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Talk inspires Springwood eco warriors

Our budding environmentalists were inspired when they met one of the region’s leading conservationists.

Steve Rowland, who is area manager for the RSPB in Norfolk and Lincolnshire, visited Springwood High School on 25 January, when he spoke about his work and the importance of protecting the environment.

“Mr Rowland had the challenging job to enthuse and inspire appreciation, love and importance for the local environment,” explained Agnieszka Munns, who is Springwood’s Environmental Lead and organised the event.

“With the beautiful and unique Norfolk coastline so close, his task was not as difficult as it might have seemed.”

Some 280 Year 10 students attended the talk, many of whom were in the process of  making decisions about their future careers.

“Making his talk a personal and relatable one, Steve Rowland inspired the students with childhood stories of how he had once wanted to be a zoo keeper,” said Mrs Munns.

“Although he did not achieve this, his ambition played an important part in Steve’s choices he has made in his professional career, along the way to becoming area manager for several RSPB reserves over two neighbouring counties.”

“Mr Rowland insightfully highlighted the important skills and the shortages that exist in the nature conservation sector, and encouraged the students who might be passionate about their future to get involved and contribute,” she continued.

“He suggested they might start to take part in nature-based school and community projects, volunteer their time at local wildlife centres, and apply for work experience – all to gain the necessary variety of skills and experiences that would help enable interested individuals secure employment in this sector.”

The visit was the latest in a series of presentations from conservationists and environmentalists, which also included a talk given by Dominic Buscall from Wild Ken Hill in Heacham.

“He made me think more about the environment,” said student Ilja of Mr Rowland, while classmate Josh said: “What got to me was when he said that if you put the effort in, you will achieve what you want.”

Fellow Year 10 pupil Kornelia was struck that Mr Rowland “ended up in the job he didn’t picture himself in and didn’t plan, but it worked out in the end”, and Hayley noted “he said to pick and do things you enjoy in future and not those that give you money”.

A member of the West Norfolk Academies Trust, Springwood is committed to protecting and improving the environment, and recently received the Eco Schools Green Flag Award.

“The future of the environment has to belong with young people,” added Mrs Munns.

“They will be the ones to enthuse their friends and family about protecting the environment, tackling world-threatening environmental issues, and working closely with politicians, farmers and industry to protect wildlife and habitat for the generations to come.”