Taking place on a 2000-acre upland estate in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, the pioneering Penpont Project is in part run by a Youth Leadership Group of twenty 12-18 year olds from diverse backgrounds. Working in partnership with farmers, the landowners, conservationists and local stakeholders, they are restoring habitats and ecosystems and exploring innovative farming and forestry approaches to provide a healthy support system for people, biodiversity and agriculture.
The organisers are hoping to create a blueprint based on the Penpont Project for how youth action and conservation can bring change.
Photograph: Handout; Local students undertaking ecological surveys.
One of the most distinctive aspects of this project is that from the beginning the aim of the Youth Leadership Group has been not to ‘youthwash’ the project – not for the young people to be tokenistic members – but for them to be profoundly involved as decision-makers. As a youth leadership team, they bring passion, energy and fresh ideas to complement the experience and knowledge of older generations.
Independent site research to establish a detailed habitat and species-level baseline is crucial before implementing nature restoration activities, in order to measure and track ongoing progress.
Nature restoration can go hand in hand with sustainable farming practices, so that healthy soils, clean water and vital wildlife species can be maintained through the combined effort of different stakeholders.
• Regeneration of habitats and recovery of local species
• Participation of young people in the Penpont Project from diverse backgrounds