Student praised for wildlife work

Student praised for wildlife work

6 December 2017

DOWNPATRICK student Pierce Brannigan was one of a number of young people whose outstanding efforts in championing wildlife across Northern Ireland was officially recognised at an event in Belfast last week.

The Ardmore House student was one of a number of people honoured at the inaugural Grassroots Challenge Awards held at W5 and hosted by television wildlife presenter and naturalist Simon King. 

Over the past year, 2,000 young people aged between 11and  24 from Young Farmers’ Clubs, Duke of Edinburgh award groups and special schools rolled up their sleeves to carry out 150 projects to help nature thrive in their local area, as part of the Grassroots Challenge project, led by Ulster Wildlife. 

From making homes for birds and hedgehogs, to planting trees and transforming local spaces into vital wildlife havens, the young people have unleashed their passion, creativity and potential to achieve amazing things for wildlife and people.

Pierce was presented with a young environmental leader of the year award, while Mourne Young Farmers’ Club was presented with an award for its conservation work in the mountains.

Congratulating Pierce and all the others who were recognised for championing wildlife,

Simon King said he was “genuinely inspired” by all the fantastic work young people have done through the Grassroots Challenge.

“At a time when young people are becoming increasingly disconnected with nature, it is heartening to see so many getting out there, having fun and changing things for the better,” he said.

“Young people are our future, so initiatives which support them to develop skills and widen their appreciation of the natural world around them are a very wise investment.”

Alexey Janes, Grassroots project co-ordinator with Ulster Wildlife, said all the young people should be proud of themselves.

“Helping young people experience nature and make a difference to their environment is a big part of our work. We have made a great start during this first full year of the Grassroots Challenge and are excited to see what else young people will achieve for themselves and for wildlife in the years ahead,” he added.