouraged from a very early age, as I was fell-walking before I could run! I still love to hike and enjoy seeing moorland waders and birds of prey, when I’m out and about. But the significant turning point in my enthusiasm and involvement in nature occurred when I attended the BTO Bird Camps at Thetford in 2017 and 2018, which were sponsored by the Cameron Bespolka Trust. I was astonished by the commitment of the other young birders and the huge differences they were already making in the conservation world. The camps also opened my eyes to a world of opportunities, including moth trapping, bird ringing and so much more.
In turn I think this helped motivate and give me the confidence to believe I could make a difference in my local community. So, with the help of a few friends of course, the school environment has been transformed with limited funds and resources to start with. In less than 2 years, we’ve made a pollinator-friendly bed, sensory bed, orchard, willow- woven raised vegetable beds, hanging baskets and we’re currently making an outside learning area with willow dome and pond. I think the biggest difference, the club has made though, is on the students, by giving them responsibility and pride in what they do and engaging them through the natural world. Moreover I know they just really enjoy it. This is why I support the work of the Cameron Bespolka Trust so fully as I’ve have experienced first-hand the benefits that an involvement in nature can bring and it is especially important as young people have the capability of making an impact on the future environment.
I have been running, with the help from a few friends, a wildlife gardening club at my school for nearly two years, which is surprising to me. Not because that seems a long time, but because when you have to juggle exams, holidays and generally being a teenager, 2 years can really fly by.
I think it’s amazing how much we’ve achieved in this short space of time as a group and I’m hoping that through this blog I can inspire other students and teachers to start a gardening club …