After leaving university, Adam, 22, began volunteering to gain conservation experience. He found himself a New to Nature trainee a few months later, as Community and Visitor Engagement Assistant at RSPB Sandwell Valley. His placement, where he helps connect people to nature, is supporting Adam to secure an environmental future.
Photo of Adam

Adam was feeling adrift when he left university. He had been volunteering at RSPB Sandwell Valley in the West Midlands for a few months, unsure of his next steps, when his site manager at the time gave him a leaflet pack, which advertised the New to Nature role of Community and Visitor Engagement Assistant. To break into the sector, and gain even more conservation experience, the timing was ideal for Adam to apply.

The highlight of Adam’s role is putting RSPB Sandwell Valley visitors in touch with nature. The events and activities he assists with are simple but formative first steps; arts and crafts, pond dipping, and bird watching walks. Adam has enjoyed wildlife and bird watching since he was small. Growing up, he even had a family membership with the RSPB. This job, introducing other people to the joys of nature, was perfect for him.

As a shy person, Adam hopes to grow in confidence through New to Nature. His responsible role – which entails various event planning and running, and a duty manager shift running the building – is helping him become more confident in himself and his ability to work in a conservation organisation. With the help of Groundwork’s Youth Employment Coach, Adam has also been working towards his future in the sector. Together, they have looked at Adam’s CV and identified resources, such as using the breaking barriers fund to learn how to drive.

Beyond this placement, Adam is debating his options. He could return to university, and study an ecology or environmental science course, one more geared towards the sector. An alternative route sees Adam remain with RSPB, or even find another environmental organisation. The overall goal though, is to continue working in environment-related roles.

Adam said:

“It’s nice to see people who may have never thought about getting into the outdoors or nature enjoying it.”

Going out there and applying to an organisation normally is quite daunting, especially when it’s hard to get the experience that they want. We need more young people in the sector as a whole.

Sam Turley (

New to Nature is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the celebrations to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the King’s Coronation, delivered through a partnership of Groundwork, The Prince’s Trust, Disability Rights UK, Mission Diverse and the Youth Environmental Service.

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