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NOW ON EARTH YOUTH ADVENTURE GRANT UPDATES

Meet our 2023/2024 Youth Adventure Grant recipients

From an expedition across Africa dressed as a rhino, to understanding the challenges of water scarcity in West Bengal. Introducing our 2023/24 Youth Adventure Grant recipients and their expeditions.

Rhiannon - Hiking Hadrians Wall solo

RHIANNON

I have recently graduated from Bangor University after studying for my Undergraduate and Masters degrees in Ocean Sciences. I have developed a strong passion for the outdoors along with environmental conservation during my time at university. I spend as much of my free time as possible hiking in the mountains in Eryri or traveling further afield to see more of the beautiful world we live in. Currently, I’m working towards obtaining my Mountain Leader qualification so I can help more people get outside into the mountains around the UK.

My challenge involves walking the length of Hadrians Wall from Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria to Wallsend in Tyne & Wear, in the same direction as it was built. I will be hiking the 135km trail solo and unsupported meaning I will be carrying everything I need for the expedition with me from start to finish. While walking, I will be collecting and recording the types of litter found along the path and hope to raise further awareness of the ‘leave no trace’ principle and the damage litter can do to wildlife. I will be aiming to complete the challenge in under 1 week and will be raising money for Meningitis Research Foundation.

READ ABOUT RHIANNON’S ADVENTURE

Elliot Connor - cycling across Africa dressed as a rhino!
Elliot Connor - will be cycling across Africa dressed as a rhino!

ELLIOT

Age 15, Sydney boy Elliot organised a BioBlitz. After months of preparation, six people showed up. He cried. Then he started a charity called Human Nature Projects. In a few months, he’d convinced a few thousand people in a hundred-something countries to run community conservation dos with him. Elliot would go on to write a book about humanness in animals, speak at TED, consult for the UN, and earn two-and-a-half master’s degrees without doing undergrads. Rebel. But today he’s got something rather different in the works…

“Recently I learnt that there are fewer rhinos left in the world than students at my university. That scares me- terrifies, even. So I’ve made myself a rhino costume and I’m going to walk a mile (or rather more, as it happens) in their shoes to show people why this is a creature we cannot lose. Thanks to Now on Earth’s generous support, I fly out this June for South Africa from Bristol. I’m going to join the tireless carers raising eight young orphaned calves at the Zululand Rhino Orphanage then cross the country to train in anti-poaching at the toughest boot camp on the continent, heading out on patrols. In between, I’ll be speaking with the South African school kids, 98% of whom have never seen a rhino, and yet upon whose shoulders the future of the species may very well rest. It’s going to be a long few weeks for rhino me, but none of it would be possible without Now on Earth’s Youth Adventure Grant, so thank you to the wonderful Now on Earth community and all its amazing donors for making this happen. I’ll be filming every step so you can be right there beside me, all the way.”

WATCH THE FILM OF ELLIOT’S ADVENTURE

The West Bengal Team

THE WEST BENGAL TEAM

More than two billion people lack adequate access to water, and climate change will only exacerbate this challenge. Communities are adapting and this has been especially pronounced in West Bengal, India. We will identify pioneering water management projects by following the state’s two major rivers and traversing 5,500 meters of elevation. Our journey will begin with a climb to the source of the Teesta River at the Himalayan glaciers and then follow that river and the Dwarakeswar River river down to the world’s most populated delta, the Sundarbans in the Bay of Bengal. We will be departing in early October 2023 and traveling across West Bengal for six weeks. Along this expedition, we will visit communities at the frontline of the climate crisis and listen to their stories about water. Thanks to the support of Now on Earth and our other sponsors we plan to capture these stories through photojournalism and film. Although climate change will certainly disrupt life as we know it, communities are learning to adapt, and sharing stories of resilience with the world is ever the more important.

READ ABOUT THE WEST BENGAL TEAM’S EXPEDITION

Charlie Wakefield and the UEA Mountaineering Club team

CHARLIE, JOSH AND DANIEL

Hey! Our names are Charlie Wakefield and Josh Bailey and we are aspiring young alpinists from the University of East Anglia in Norwich! This summer, joined by Daniel Bailey from Lancaster University, we plan to summit  Mont Blanc,  the tallest mountain in Western Europe at 4809m without a guide, in the hope of putting our university’s mountaineering club firmly on the map and proving that without a lot of financial resources, that you can achieve great pursuits at a young age if you put your minds to it. We’ve been researching, planning and training for the expedition for months, and with the help of funding from the Now on Earth Adventure Grant scheme, we are able to make our dream of conquering the alps a reality when we set off for Chamonix! We will be ascending the Gouter Route from the French side in the Chamonix valley, acclimatising for a few days prior, and plan to reach the summit for sunrise on Saturday 19th August. We are fortunate enough to be supported by two fellow mountaineers from UEA for 2/3rds of the climb up to the Tete Rousse Hut, and plan to document the whole journey through a series of videos and interviews that we will compile into a full length documentary in partnership with the University! We’re so excited to get on the mountain and prove our capabilities, and with our combined experience, we’re confident we can summit safely and successfully; an achievement we think might be a UK first from an unguided student team!  Follow us on Instagram @ueamountaineering to stay up to date with our progress and once again, we are extremely grateful to the Now on Earth Adventure Grant scheme for their support in making this expedition possible! Watch this space – Charlie, Josh and Daniel! 

Swathi Srinivasan

SWATHI

My name is Swathi, and I’m a 23-year-old studying the history of global health at Oxford, looking to re-learn how to surf! After recovering from cancer in uni, I received a grant to work in Hawai’i for a summer, tracking turtles for a marine conservation nonprofit and working to register local community members for food stamps and healthcare. It was there that I first took up and fell in love with surfing. Yet, a few months later, upon moving to the UK for my Master’s at Oxford, I tore my ACL in a footie match—putting a two-year pause on many of my favorite extracurricular activities, particularly surfing and football. Now that I’ve completed my Master’s and have made significant progress in physical therapy, it’s time to get back on the board! With invaluable support from the Now on Earth Youth Adventure Grant, without which this project would be impossible, I’m hoping to rent a board and explore some of Cornwall’s most famed surf spots, including Fistral Beach, Porthleven, Polzeath, Crantock, Falmouth, and Watergate Bay. As a lover of the sea, I also hope to use social media to advocate for UK beach-goers to keep the seas clean of litter and microplastics, especially during peak tourist season. Thanks for joining me on my adventure!

READ ABOUT SWATHI’S ADVENTURE

Grant winner Annabel

ANNABEL

I’m Annabel, a Biochemistry student passionate about the environment and the mental health benefits brought about by spending time outdoors. In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering for Girlguiding, something I initially started as part of my Gold Duke of Edinburgh challenge. Five years later, I am still passionate about helping all girls know they can do anything; I am even lucky enough to run my own Rainbow and Brownie units every Tuesday.

The grant will go towards funding an expedition allowing me to complete the final section of my Duke of Edinburgh award after it was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. I hope to use the experience to inspire the next generation of young explorers as well as leaving a positive impact on the local environment. 

Henry Moores, Walking from Macclesfield to Paris to raise money for people at Christmas

HENRY

I’m Henry and I’m walking 500 miles from Macclesfield in Cheshire to Paris (France) in 23 days,  in order to raise money for local food banks and to make a special Christmas for people in need. As I am doing this walk for a charitable cause, any donations received can’t go towards funding any equipment, food or anything else on the trip as this feels wrong. So the grant will help me massively and enable me to purchase necessities for my trip such as a good sleeping bag, vitamin rich meals/food, and a good one-man tent. To be truthful upon receiving the news that my grant application was successful it released so much pressure off my shoulders. I am so happy we got in touch.

Youth Adventure Grant winner Matt

MATTHEW

According to my mother, I could kayak before I could walk, this was the start of a massive kayaking addiction all in what I can only assume was her attempt to ensure I never had enough money to do drugs. Since then I have made it my life’s mission to throw myself off as many waterfalls as possible and collect those sweet sweet Facebook profile pictures on the way down. Growing up in Kent white water rivers were limited so I took the first opportunity to hightail it out to the rainy green hills of South Wales where I currently study for a degree in computer science and cyber security at Cardiff University when I’m not on the water. Kayaking has taken me and my boat to an ever-expanding list of amazing places including everywhere from the Scottish highlands to the French Alps as I try to paddle as much as humanly possible.

Recently I was selected as part of the British Universities Kayak Expedition 2024 team, a bi-annual expedition made up of some of the top student paddlers in the UK with the aim of paddling undescended remote rivers. For 2024 we will be exploring Guatemala’s Seirra de los Cuchumatanes mountains in its northeast. Over the course of 6 weeks we will trek through the jungle to assess the safety of a range of undescended rivers including the Rio Ixcan and the Rio Amelco, before paddling them for the very first time. 

The receipt of the Now On Earth Youth Adventure Grant will help me cover the costs of travel as well as the costs of importing my equipment and safety gear into Guatemala, allowing us to operate as safely as possible in such a remote and unforgiving environment.

NOEYAG recipient Tom

TOM

My name is Tom Halton, I am 18 years old and live in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire. I have been climbing mountains from an early age. From what started as summer hiking and scrambling in the Lake District, I progressed onto Scottish winter routes in Glencoe. 

My next ambitions are located outside of the UK and I have the aim of completing an Alpine double on Matterhorn and Mont Blanc this upcoming summer!

The youth adventure grant will make it possible to fund the transport and acommodation before attempting these mountains.

More applications are currently under review so check out this page again for expedition further updates!

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