Chilterns New Shoots

Chilterns New Shoots

Welcome to New Shoots! A wildlife and conservation programme for 14-18 year-olds in the Chilterns.

Chilterns New Shoots is a year-long nature, wildlife and conservation programme designed by young people for young people. Created by the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs Landscape Partnership, we are now pleased to be hosting the project alongside our partners, Chiltern Rangers. New Shoots offers young people a fantastic chance to work with conservation organisations like Chilterns National Landscape, Chiltern Rangers, BBOWT, the National Trust and the Chiltern Society, giving participants a wide range of experiences alongside the chance to visit beautiful places in the Chilterns and learn more about wildlife. Participants also get the opportunity to get involved in helping to manage habitats and address climate change.

We are now accepting applications for the 2024/25 New Shoots cohort. If you’d like to apply, please fill out the form below by midnight on Monday, 3 June. For more information about the programme, please contact Steph at Chiltern Rangers:

New Shoots Application Form

About New Shoots

What are the benefits?

  • Spend lots of time outdoors – great for wellbeing and mental health.
  • Visit some of the best nature reserves and most beautiful spots in the Chiltern National Landscape.
  • Get up close and personal with some amazing wildlife.
  • Learn from wildlife and plant experts.
  • Have fun, make new friends and try new things.
  • Use the best and most relevant equipment, such as high-quality binoculars.
  • No pressure – no tests or exams!
  • Find out what’s involved in wildlife and habitat management, get stuck in and try your hand at practical conservation.
  • Gain a stepping stone to a career in conservation and an introduction to local conservation groups and charities.
  • It’s free to take part! All equipment is provided and you’ll even be given a cosy New Shoots fleece to keep you warm when you’re out and about.

What will you learn?

  • Species identification
    • Learn to identify butterflies, birds, insects and plants.
    • Imagine searching the skies for birds and watching butterflies and insects flit about in the wildflowers on a sunny day – have a go at keeping track of numbers and diversity, which is a good way to tell how healthy the environment is.
  • Practical conservation techniques
    • Get hands on and have a go at scrub bashing and woodland management by clearing plants and trees to keep chalk grassland and woodlands in great condition.
    • Get your waders on and learn about chalk streams and how to look after them.
  • How to care for different Chilterns’ habitats
    • The Chilterns has lots of really special habitats, such as chalk grassland covered in wildflowers, ancient woodland, farmland and chalk streams, and you’ll get to visit all of these in the course of your year as a New Shoot recruit.
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Who can take part?

Young people who:

  • are aged 14-18 years old,
  • love being outdoors and want to explore the Chilterns countryside,
  • are interested in nature, wildlife or climate change, and keen to learn more,
  • are happy to get involved for a year and can commit to taking part in most of the 10 project sessions.

Over the years, lots of different kinds of young people have been involved in New Shoots. You don’t have to be super confident to take part, but lots of our previous recruits say their confidence got a big boost from being a part of the project. We welcome young people from any background and experience level as long as they show a genuine interest in wildlife and nature, and can commit to the sessions.

Practical information

  • Sessions take place throughout the year, roughly once each month on Saturdays, usually for 4 hours.
  • Each session will be at a different site, within 10 miles of High Wycombe. Minibus transport can be provided from the Chiltern Rangers depot in High Wycombe HP11. It’s free to take part.
  • You’ll need warm clothes and waterproofs, but we can support you with these if needed so please don’t let this stop you from applying. All the equipment you’ll need for the sessions is provided, including a cosy New Shoots fleece to keep you warm when you’re out and about.

History of New Shoots

Chilterns New Shoots was launched by the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs Landscape Partnership in 2021, and more than 30 young people have taken part in the programme. Some of our New Shoots were featured on BBC’s Countryfile and won a Proud of Bucks award for all their inspiring work championing nature and wildlife as part of the project.

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The 2024/25 New Shoots cohort is supported by funding from the North West Chilterns, the South West Chilterns, and the Missendens Community Boards.

For more information about the programme, please contact Steph at Chiltern Rangers:

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“Thank you once again for all you have done for Tom and the opportunities you have opened up for him.  I’m so pleased for him and proud of him, and it’s given him a real confidence boost.” (Parent)

“What an utterly wonderful programme. F’s enjoyed herself so much, meeting new people with shared interests, learning new things, hearing from experts, getting down and dirty! Couldn’t recommend New Shoots highly enough.” (Parent)

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Volunteering hub

Find out more about volunteering in the Chilterns - indoor, outdoor, practical or desk based there's something for everyone, whatever age or stage! Use our interactive volunteering hub to find the perfect opportunity for you.
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Upcoming events

Find out what's on in the Chilterns - walking or biking, food & drinks, serious trekking or a picnic on the flat - the possibilities are endless.