With the photograph-taking period of 2020VISION coming to an end, it gives me an ideal opportunity to reflect on the past sixteen months during my role as Young Champion. Being fortunate to grow up out in a remote countryside village, I really jumped at the opportunity to communicate to others how amazing the natural world is when we get up close and personal with it. And using photography – a medium I love – made the whole experience that much more exciting.
The role has been quite flexible with regards to how much work to put in. I enjoy escaping into nature with camera in hand for several hours and this project provided the perfect “excuse” to do even more of that! But I also wanted to share my love of nature with as many people as possible in a variety of different ways, to assist in conveying 2020VISION’s message that these amazing places are so vital to us and worthy of our respect.
It has been a busy feat, from writing press releases and blog entries for local news media, to organising an exhibition. The latter included applying for funding; designing and creating promotional material; advertising and choosing the top 6 photographs uploaded by residents to the 2020VISION – Cumbernauld Flickr page for inclusion in the exhibition; organising printing of photographs; mounting photographs; writing a press release; and setting up and running the exhibition. It has been extremely character-building stuff, and although there were times when I was wishing the ground would just swallow me up it was totally worth it overall!
One of the most enjoyable aspects was running a wildlife photography tutorial and practical session for beginners. It provided the perfect opportunity to plug 2020VISION’s message while helping participants gain skills that they could take away with them. Having never taught people before, it was an exciting challenge and I enjoyed it so much that I have already organised another photography workshop as an event in my current job!
With so much involvement in the local community, I have been able to use this opportunity to work towards my John Muir Conserver Award. I have kept a diary of my experiences along with favourite photographs from my adventures, and any press-cuttings, blog entries and promotional material. It has been a great tool to log my personal development throughout my 2020VISION journey and it has been a fantastic project to get involved in.
It has been amazing getting out into Cumbernauld’s green spaces and discovering and sharing their secrets, but even more fantastic finding out about all the different groups working to make the town a better place for both wildlife and people. It has been a privilege to meet and work alongside such dedicated and hard-working people and I am extremely grateful for their willingness to allow me to photograph them in between joining in with the dirty work! I really hope that the resultant photographs have inspired others to get out, explore and reconnect with nature, which in turn will provide more leverage to help the move towards a wilder Britain.