Young environmentalists wanted for Darwin Scholarship

A UK scholarship designed to help young people learn a range of environmental skills and explore future career opportunities in the natural world is open for applications.

The Field Studies Council, which has its headquarters based at Preston Montford near Shrewsbury, is looking for 75 young people aged 16 to 25 to take part in its 2024 Young Darwin Scholarship programme and those interested have until June 2nd to apply.

The annual scholarship helps those with an interest in the environment to gain practical skills and understanding of a wide range of field techniques including biodiversity identification and recording skills.

Mollie Clay, learning and development officer for the charity, said the scholarship had been designed to help young people develop the skills and knowledge they might need to access a range of potential green careers.

She said: “The Field Studies Council has been running the Young Darwin Scholarship for more than 10 years now and we have awarded scholarships to more than 300 young people in that time.

“The scheme is always very popular so we would urge anyone who is interested in taking part this year to get their applications in by the June deadline.”

The scholarships are funded through grants and donations to the charity and each year they start with a residential trip, or series of day trips, at various locations across the UK.

During these trips scholars practice a wide range of field identification skills, gain practical, observational and recording skills, explore landscapes and meet a range of inspirational expert speakers.

After the residential trip or day visits, scholars will receive exclusive support from tutors dedicated staff who will help advise on further environmental study and career pathways.

Scholars will also have access to professional webinars covering career and academic advice and follow-on sessions relating to current environmental topics, as well as a free youth membership to the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland.

Charlie Lawler, 26, was among the first cohort of Darwin Scholars back in 2014 and could not rate the programme more highly.

Now working as a Geographic Information System (GIS) consultant for Urban Green – a multidisciplinary environmental consultancy working on projects UK-wide – he urged other young people to get involved.

He said: “It’s a brilliant way for anyone interested in the natural world, geography and science to get a better insight into how professionals use these subjects and to learn a range of applicable field skills.

“People often think if you do a geography degree, you’ll go onto be a geography teacher but that isn’t the case at all – there’s lots of opportunities out there.

“The scholarship was my first real experience of undertaking proper fieldwork and it was great to learn and understand how different methods are applied in the real world.”

The 2024 Young Darwin Scholarship will take place at several locations across the UK including Rhyd-y-Creuau in North Wales, Slapton Ley in Devon, Doddington Hall in Lincoln and sites in Birmingham and London.

The scholarship covers 90 per cent of the programme fees, leaving applicants to pay just £45 or £90 depending on which location they visit. Extra support might be available for individuals who would financially struggle to cover the remaining 10 per cent of the fees.

For further details on scholarship dates, locations and information on how to apply visit

CAPTION: Young Darwins learning to identify marine biodiversity.


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