THE young people who will become the environmental leaders of the future have begun a placement with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

The charity has welcomed a new group of 24 of 'tomorrow’s natural leaders' (TNLs) - six of whom are based at Appleton Mill Farm, near Pickering.

The TNL scheme is a 12-month placement with the Trust for young people aged 16-24 who are keen to help local wild places and help reverse the decline of the region's threatened wildlife.

It will also help the participants to carve out a future career in the green economy.

New recruit Lauren Darn said: "I am determined to devote my working life to protecting the environment, and I knew the best place to begin would be working throughout the Yorkshire countryside which I have known and loved since childhood.

"This placement will allow me to channel my creativity and love for the environment into a structured and worthwhile learning experience."

The Appleton Mill Farm recruits are one of five teams across Yorkshire. They will carry out a range of conservation work on Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's 100+ nature reserves, such as habitat restoration, wildlife surveys, events management, campaigning, outreach and education.

Paul Thompson, project lead for North and East Yorkshire, explains what the TNLs can expect: "The first six months involves the teams working alongside Trust staff to gain skills and experience in practical conservation, whilst the second half of their placement will be spent developing and delivering self-led environmental projects and campaigns.

"Each is encouraged to help shape and steer activity and the direction of their placements from the outset.

"They'll learn loads of transferable skills which will really help them to find work at the end of their year-long placement."

Tomorrow's Natural Leaders is one of 31 projects run nationwide as part of 'Our Bright Future', a £33 million pound initiative funded by the Big Lottery Fund that supports young people across the UK to lead progressive change in their communities and local environment.

Over five years close to 100 young adults are set to benefit from the experience.

To find out more and keep up to date with the teams' progress, visit