When a new environmental action group was started in Oldham last year, Year 10 student William Smith was very keen to get involved. A volunteer with the Eco Team in school since Year 7, he has taken part in litter picks and other projects to improve the school environment, and how we all protect the wider community.
Forces for Nature is an initiative from Oldham Youth Council enabling young people to find a role in tackling environmental challenges at a local level. After meeting online, like so much else in the pandemic, the group are now able to come together in person, with a flood of activity underway or planned. William has been building bird boxes which will be valuable additions to Oldham’s parks.
Alongside gaining a practical skill, this activity has taught the young people about the lives of different species, working with the emerging Northern Roots project, based at Alexandra Park. The group is also bringing about practical changes, looking at the need for bins and benches, and how to balance caring for the park with encouraging more people to visit.
The Forces for Nature Group meets every Thursday, 6-8pm at Positive Steps, 80 Union Street, close to Gallery Oldham in the town centre. William said, “It’s a really good group, very welcoming to everyone who wants to be part of it.”
In the new year the group has plenty more exciting plans such as cleaning up the town’s canals, planting trees and visiting green energy sites. The group will also seek to hold local leaders to account for their actions to protect the borough’s ecology.
William is pleased with the progress the group has made already. “We have done things that have made a difference in the local area, and I’ve made lots of good friends. The group gets involved in meeting important people involved in the environmental movement.”
For any young people interested in joining, you can get in touch by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter @OldhamYouth