In 2022, empowering the youth to take action in conservation has been a key focus of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat, with activities not only in the Wadden Sea, but also on the global scale. Encouraged by the experience at the first East Atlantic Flyway Youth Forum (EAFYF) held in 2021, the organising team from Youth Engaged in Wetlands, the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, and the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative organised a fundraising training for EAFYF 2022, building on the outcomes of the first forum. The aim was to increase the youths’ capacity to write successful grant proposals to raise money for their conservation projects. A progress report on the EAFYF 2022 and related activities has now been published.
To put the learned skills into action, forum participants had the opportunity to apply for a small grant to implement conservation activities for the benefit of migratory waterbirds. Some were given the opportunity to join the Migratory Birds for People meeting in Senegal and receive extra training in how to raise awareness for flyway issues, working with different audiences. These activities were made possible by additional funds provided by the Life IP project ‘Deltanatuur’.
Among the participants of the EAFYF 2022 were many young conservationists, who had already participated in the first flyway youth forum. They had stayed in contact with the organisers via email or social media and used the opportunity provided by the EAFYF to further advance their voluntary or professional contribution to flyway conservation. Seeing these participants grow in confidence, skills, and professionalism, all while maintaining their drive and motivation, is a key driver for continuing our efforts to strengthen youth engagement in flyway conservation. New partners and new ideas are always welcome.