Inspiring conservation narratives exchanged at the EAFYF 2023

The 3rd East Atlantic Flyway Youth Forum (EAFYF 2023) was concluded on 10 September 2023, after two days of intensive training and collaborative work. More than 40 young adults, aged 18-30, from different countries along the East Atlantic Flyway gathered to enhance their conservation skills, with a central focus on harnessing the power of 'Conservation Storytelling’ as a vital tool for effective stakeholder engagement in conservation efforts.

The forum was led by renowned trainers, including Sacha Dench, acclaimed as the 'Human Swan,' and Kathleen Retourné, a well-experienced journalist and communication specialist. Participants learnt how to communicate conservation messages effectively and how to share their own experiences in conveying conservation narratives.

The first day of the forum was dedicated to establishing the foundational skills essential for impactful conservation storytelling and presentation. The interactive training sessions provided practical insights, equipping participants with the tools to craft compelling narratives, drawing from both expert guidance and their peers' practical experiences.

On the next day, the forum explored the dynamic relationship between 'Conservation Storytelling' and the digital world. The focus extended beyond social media to encompass other different communication channels, all recognised as powerful tools for effective storytelling. Participants delved into leveraging these channels to forge personal connections, raise awareness, and drive tangible change.

At the forum, the EAFYF Ambassador Programme was also introduced. This initiative will engage 15 young volunteers to represent flyway youth across the East Atlantic Flyway. The programme aims to sustain ongoing engagement, foster communication, and facilitate collaborative actions in support of Flyway's conservation endeavours.

The East Atlantic Flyway Youth Forum represents a collaborative initiative involving several international organisations. In 2023, it was once again jointly organised by the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat, Migratory Birds for People (represented by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust), and Youth Engaged in Wetlands. This strong partnership underscores the collective commitment to nurturing and empowering youth engagement in the vital field of conservation.