Young people with a passion for climate and nature are being asked to come forward and help transform Scotland’s first National Park into a thriving, sustainable place for future generations.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority has today (Wednesday 17th January) launched a campaign to significantly expand and diversify the membership of its National Park Youth Committee.
Youth Committee members help make decisions on key issues including climate change, how land is used, improving public transport for rural communities and green career opportunities. Members gain work experience, participate in National Park Board meetings, help shape National Park policies and develop youth-led projects.
The drive to recruit more members reflects the increased importance the Park Authority is placing on involving young people in decisions that will impact the National Park for decades to come.
Dr Heather Reid, Convener of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority said: “We are facing unprecedented challenges to nature, to climate and to our lives that depend on them. I strongly believe that young people are essential if we are to turn the tide on these issues and deliver the change that is required to protect our National Park for future generations.
“Our Youth Committee offers young people a unique opportunity to take action on issues that matter to them, issues such as the climate and nature crises, which we know young people are concerned and passionate about, as well as the transition to a greener economy, which will directly impact the jobs available to them.”
The Youth Committee is open to young people aged 14-26 and the Park Authority is particularly keen to hear from potential members aged 17-26.
In addition to opportunities to directly influence decision-making, Youth Committee members can benefit from skills development, networking opportunities, hands-on volunteering work and events that bring together young people from National Parks across the UK.
Aidan Cronin, 18, from Callander, has been a member of the Youth Committee for almost five years and in that time has met with senior politicians, participated in Board Meetings and completed an internship with the Park Authority.
He said: “I’ve had opportunities that simply wouldn’t have been open to me otherwise, like meeting a US Secretary of State and interviewing a Scottish Government Minister.
“One of the best things about the Youth Committee is that it is very action focused. We aren’t just talking about things, we feed into work that is relevant and see the results of our input. I have developed not only skills but also a network, something which is really important for people my age and will help with job opportunities when I graduate.
“And for me personally, learning what I have about National Parks and conservation was influential in helping me decide to study geography and sustainable development at university.”
The drive to recruit more young people to the Youth Committee comes at a pivotal moment for the National Park, as the Park Authority prepares to publish a new five-year plan, the National Park Partnership Plan. The upcoming Plan will set out the action required to deliver a thriving National Park that is nature positive and carbon negative by 2045.
More information about getting involved with the Youth Committee can be found here or by emailing email@example.com