James Pantefedwyn Foundation

01970 612806post@jamespantyfedwen.cymru

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Joe Wilkins

Despite the circumstances, I had a great year studying for an MSc in Environmental Change, Impact and Adaptation at Aberystwyth University. My research focused on youth involvement in environmental governance and decision-making. With the uncertainty created by the pandemic, I was not sure what to expect from my Masters course, but thanks to the excellent efforts of teaching and support staff, the year was rewarding and enjoyable. Yes, a few things had to change and the 12 of us were sometimes hosted in 200+ capacity lectures theatres, but overall I still gained invaluable skills for my future. I cannot thank the James Pantyfedwen Foundation enough for its support to allow me study this course.

I am now working as the Conventions & Policy Officer at Reserva: The Youth Land Trust, an organisation that empowers young people to make a tangible difference to conservation. https://reservaylt.org
We have recently completed our flagship project to create the world's first entirely youth-funded nature reserve. It's been a hectic few months since completing my MSc. I was lucky to be invited to attend COP26 in Glasgow, representing Reserva and participating in various panels and actions. I am currently working on developing a strategy for the expansion of the charity which will allow a greater number of youth to become engaged in its governance, allowing them to gain the experience of working in such environments. I plan to stay with Reserva for the foreseeable future as I feel it provides a platform for me to best use my skills and youth empowerment is one of my key missions.

Related to that, I am currently volunteering as the Head of Campaigns at UK Youth for Nature, the UK's leading youth network calling for action to tackle the biodiversity crisis. Again the knowledge and skills gained from the course were integral to me gaining this role and feeling confident in it.

Again, I can't thank the James Pantyfedwen Foundation enough for their support, financial and otherwise, in completing this course. It's going to be a tough couple of years/decades ahead but I know that this Masters course has helped prepare me for the fight.