Niamh is 19 years old and grew up in a small village in Bedfordshire. She now lives in Oxford, where she is partly studying for a degree in geography and partly exploring the university parks in search of long-tailed tits and ginkgo trees! Coming from a farming family, she has grown up keenly aware of how current farming practices are failing the climate, nature, farm animals and farmers themselves. She is passionate about revolutionising the way we produce our food.
“We are privileged to share this wonderful planet with billions of other living things – yet all too often we exploit and abuse them. We seem to forget that without other life-forms, human life would cease to exist. We would be nothing. Being a Force For Nature means speaking-up for the plants and animals whose voices otherwise go unheard. They can’t scream and shout, and tell us we’re hurting them, so I will.” – Niamh
Co-presenting the F4N Festival
- Delivering key messages about the climate and biodiversity crises
- Watched by children in schools across UK
- Played a key role in influencing the next generation
- Continues to be instrumental in creating a spirit of hopefulness and positivity
“It is so important that we as ambassadors try and inspire the next generation. They are the ones who will take over from us and are the ones which we will hand the baton on to. It is absolutely vital that they are on board”
Niamh at a glance
- LOCATION: Oxford/Bedfordshire
- AGE: 19
- ROLE: Senior Ambassador
- TALENTS: Farming, debating, education, geography, planting trees
- IMPACTS: Co-presented last year’s ‘Force For Nature Festival’ with Richard and planted thousands of trees in bid to partially re-wild a Lake District valley.
- Planting thousands of Tree Council-donated whips (baby trees) in the Lake District with fellow ambassador Amy’s charity ‘Another Way’
- Resurrecting old hedgerows that had been lost due to farming intensification. Niamh is passionate about hedgerows as important habitats and carbon sinks, which also provide shelter for ewes and lambs (win, win, win!)
- Engaging with lots of local volunteers and soaking up the amazing community spirit and positivity!
- Secured a tree planting job with pioneering nature-friendly farmer James Rebanks as a result of her work with The Tree Council
- Has developed an extremely productive working relationship with Amy through the Ambassador programme
“There can be so much negativity and doom and gloom in the wider environmental movement. Hope and belief is what gets things done.”
Connection With Nature
Niamh was born with a connection to nature: “we’re farmers, so it’s in our bones”. She has been working on the farm with her grandad from the day that she could walk. Niamh said that he’d often point out birds, trees and wildflowers and not know their real names, but had his own special name for them all.
For Niamh, working with The Tree Council has shown her just how deep her connection and love for nature is, stating that “it’s not a hobby, it is my life”. She would now like to work to heal the pain that we have inflicted on nature to let the natural world thrive once again. Through meeting other young people through the F4N campaign who share the same passion, Niamh feels that her connection has deepened further.
“It’s been eye opening to see the other ambassador’s ways of expressing their emotions in relation to the climate and biodiversity crises, especially through James’ art, Benjamin’s music and Mohammed’s poetry. They’re expressing what I feel in a beautiful way.” – Niamh.
Skills and Knowledge Learnt
- Public speaking and the ability to speak and pitch ideas to different demographics and ages
- Speaking to a camera and how to use cue-cards
- Learnt the process of producing a TV programme
- Learning about what other passionate young people are doing and taking hope from the community
Professional Development and Advocacy Work
- Project management
- Insight into charity sector
- Developed the confidence to say yes, and to volunteer more
- Part of a network of people to call on to help with future ideas/projects
- It has made Niamh 100% certain that she wants to work in this field