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Young nature detectives get up close and personal in the National Park Stephen Garnett

Generation Green

Generation Green was a programme we participated in during 2019-2022 and was funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. Generation Green was about creating jobs, volunteering and training opportunities, and offering outdoor and online learning experiences. It aimed to provide more than 100,000 opportunities to connect young people to nature – many for the first time – and to cultivate a sense of care for the natural environment.

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Project partners

Generation Green was an Access Unlimited consortium project and led by the Youth Hostel Association. The consortium which includes: The Outward Bound Trust, Scouts, Girlguiding, Field Studies Council and the 10 English National Parks.

Generation Green in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

Here at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) we recruited a Youth Volunteering and Youth Engagement Officer who worked with our staff from our Access & Engagement team and the wider organisation to offer a wide range of opportunities for schools, individuals and groups to get involved – these included free nature discovery day sessions for children aged between 7-14 years old and nature explorer sessions for children aged between 14-18 years old and free residential across the National Park.

These included free nature discovery day sessions for children aged between 7-14 years old and nature explorer sessions for children aged between 14-18 years old, free residentials in youth hostels in the National Park, Dales Action Days offering volunteering opportunities and finally Up Skill Down Dale, a skill development programme for young people interested in a green career.

Day visits

As part of Generation Green nearly 650 young people visited the Yorkshire Dales on a nature discoverer or explorer day.  These free days for 7 -14 year olds were facilitated by our expert staff and offered an inspiring visit to the national park where young people could learn new skills, help nature and enjoy time out with friends in beautiful surroundings

These action packed days included learning new skills like navigation, exploring the natural world, citizen science, practical conservation and team work. The focus was on fun, hands on learning and with an emphasis on working together and providing a real experience of our wonderful countryside.

Residential stays

In addition to day visits a further 400 young people extended their time in the Dales and spent a night (or two) at a youth hostel in the National Park.  Activities were similar to the day visits and were tailored to the needs of the group by our expert Youth Engagement Officer Simon and other YDNPA staff. After an action packed day evenings were spent exploring the Park, sat around the camp fire and experiencing our amazing Dark Skies.

Dales Action Days  

Dales Action Days were volunteering days for groups of young people aged 14-26. Groups helped with conversation and practical tasks across the park such as tree planting, footpath maintenance and wildlife surveys. Our Youth Volunteering Officer Caroline designed bespoke days to suit the needs of the groups.

During Generation Green over 250 young people came out to spend a day outdoors undertaking a rewarding physical activity which made a real difference to the National Park.

Up Skill Down Dale

Up Skill Down Dale was a volunteering programme which supported individual 18-29 year olds.  It aimed to provide new green skills and support a route to employment in the green economy through shared experiences, expert mentoring and career development opportunities.  Volunteers met as a group for monthly task days and socials and complete individual placements in various Teams in the YDNPA

Of the 12 volunteers recruited to take part in its first, 5 have gone on to secure full time jobs in the green economy, 3 are in long term volunteering placements with the National Park and a further 2 sit on the influential National Park Management Plan Steering Group.

The future of Generation Green

Although the funded Generation Green programme ended in March 2022 YDNPA continues to support young people to become involved in the National Park and develop important green skills. Dales Action Days and the Up Skill Down Dale programme are now permanent parts of our volunteering programme. Get in touch to find out more with us via