Young people are invited to connect with and write about nature this spring and summer – and they may have their work published and win prizes.
Young Nature Writer 2023 is launched to coincide with Manx Wildlife Week (April 29 to May 7) and the challenge runs until the end of the school summer holidays.
Young people aged 21 and under are invited to write up to 500 words about Manx nature or wildlife – their favourite creature or place, a specific experience, or how being in nature makes them feel.
They can illustrate their entries if they wish to.
Isle of Man schools taking part in the second UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man Week (June 26-30), and Scouts and Guides working towards their UNESCO Biosphere Badge, can enjoy taking part in the competition, but it is not limited to this group.
The challenge is run by UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man with Manx Wildlife Trust (MWT), Manx Ornithological Society (MOS) and the Isle of Man Examiner.
Winning entries will appear in the Examiner and on iomtoday.co.im and in Manx Nature, the twice-yearly magazine for MWT members.
The Isle of Man overall winner will receive a year’s family membership of MWT and a beautiful hand-made wooden trophy made of local wood by a local craftsman. The best bird entry will receive a pair of binoculars and bird-spotting guide. Other winners will receive MWT goodies.
Clare Barber MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture and vice-chair of UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man, said: ‘Nature is key to the sustainable future we strive for. As a UNESCO Biosphere, we seek to connect people with nature, educate people about its importance and encourage people to enjoy it and care for it.
‘Wherever they live in the Island, our young people are lucky to be close to an abundance of nature, on land and at sea. I hope they will take the opportunity of the spring and summer months to get out into nature and write about what they see and how it makes them feel.’
Leigh Morris, chief exective officer of MWT, said: ‘Writing about any subject is a great way to learn more about it. This is a great way to get young people better connected with nature and wildlife to promote better understanding and, therefore, more support for its conservation. This is a key part of our MWT #TeamWilder ethos and I’m really looking forward to reading the entries.’
Rob Fisher, of the Manx Ornithological Society, said: ‘There’s never been a more important time to get the next generation involved with nature. We hope that this fun competition will encourage young people to appreciate the amazing birds that call our Biosphere home.’
Richard Butt, editor of the Examiner, said: ‘It’s a pleasure to again team up with UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man to encourage and publish new young writing talent on this important topic.’