Our Young Leaders are a group of 20-30 year olds that help ensure young people’s voices and views are considered in the Trust and that more young people are engaged in the Trust’s work. The group started in 2018 in Scotland’s Year of Young People.

For more information about the Young Leader’s work, visit the Young Leader volunteer page or follow their Twitter account @ScotWild_YL.


The Young Leader team currently comprises:

In this section

Ammara Abid
Young Leader

Ammara is the Project Coordinator for Bonnie Boots. Boots and Beards started this project to give women their own space. She arranges activities and hikes for women. She has a PGDE in Secondary Teaching and also coordinates Duke of Edinburgh.

Ammara is keen to build bridges into nature and wellbeing for BAME communities. She wants to break barriers in the outdoors and make it an inclusive and accessible space for all.

She is excited to volunteer with the Trust and engage with like-minded people, but also use this platform to show others how important it is to reconnect with nature by looking after our planet and together we can make our voices be heard.

Amy Thompson
Young Leader

Amy is a lover of all things outdoors. With a background in Veterinary Nursing, she has spent most of her life working with, and caring for, animals. More recently Amy has been a Project Manager within a charity, supporting veterinary teams to champion antimicrobial stewardship (with consideration to environmental impacts on wildlife and ecosystems).

As a Young Leader, Amy hopes to inspire others to reconnect with the with the world around us, motivate people to take responsibility, expand her knowledge of the native flora and fauna, and ultimately spend more time immersing her senses in nature.


Cameron Watson
Young Leader

Cameron is currently studying wildlife biology & conservation at Edinburgh Napier University and about to begin a job as a seasonal ecologist in the summer. He has a particular interest in river restoration and other projects that are at a landscape scale as these bring about the most benefits across the board for a wide range of species.

Cameron believes that good science is more about people than it is about statistics and that without being able to convey messages effectively the facts are almost useless. With this in mind, his goal for the Young Leaders programme is to raise awareness about the need for wildlife conservation to as broad an audience as possible.

Colette Martin
Young Leader

Colette has recently graduated from her Ecology and Environmental Biology Masters. Her main research interest was to understand the physical and behavioural impacts of anthropogenic pressures on wildlife.

Colette loves sharing her passion for nature with others, and so for the past five years, she has been working with young people by volunteering with the RSPB and as a STEM Ambassador. As a Young Leader, she is excited to continue learning and engaging others about Scotland’s native environment and ensuring young voices are heard in the work the Trust does.

Cristina Hamilton
Young Leader

Cristina studied languages and has a background in Sustainability. She works for the Scottish Government and has recently started making her own clothes. Her interest and love for nature stem from childhood. More recently, she’s noticed how important a role nature plays in her sense of wellbeing.

As a Young Leader, Cristina hopes to learn more about Scotland’s rich biodiversity and how we can protect it. She also hopes to inspire others who’ve had fewer opportunities to connect with nature.

Emily Hague
Young Leader

Emily is a marine biologist, specialising in marine mammals. She is currently studying for her PhD, based at Heriot-Watt University. Her research investigates the impacts and effects of human activity on whales, dolphins and seals. She is really enthusiastic to improve understanding of how humans impact the marine environment, and to empower people to work together to protect our blue spaces. Outside of work, Emily still spends plenty of time around the sea – paddleboarding, hiking the coastal path or volunteering with the RNLI.

Emma Eusebi
Young Leader

Emma is from Glasgow and currently working as a Policy and Communications Officer at Environmental Protection Scotland. She recently completed her postgraduate studies in Global Environmental Law and Governance at the University of Strathclyde, where she focused her final dissertation on principles of energy justice and the politics of fossil fuels.

Previously, Emma has also graduated from the University of St. Andrews in International Relations and Italian, where she was first introduced to topics related to climate change, fuelling her passion to pursue a career in the environmental sector and do more for the planet.

Alongside becoming a Young Leader, Emma has also started volunteering at Re-Earth Initiative, a global youth organisation with the aim to make the climate movement accessible to all. She hopes to meet and engage with a number of young people through both of these opportunities, and is looking forward to learning more about how to restore nature and protect biodiversity here in Scotland.

Hannah Wilson
Young Leader

Hannah is currently working for a local authority on climate change and biodiversity projects. She is passionate about landscape scale ecological restoration. Through her work and her volunteering she hopes to help make Scotland a more climate resilient and biodiverse country, protecting and enhancing its ecosystems for the benefit of nature and people.

As a young leader Hannah is looking forward to helping other young people connect with nature and realise its importance. 

Jennifer Wales
Young Leader

Jennifer has a BSc in Environmental Geography from the University of Stirling. Currently working as a GIS Technician with Natural Power, Jennifer is responsible for the processing and analysis of ecology data for renewable energy projects. Jennifer has been volunteering with the trust for a number of years, starting as a community engagement intern with the trusts Ayrshire branch. She now leads the Irvine Wildlife Watch Club and is a member of the Young Leaders where she hopes to use her passion for Scotland’s wildlife to inspire other young people.

Jessie Sheridan
Young Leader

Jessie has worked in the charity sector for more than five years in various roles. Her current role with RZSS involves fundraising for both national and international conservation, education and community projects. Jessie likes to get involved in animal welfare and conservational causes in any way she can, by volunteering, raising awareness and funds to better protect, love and value nature.

She is excited to volunteer alongside fellow Young Leaders and engage with like-minded people, but also use this programme to show the benefits of connecting with nature. She believes that together we can better our native environments and support the ecosystems that live alongside us.

Jonny McMillan
Young Leader

Jonny has a BSc in Outdoor Adventure & Environment from the University of Cumbria and is a recent MSc Graduate from the University of Edinburgh. With his background in outdoor education and environmental studies, Jonny is really interested in looking at rewilding as a future vision for improving Scotland’s ecosystems and how we can rewild ourselves to feel a wee bit more at home outdoors. As a young leader Jonny is excited to work with others to bring the benefits of outdoor access into the discussion around nature conservation and regeneration.

Laura Amy Rutter
Young Leader

Laura is from South Ayrshire but has spent the past four years in Glasgow studying Veterinary Bioscience at Glasgow University. She has grown up in the outdoors and increasingly realises how vital it is for us to all do our part to preserve our environment and wildlife.

Laura hasn’t quite found her niche yet, but she is incredibly passionate about biodiversity loss, climate change and conservation and hopes to pursue a career in One Health which would tie these interests together.

These passions were reflected in Laura’s honours project which she designed around searching for Britain’s fastest declining mammal, the European Water Vole. This involved two months on an island assessing habitat quality, field signs, land use and invasive species.

As a Young Leader, Laura hopes to meet and work with other likeminded people and do her part to help protect Scotland’s unique wildlife and landscapes.

Laura Young
Young Leader

Laura is an award winning climate activist, environmental scientist, sustainability communicator, and ethical influencer. She uses social media to advocate for environmental education and climate justice.

In October 2022 Laura will begin her PhD between the University of Abertay and the University of Dundee as a Hydro Nations Scholar in climate resilience work. She will be researching how to enhance Scotland’s resilience to climate change through community-centred nature-based solutions.

Libby Smith
Young Leader

Libby has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in earth and marine sciences. Following her graduation, she completed her PADI Open Water diving qualification and worked in various community engagement roles. Most recently, Libby supervised the government-funded ‘Consumed’ exhibition tour which showcased ways in which to reduce waste to the general public.

Libby is now starting the Young Leaders Development Programme with the 2050 Climate Group. She hopes that alongside her journey as a Young Leader of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, this will support her aspired career within marine policy or management.

Peter Fuller
Young Leader

Peter has a background in Ecology, studying at the University of Edinburgh. He has worked in offshore renewable wind energy before transitioning into conservation, through volunteering and outreach with practical groups as well as RZSS. He has previously worked at Loch of the Lowes visitor centre, focussing on visitor engagement and outreach.

Peter is currently working for Scottish Wildlife Trust as the Falls of Clyde seasonal ranger in New Lanark, where he is engaging the public through leading event groups focussing on birds and badgers, as well as coordinating and running volunteer groups carrying out practical work.

Peter is excited to get to meet and work with the young leaders, to learn from the wide range of perspectives and expertise. He hopes to ensure that the youth perspective is heard within the Trust.

Phoebe Russell
Young Leader

Phoebe moved to Scotland in 2022 and has been blown away by the contrast in landscapes and species compared to Devon where she grew up. She is currently completing her postgraduate studies in Applied Conservation Genetics and Wildlife Forensics at the University of Edinburgh, where she is focusing her fin dissertation on how DNA tools can assist with traceability in fisheries.

Phoebe has always been interested in human-wildlife interactions and how policy can help to conserve flora and fauna in different nations around the world, particularly within marine environments. She is currently employed as an environmental consultant and works with businesses around Scotland to improve their sustainability through improved waste management.

As a young leader, Phoebe is hoping to work with like-minded individuals on projects that reconnect people with nature. She is hoping to grow her knowledge of Conservation Legislation in Scotland and attend some interesting events around marine policy.

Valle Sanchez-Izquierdo
Young Leader

Passionate – perhaps obsessed – about nature since a very young age, Valle has volunteer and work experience in different fields concerning human and non-human animals. Valle’s love for animal species made her spend her time in various animal charities, from dog shelters to farm animal sanctuaries, as well as at a wildlife rehabilitation centre and currently at the Seabird Centre. She has successfully completed her MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare at The University of Edinburgh, as well as obtained her PADI Advanced Open Water diving qualification.

Valle is very excited to join the Young Leaders. She looks forward to joining both her backgrounds and collaborating with so many people with similar interests. Being an advocate for positive human-animal interactions, she is very keen on exploring the marine and terrestrial wildlife Scotland has to offer, bringing nature closer to the younger generations.

Stuart Owen
Young Leader

Stuart moved to Scotland from Australia in 2022 and has fallen deeply in love with the landscape and the animals, plants, (and composite organisms!) that inhabit it. He is dedicated to connecting communities with nature and helping to restore Scotland’s biodiversity.

He is currently a Ranger and Duty Manager at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park where he engages with visitors giving talks about the animals at the park and the native animals that depend on the Cairngorms. With both zoological and theatre qualifications, Stuart is well positioned to make conservation entertaining and engaging!

As a Young Leader, Stuart hopes to increase his knowledge of Scotland’s unique ecosystems, its resident and migratory animals, and empower people and communities to connect with nature and protect this wonderful world of ours.

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