Teenagers from the RSPB's East Yorkshire Phoenix Group celebrated the group's 20th birthday earlier this month, with a trip to RSPB Bempton Cliffs.
Organised by Tom Cross, Bempton Cliffs' Membership Development Manager, the group celebrated entering their second decade with a birthday event at Bempton Cliffs. The trip involved a cliff top walk - in glorious fog - followed by an indoor picnic in the Seabird Centre.
Group Leader, Bev Hylton, was presented with a certificate and a water colour painting to mark the occasion, while each group member received a puffin pin badge.
Siobhan McGuigan, RSPB Youth Development Officer for Northern England, praised Bev's dedication and commitment in making the group a success.
She said: "It's important to say thank you - and Bev does a tremendous job. She's been with the group since day one and inspired generations of youngsters to undertake practical conservation work that not only benefits nature but the community too. Her enthusiastic approach is one of the reasons this group has been around so long."
Phoenix Groups cater for the RSPB's members, aged between 12 and 18, and actively encourage youngsters to get involved in practical conservation work as well as nurturing young people's passion for wildlife.
This provides good grounding for those wishing to choose conservation as a career path, and Tom Cross is the perfect example of how experience gained from this group can help do just that.
He joined the RSPB's junior society, Wildlife Explorers, before progressing to the Phoenix group and then adult RSPB membership. His teenage years spent with the Phoenix group helped him form a real connection with the natural world through hands-on activities such as improving habitats or building homes for nature. He has really happy memories of days spent up to his ankles in mud clearing ponds and even falling in one in an attempt to get closer to nature.
Today's members are equally as passionate as Tom: Jacob Jackson, 14 years old, lives in Hessle and has been a member of the group for around 18 months. He's always been interested in wildlife and progressed from Wildlife Explorers into the Phoenix Group.
Jacob said: "Some people think it's nerdy, but it's not. I feel I'm really making a difference in the natural world and that's really cool."
To find out more about joining the East Riding RSPB Phoenix Group, contact Bev at email@example.com.