By Tyler I and Tyler T from Swindon Academy School.

Our time as participants

We’ve had many different experiences with the Milestones project over the four and a half years we’ve spent on the project. We’ve managed to do things such as lock keeping on the Kennet and Avon Canal, conservation tasks on the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust nature reserves, cooking lunch over rocket stoves, wildlife identification and even a trip to the houses of parliament.

When we started the project in year 7 we were anxious and naïve, we found it difficult to work as a team and talk to others outside our comfort zone. As we grew, our relationships grew. The multitude of shared experiences, as a part of a team, helped us to develop new skills, build our self-esteem and confidence.

Being on the nature reserves allowed us to learn skills we wouldn’t otherwise be able to access through school or at home, the change of environment was great and allowed us to be in a space where we weren’t influenced by our friends or peers! We learnt a wide variety of practical skills including; tool use, woodland management, cooking over a fire, health and safety, bushcraft and survival skills. Some of these skills we have taken home and shown our families.

Becoming a mentor

After three years on the project, we got the opportunity to sign up as mentors. We saw this as a great opportunity to take on new responsibilities and share what we had learnt on our time on the project. This opportunity has enabled us to be more responsible elsewhere in our lives too. It has given us a great confidence boost, and is something we are proud to put on our CV’s and share with future employers.

There is great satisfaction in being able to help those that are in need of help.

Throughout the project we have achieved a number of AQA Unit Awards and John Muir Awards which will help us as we leave school and start to apply for higher education courses and jobs.

Our fondest memories

One of my favourite memories was going to Roundway Orchard in Devizes and getting the opportunity to pick, prepare and press apples to make fresh apple juice.

~ Tyler I

I had a once in a life time opportunity to visit the Houses of Parliament through the Our Bright Future programme and act as an ambassador for the Milestones programme. I had the chance to talk to my local MP about the importance of nature to young people. My local MP set up a trip for me to experience a day as a police dog handler which is what I aspire to be when I leave school.

~Tyler T

We hope you have enjoyed hearing our story and that it inspires you to get out into nature, or join a project near you.