Graduate works to empower young conservationists

As Chair of Chester Zoo’s groundbreaking Youth Board, BSc Zoo Management graduate Felix Rowan-Young has been instrumental in ensuring that the opinions of young conservationists are heard across the world famous zoo and further afield.

Felix and fellow board members were recruited to the UK’s first zoo-based Youth Board two years ago and have been working alongside Chester Zoo’s Board of Trustees and executive team to help shape the zoo’s future direction and to further develop its appeal to teenagers and young adults.

Key activities have included presenting to the International Conservation Education Conference about the role of young governance in conservation, hosting the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Global Youth Summit and working with the Conservation Education and Engagement team to deliver Chester Zoo’s first ever Youth Symposium. The latter event brought together over 100 passionate young conservationists to exchange experiences, knowledge and good practice in addressing the biodiversity crisis and celebrated the valuable contributions they are making towards protecting the planet.

Felix and his peers have also had input into Chester Zoo’s equality, diversity and inclusion strategy and have been behind the scenes to better understand the conservation breeding programme which supports the zoo’s mission to prevent extinction. They have also been called upon to share their experiences with other zoos considering launching youth boards.

The 23 year-old said: “It’s really exciting looking back at the projects we have helped to deliver. We believe that empowering young people is vital because it will be they who decide on the future of conservation, whether it be in research, politics, decision making or behaviour change. We have a lot of new projects ahead and we’re looking forward to what the future may bring!”

Felix was encouraged to apply for the Chester Zoo Youth Board by Yvette Foulds-Davis, who was at that time his Animal Science Curriculum Area Manager.  Selected from a total of 100 applicants, he was first appointed Vice Chair and progressed to Chair in 2021.

He graduated from UCR in 2020 and has since completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at Liverpool John Moores University and secured a job at an Ofsted outstanding primary school. He plans to develop his outdoor learning skills and explore forest schools which connect young people with nature. His goal is to educate and inspire young conservationists.

He was previously a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management student with us.

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