Young people from across the region spent a weekend at Malham Tarn Field Centre exploring environmental issues and identifying ways to create positive environmental change at the Green Futures Youth Environment Summit.

Planning for this event began in January, with a group of passionate young people at the helm from the outset including young carers, environmental trainees, Young Rangers and eco-school committee members, supported by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) and other partners.

Over the residential weekend, a group of 23 people aged 12-23 took part in a range of activities that were planned and delivered by the young people themselves. Practical sessions included building mini beast hotels and hedgehog houses using reclaimed materials, footpath improvements on the Pennine Way, a fungi ID walk, den building and learning how to make eco-friendly deodorant at home.

The group also discussed a variety of green issues, including natural flood management techniques and ideas on how to be a more thoughtful consumer. The young people made their own eco-pledges for the future and worked together to develop potential solutions to help reduce waste, reduce the impact of using unsustainable ingredients like palm oil, and encourage other people to reuse and recycle more.

Local MP Julian Smith joined the group for an environmental-themed Question and Answer session, discussing the government’s environmental strategy. Mr Smith was keen to hear the young people’s views on issues including transport, carbon emissions, tree cover and green spaces.

Rosemary Kelly, aged 15, is a West Young Ranger and a Green Futures Youth Forum member, who led one of the sessions.

She said: “The weekend was great! I really felt it boosted my confidence that I can do things to make a difference and get my voice heard and it's always exciting to meet new people that share the same passion for the environment.”

The event was part of the Green Futures programme which aims to empower and support the ambitious and capable young people of Yorkshire and Lancashire to become more involved, aware and connected to the fantastic natural environment that’s right on their doorstep.

Led by YDMT, Green Futures brings together a partnership of local young people and organisations including Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Field Studies Council - Malham Tarn, BEES - Bradford Environmental Education Service (part of City of Bradford YMCA), Willow Young Carers Project (part of Barnardo’s Leeds) and Craven Development Education Centre.

Gail Smith, Green Futures Programme Manager at YDMT, said: “The Youth Environment Summit was marvellous and inspiring. These fantastic young people are so passionate and enthusiastic about environmental issues – it gives me hope for a brighter environmental future for all of us. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved – especially all the young people who did a great job of planning the event and ensuring it was a great success.”

Green Futures is part of Our Bright Future, a £33 million programme funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund and run by a consortium of seven organisations which is led by The Wildlife Trusts. Our Bright Future aims to tackle three big challenges facing society today - a lack of social cohesion, a lack of opportunities for young people and vulnerability to climate change.

Cath Hare, Our Bright Future Programme Manager, said: “The Youth Environment Summit showcased the unstoppable force of young and engaged citizens involved with Green Futures. We are thrilled to be investing in opportunities for them to gain skills, experience and employment as the next environmental leaders.”


•        Green Guardians; connecting young people aged 11-24 years with the natural environment, targeting those not traditionally connected with the outdoors

•        Eco-Schools; developing Eco-Schools Awards schemes in Secondary Schools

•        Young Rangers; establishing schemes for young people aged 11-16 years in the north of the Yorkshire Dales National Park

•        Dales & Fells Trainees; two-year countryside management based trainee posts with local employers for young people aged 16-24 years

Young people from North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Lancashire will come together to shape and develop Green Futures through a Youth Environment Forum, Annual Youth Environment Summit as well as being supported to develop their own practical or environmental awareness raising projects through a Youth Environmental Action Fund.

Funding through the Big Lottery Fund will enable Green Futures to create and provide opportunities for up to 4000 young people by the end of 2020 as well as having the opportunity to be part of a wider movement of young people influencing future environmental policy through the wider Our Bright Future programme (