Andrew Millham Freelance Nature Writer

The Cameron Bespolka Trust is a charity that has been set up in Cameron’s memory to inspire young people to love and appreciate nature. Cameron loved nature, especially birds. When young people experience nature, it gives them the opportunity to learn and fall in love with it. What do we do with the things we love? We protect them. Nature-loving children almost always grow into nature-loving adults, helping to build a greener future for all. How does the trust engage young people with nature? By creating opportunities involving conservation work and research, organising and sponsoring events for teenagers to connect with the outdoors and working closely with partners. The trust hopes to partner with schools and educational institutions in future to offer nature projects. So far, the trust has supported or partnered with BTO Young Leaders, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Event, WildArt Competition 2020, CJ Wildlife, BTO Camp, New Forest Wildlife Camp 2020 and many more…

I first heard of the trust through social media and was inspired by the other young ambassadors. Immediately I knew that I wanted to get involved. The trust only has 12 ambassadors at any one time so I knew it would be a tricky role to get but I fired off an email regardless. Over the past year, I have been volunteering with Essex Wildlife Trust’s education team, helping to lead forest school and young carer sessions both in schools and at Wildlife Trust centres. I love my volunteer work and, when it came to applying for the young ambassador role, I thought that the skills and experience gained would be perfect for the Cameron Bespolka Trust. In May, I was invited to join the team of young ambassadors and I am very much looking forward to the coming year working alongside my peers. In early August, the other young ambassadors and I arranged to meet up in the New Forest and camp for a night – unfortunately, this was cancelled due to the recent Covid-19 situation, but it will likely be rearranged.

At the moment, the trust is working on an exciting project, in partnership with RSPB, to renovate a derelict cottage deep in the middle of RSPB’s new reserve Franchises Lodge, in the New Forest. Planning permission was granted in December 2019 and the aim is to create a unique residential educational facility that will

provide a base from which small groups of young people will be able to have immersive experiences with nature – it will be called ‘Cameron’s Cottage’. Personally, I cannot wait to visit.

Another fantastic initiative is ‘Cameron’s Benches’. Benches have been placed globally in memory of Cameron, each in stunning natural spots that are allowing people to sit and ponder the beauty of nature. In my opinion, the benches also encourage an amount of self-reflection, enabling people to reflect on their own mortality and the importance of living in the present. The bench locations are on the website and, if you happen to sit on one, the trust would love to receive a photo of you on one of the benches; details are on the website.

As well as the trust’s main projects, many of the young ambassadors have individual projects that they are working on – supported by the trust. These projects cannot be disclosed here but keep an eye on the trust’s website and social media. So far, my journey with the Cameron Bespolka Trust has been very special and I am honoured to be able to contribute to such a wonderful charity. From my work with the trust and beyond, I have seen first-hand that children need nature and nature needs children.


Andrew Millham is an Essex Wildlife Trust education team volunteer, helping to lead forest school and young carer sessions; a media officer for Reserva: The Youth Land Trust (@ReservaYLT); and a young ambassador for the Cameron Bespolka Trust. Andrew is also a freelance nature writer, having had work included in publications such as Bird Watching, Scotland Magazine, Essex Life, RHS The Garden, Scottish Field and This England.

More information:
Twitter @cameron_b_trust
Instagram cameronbespolkatrust


This article was first published in Autumn 2020 in Vol 125 of the NAEE journal which is available free to members.

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