Libby Smith joined the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Young Leader programme in January 2021 after graduating in earth and marine sciences at university. She wanted to continue learning about wildlife and gain new skills for a career in marine policy and conservation.
In this blog she shares how volunteering with the Trust as a Young Leader is helping her reach this goal.
During my time as a Young Leader, I have got involved in many activities. My first in-person meeting involved discussing and contributing to the development of the Young Leaders strategy, following the release of the Young Leader’s Youth Manifesto. Since then, every week we have an online team meeting, where we discuss engagement and learning opportunities, and set action points. As part of the social media team, I also help manage the Young Leaders Twitter account; posting and interacting with tweets across a week every month, to further public engagement and inspire climate action. Online environmental campaigns I have been involved in include, the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild campaign, National Marine Week where I assisted in the creation of a video highlighting Eco-Anxiety, and Environmental Protection Scotland’s ‘Clean Air Day’ campaign. I have also collaborated with fellow Young Leaders, to lead an online presentation to members of a local wildlife group, sharing our achievements, and discussing ways to reach out and inspire more young people to get involved in climate discussions and wildlife projects.
Throughout my time as a Young Leader, I have been fortunate enough to visit multiple places that I hadn’t been to previously, including the Falls of Clyde reserve, Jupiter Wildlife Centre, Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, and the Scottish Seabird Centre.
Joining the group has allowed me to keep my connection to wildlife, not only supporting my career prospects, but also helping with my mental and physical health. I am also learning things about science communication and wildlife conservation that I never knew previously and have gained valuable contacts and friends along the way. Additionally, the group introduced me to other volunteering opportunities, such as becoming a #GenSea volunteer with The Wildlife Trust’s marine youth group.
The ability to describe on my CV the transferable skills and experiences gained through volunteering, has built my confidence, and enhanced my job applications. As well as attaining science communication roles, I was most recently successful in obtaining an internship at the Scottish Association for Marine Science as a Research and Development intern in sustainable aquaculture; for which I described my volunteering activities during my interview.
My plan is to continue volunteering with the Young Leaders group and other volunteering groups, whilst I navigate my career. Through the Young Leaders team, I want to continue expanding my network, support the continued efforts of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, and increase enthusiasm, awareness, and involvement of the general public (particularly young people) in wildlife conservation and climate discussions. As my internship comes to an end in September, I am searching for new opportunities in science communication/policy development/consultancy. I am finding that jobs (even at entry-level) are very competitive and require a lot of experience, so I am hopeful that my continued involvement in volunteering, and my perseverance, will support success in my next role.
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Libby Smith joined the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Young Leader programme in January 2021 after graduating in earth and marine sciences at university. She wanted to continue learning about wildlife and …