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New project to help young people into conservation




The Osprey Leadership Foundation was started by Dr Tim Mackrill Photo: Lee Hellwing (2763218)
The Osprey Leadership Foundation was started by Dr Tim Mackrill Photo: Lee Hellwing (2763218)

An innovative new project that will assist young people living in countries along the migratory routes of Rutland Water’s ospreys has been launched.

The Osprey Leadership Foundation (OLF) was started by Dr Tim Mackrill, a nature conservationist and author, who managed the Rutland Osprey Project for more than 10 years.

Tim said it was while leading field trips to The Gambia and Senegal in Africa that the idea for the OLF was born.

“We registered as a charity just before Christmas and held our official launch last week,” he said.

“The idea is to help young people from countries through which the ospreys travel from Rutland Water to West Africa get started in conservation.”

Although it was only recently launched, the foundation is already working with youngsters in the UK and in The Gambia - countries at the opposite ends of the migratory routes.

Guests at the launch of the Osprey Leadership Foundation on Rutland Water Photo: Lee Hellwing
Guests at the launch of the Osprey Leadership Foundation on Rutland Water Photo: Lee Hellwing

The idea is to inspire youngsters from different cultures and contrasting backgrounds about the natural world and help them develop into conservation leaders who can make an impact at an international level.

“We plan to set up various initiatives including providing university bursaries to study conservation and we’re also looking at setting up a three year Future Conservation Leaders programme, which we are looking for grant funding for,” said Tim.

“It’s still early days and our ideas are ambitious, but I think it’s good to set your goals quite high.”

The foundation decided on this approach because migratory birds like the osprey do not recognise international borders.

The Osprey Leadership Foundation was started by Dr Tim Mackrill Photo: Lee Hellwing (2763241)
The Osprey Leadership Foundation was started by Dr Tim Mackrill Photo: Lee Hellwing (2763241)

Other projects it is involved in include the The Osprey Clubs scheme, which is running clubs in five Gambian schools. Each club receives regular visits by the OLF team and the opportunity for up to 30 students to participate in a minimum of four field trips per year.

There are plans to expand to more schools in the future.

l To find out more about the foundation’s work, including the programmes, visit the website at www.ospreylf.org or contact Tim by e-mail at tim@ospreylf.org



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