Wild Youth has marked the beginning of a new school term with the very first Go Wild Week.

Go Wild Week took place from Monday 25th to Friday 29th September 2023.

Go Wild Week is a week-long celebration designed to get young people to engage with nature and their surroundings in a way that fosters respect and appreciation for the natural environment.  

To mark the week, Wild Youth selected Fort Hill Integrated College in Lisburn as their chosen school for 2023.  In the run up to the week, the school received a Resource Pack to help support environmental learning.  The pack contained resources to support learning both in and outside of the classroom through practical lessons, including the following:

  • compost donated by Natural World Products to help support our work with schools
  • crocus corms
  • native wildflower seeds
  • Belfast Hills Partnership Bird Migration Posters
  • Reusable plant pots
  • invertebrate ID guides
  • tree ID guides

Bird Ringing

Seven participating classes from Years 8, 9 and 10 got to take part in bird-ringing sessions throughout the week.  Through the hands-on sessions, students got to encounter some common birds from their school grounds up close.  Daily sessions, delivered by Aidan Crean and Debbie Doolittle, helped students understand the importance of monitoring and recording population numbers.

Storm Agnes rolled into town during proceedings but this didn’t deter the students from engaging with nature. Debbie works in animal rescue and was able to bring an owl and a hedgehog in to the classroom so students could learn about animal rescue and the value of wildlife.

Aidan Crean showing young people that nature thrives in the grounds of Fort Hill Integrated College during a bird-ringing session.

I am delighted that our very first Go Wild Week was a success.  Outdoor learning is such a crucial element of personal development amongst young people that nurtures both their mental and physical wellbeing. Research has shown the many positive benefits to getting out into nature. It was this that inspired the development of Go Wild Week.  Young people in urban areas in particular can feel removed from nature and we wanted to show that nature can be found everywhere and that it is for everyone, not just people living in the countryside. 

Silvia Galli, Belfast Hills Partnership Outreach Officer

Wild Youth is a joint project between the Belfast Hills Partnership and Ulster Wildlife, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund for Northern Ireland.  This project delivers wild wellbeing sessions with 11-25 year olds, in and around the Belfast Hills, using nature as a tool to connect with young people and increase their physical and mental health, incorporating the 5 steps to wellbeing.