Humber Wild named finalist for Young Environmentalist of the Year Award

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North Lincolnshire-based Forest School Aims to Reconnect Children with Nature

A North Lincolnshire mother and daughter duo have been nominated for the Young Environmentalist of the Year Award, just seven months after starting forest school Humber Wild.

Spanning 100 acres of pristine woodland in Burkingshaws Covent, Humber Wild is on a mission to bridge the gap between children and nature across the region, offering immersive experiences throughout the year.

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Emma Methven and Nina Taylor bring a wealth of experience in conservation, ecology, and education to their endeavour, drawing from their backgrounds in conservation, ecology, and as mainstream teachers.

(L-R) Steve Lyon, Emma Methven and Nina Taylor(L-R) Steve Lyon, Emma Methven and Nina Taylor
(L-R) Steve Lyon, Emma Methven and Nina Taylor

After noticing that the schooling system has deteriorated and children are both missing out and suffering from anxiety, Emma and Nina initiated the Young Rangers school project, where they mentored children aged seven to 11 in hands-on woodland and land management skills. Through this initiative, children transformed an abandoned area within their school into a thriving nature reserve, a project that spanned nearly a decade.

Driven by their passion for environmental stewardship, Emma and Nina transitioned to full-time with Humber Wild. The forest school has quickly become a beacon of excitement and discovery, offering not only a platform for environmental research but also a serene retreat for both children and adults alike.

Humber Wild welcomes children of all abilities as well as adults. Additionally, the forest school offers specialized programs such as Wild Women Bushcraft, providing a safe space for women to explore bushcraft skills. There is also the opportunity to delve into the ancient crafts of the Vikings and Saxons through sessions that showcase timeless skills like flint knapping, shelter building, weaving, foraging, and cordage making.

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They are also working with York University to help in research for the benefits of green and blue spaces within the Humber estuary.

After receiving a Kickstart grant from UKSE – a local investment company that provides finance of up to £1.5m to growing companies, as well as providing support for start-ups – the pair invested in extra child-friendly tools, tarps and shelter, waterproof footwear and clothing, and has assisted in paying towards accountant fees.

Commenting on the venture so far, Emma said: “Through Humber Wild, we're not just teaching children about nature; we're reconnecting them with their inherent connection to the natural world.

“It's about fostering a sense of stewardship and wonder that will endure far beyond their time in our forest school.

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“We are incredibly thankful for the funding which has provided us a great boost for Humber Wild, and for the nomination from the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust for Young Environmentalist of the Year!”

Steve Lyon, Regional Manager at UKSE, commented: “Emma and Nina’s success in such a short period is nothing short of amazing, we can’t wait to see the impact they have on the mental health of the region’s children moving forward and wish them every success.”

UKSE provides loans and equity finance of up to £1.5m to existing growing businesses, particularly those creating jobs – for further information, please contact the team on 0114 2700 933.