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Welcome to the Bristol Nature Network!

The Bristol Nature Network is the newest and most exciting wildlife club to be created in the city of Bristol!

Who are we and what do we do?

We are a community of students, young people and young professionals who take action for nature, share ideas, develop skills and most importantly have fun!

Are you aged between 18 – 30 and want to volunteer with nature and the people of Bristol?

Sign up to the

Bristol Nature Network

here!

Any questions? Contact us at bristolnaturenetwork@bnhc.org.uk

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What to expect as a BNN Committee member by Sarah Watt

“If I could continue my role as events secretary on the Bristol Nature network committee from overseas, I would not be reluctantly writing this ‘farewell’ blog. However, as reluctant as I am, I am also excited to hand over this role to the next member, as I know they will be joining a network of friends who all share such an enthusiasm for Bristol, its wildlife and community (and I better mention a shared enthusiasm for the occasional social gathering and some good wining and dining).

So let’s get to it; What to expect as the events secretary on the Bristol Nature Network…

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of networking! I have been very fortunate to connect with a range of professionals, students and members of the public who have introduced me to areas of nature and conservation I would have never come across. Take for example a talk I organised with Will Lawson on biomimicry and the renowned Sir Ian Redmond introducing us to vEcotourism.  Following on from from Ians talk there are now students and early careers starters who are helping with this project and gaining valuable work experience. Which is what the nature network is all about, connecting bristols young(ish) people with nature and conservation, be it work, volunteering or meeting new like-minded friends! Also, for myself it was motivating to be surrounded by such people and learning about their individual paths into such careers. And I must add, it’s always good to invite the younger generation of professionals to share their stories, as its often relevant now to how competitive the conservation industry is today.

Being organised because you organise events!..

I am not talking strict organisation skills, but the chances are you will be carrying out this role alongside a course of study or work. And believe me it’s so easy to get ahead of yourself and want to fill the calendar up with talks, walks, ID days and socials! So you will probably need a BNN diary and checklist! The amount of times we got caught up with ‘technical glitches’ at our talks because it was assumed all projectors would take MAC leads! Also the committee meetings, these are not only fun but important for catching up with what everyone else is doing and designating tasks to help you with your event! So make sure you can attend the majority of these, we often get carried away with ideas and have to pull ourselves away from our cosy table in the Landover Trow! Also be flexible and give your self lots of time for planning events and a back up plan!  It’s not uncommon for venues to change plans or close down last minute or for guest speakers to change the date and time of thier talk. So you do need some weekends and evenings free to allow for all the fun events the BNN host.

Being recognised! I am not talking David Attenborough status but it is really rewarding to be known as part of the Bristol Nature Network. There is still a long way to go but the BNN has developed steadily (800+ members and counting) over the 18 months and you will get a sense of pride knowing that your part of this development. Each event, social, volunteering opportunity, it all contributes to the BNN achieving its goals and as a committee member you will play a big part in this! For myself, one of the reasons I joined the BNN was to develop my career opportunities and I feel that I have been able to apply for a wider range of jobs and volunteer positions since having this valuable asset on my CV.

This also leads me onto self-development. If someone told me last year that I would be helping out on a radio show talking reporting on international and national news I would have shyed away from the idea. But now I sit down every Wednesday and join my fellow radio bloggers and chat away on the mic!  My point – this opportunity came from the Bristol Nature Network as so did my confidence to fulfil it! I am not saying people aprroach you with work just because your on the committee but you do open doors for yourself with all the influx of knowledge and experience you get from this position and people around you.

I could go on but if you have any questions pop me an email or pm my facebook!

Good luck to everyone who wishes to apply for this position ( its very informal application might I add so don’t shy away). Most of all enjoy it, have fun, be creative and know that you will be meeting some great friends in your fellow committee members; Maddy, Jen, Joe, Gemma, Beth, Sophie, Rosa, Saran, Matt and Helen – thanks for the past 18 months you have all been amazing!!”

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Five simple ways to help your adult get into the wild

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“We need to reconnect children with nature!”, sound the cries of environmental organisations. Our children are suffering from nature deficit disorder, they’ve lost the right to roam, they have too much screen time. Charities such as the National Trust and the movement Project Wild Thing have both been working hard over the past few years to reverse these trends.

But what about us? I argue that it is perhaps those in their 20s and 30s who are our vital audience. Most of us are yet to have children, some of us may not ever have a family. We don’t have the excuse to go to the park. Many of us have been hauling ourselves up a career ladder where the rungs have been kicked out due to the “economic climate”. We’re earning to pay rent to someone else to live in houses we’re barely present in, all because we spend 8+ hours in front of a computer screen and the rest staring at our smart phones. Mental health admissions to A&E are to reach record levels and many fear there is an increase in mental health problems particularly in young people. Modern life is making us ill.

Inspired by Patrick Barkham‘s “Five simple ways to help your child get into the wild”, this is an adaptation for my generation.

Create opportunities for unstructured time outdoors

Most adults don’t schedule nature into their diaries like a “cheeky pint” or a trip to city centre for some shopping. It’s easy to let time outdoors slip down the agenda, but it shouldn’t. This doesn’t need to be a planned affair. Meet a friend for a walk in the woods instead of a steamy coffee shop on a bracing January day. Take a detour along the river. Even ditching the bus and walking through the park on the way to work does wonders. Perhaps it’s time to treat “Wild Time” like a Friday night out or gym session; essential part of the week for de-stressing from modern life.

Connect with the seasons and go collecting

Foraging for wild food has had something of a renaissance in recent years. I’d love to make the time to start growing food in my small patio garden, but I keep putting it off. Foraging is the sneaky version. Let nature do all the work and reap the rewards, in the form of free tasty things. In August I went walking with friends and came across a hillside full of wild bilberries. It was the first time I’d tasted bilberries and the flavour was far more intense than the bland, supermarket blueberries they are related to. Obviously make sure to take only what you need and know what you’re picking.

Convert a friend to a natural passion

If you’re already a bit outdoorsy, convince a friend to come with you. I love being outdoors, ambling through woods and walking beside rivers, but the thought of hiking to the top of a really big hill is a rather daunting one. However, I’ve joined my more active friends on hikes and when I (eventually…) get to the top I have both an immense feeling of achievement but also a deep affinity with the environment. There’s nothing like the feeling of battling high winds on a peak in the Brecon Beacons and watching the wildlife do the same.

Go to the beach

“No one lives more than 70 miles – a couple of hours on a train or in a car – from the beach in Britain”. This fact always surprises me. Many people see a beach holiday as jetting off to lie on a towel and get sunburnt for a week. We may not be blessed with year-round 30 degree heat, but we do have over 11,000 miles of breathtaking coastline full of spectacular wildlife and remarkable history. The positive effects of green space on our health and wellbeing is widely known, but blue space (sea, rivers, lakes and even urban water features) also has proven very beneficial. Several months ago I was at a loss one weekend and went with a friend to Weston-super-Mare. In the mouth of the Severn Estuary, 30 minutes train ride from my home in the city of Bristol, I had a wander along the beach in my bare feet. It was just what I needed.

Join a charity or local green group for ideas

This one I find pretty important. Since university I’ve spent much of my summers helping public engagement with nature events for families; running bug hunts, taking part inBioBlitzes and even going to festivals. These experiences have made me much more aware of my local green spaces and I am lucky with there being so many in Bristol. What struck me however is so few people my own age also know they exist. In my spare time I am co-chair of the Bristol Nature Network, a forum for 18 – 30s to network, share skills and take action for nature. We help signpost volunteering opportunities, organise talks and act as a free network for young people with similar interests to share their experiences. Since beginning in March we’ve attracted over 400 members. We’re hoping to inspire the next generation of naturalists, but perhaps more importantly also simply take time out to enjoy nature.

The environmental sector is frantically telling parents to send their children outside, but I feel we may be neglecting the needs of our young adults in their 20s and 30s. Biophilia, an innate love of nature, is argued to be within all of us. We don’t need to “reconnect children with nature”, merely facilitate their discovery – as it’s already there. The older we get the harder it is to dig away at the layers that the pressures of daily life deposits and unearth our instinctive affection, and need, for the living world around us. Maybe it’s time for adults to re-learn our connection with nature first. Don’t forget.

Read more of Jen’s blogs at https://stuffitalkabout.wordpress.com/

Stuff I Talk About

“We need to reconnect children with nature!”, sound the cries of environmental organisations. Our children are suffering from nature deficit disorder, they’ve lost the right to roam, they have too much screen time. Charities such as the National Trust and the movement Project Wild Thing have both been working hard over the past few years to reverse these trends.

But what about us? I argue that it is perhaps those in their 20s and 30s who are our vital audience. Most of us are yet to have children, some of us may not ever have a family. We don’t have the excuse to go to the park. Many of us have been hauling ourselves up a career ladder where the rungs have been kicked out due to the “economic climate”. We’re earning to pay rent to someone else to live in houses we’re barely present in, all because we…

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Chat, Drink, Vote!

The candidates have been put forward and the elections are booked for

Thursday 20th March, 7:00pm at the Navy Volunteer, King Street.

Join us for a drink, to hear the candidates and for your chance to vote for whoever you think should help run the Bristol Nature Network!

See the list of candidates here and don’t forget to register your attendance below for Thursday.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TO ATTEND THE ELECTIONS AND CAST YOUR VOTE