WWF “Bringing our world back to life”

The next generation of naturalists and conservationists | A Q&A with WWF-UK’s Youth Ambassadors

“Young people are the future, their voices must be heard”

We spoke with the Head of Youth Engagement at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Jack Abrey, as well as two of their incredible Youth Ambassadors: Aoife and Will.

In the interview, we discussed how crucial it is to raise the voices of young people on the topic of climate change and conservation. We concluded that by following, upskilling and engaging in a movement that they are truly passionate about, their conservation career path will start to build itself right in front of their eyes.

Having spoken to Aoife and Will, both members of the generation nicknamed “Gen Z”, it’s clear that they are worthy of a stronger name:

Generation Change.

So why did you decide to be Youth Ambassadors for WWF?


Growing up, I’d always been really interested in wildlife and nature, like what you see on TV, as well as the birds in my back garden. But, I always knew that they were under threat from the nature and climate crisis. I wanted to make a difference.

So I was involved in different volunteer roles, like with my local Wildlife Trust, and then I came across the one for WWF.  I applied and was lucky enough to be selected. I just thought it was a great opportunity to make a difference about something I was really passionate about.

Aoife at the WWF Living Planet Centre in Woking, England.


I have also always been interested in wildlife and the environment. Ever since I was young, I always really enjoyed watching David Attenborough documentaries, or ‘Deadly 60’ with Steve Backshall. And for a very long time, I was kind of renowned in my school for my passion for nature, but I didn’t really do anything with it.

Then back in 2019, around the time when Greta Thunberg was protesting, that was when I made the connection between the issue of climate change, wildlife, and conservation and saw how they were connected. So then from there, I was lucky enough to go to a WWF climate protest in London, which was ‘The Time is Now’ event. And whilst I was there, I was interviewed by WWF.

A few weeks later, I got a life changing email saying: ‘Would you like to come to the Living Planet centre to talk about the opportunity of being a Youth Ambassador for WWF?’ and it’s just gone from there.

What type of work do you do as Youth Ambassadors? And what do you love the most about it?


It’s great having the opportunity to go to in person events and meet really interesting people. But I would say the part of the role that gives me the most satisfaction is being able to create more opportunities for other young people to engage with WWF. And the team at WWF, are really eager for youth ambassadors to be genuinely engaged in projects, supporting us to make decisions and sharing power.

Every month, we write a newsletter that is sent out by email to all our young supporters. I’m also working on a secret project at the moment that will be free, and it’ll be dedicated to people aged 13 to 17, so they can engage with WWF. It should be launching in 2025. So that should be really exciting.


I also write newsletters and have been involved with various different kinds of video projects. I was lucky enough to be on the Netflix/WWF documentary, and had the opportunity to ask Sir David Attenborough a question, which was an amazing experience. I also had the privilege of attending COP-26. That was where I met some amazing people and I’d say really broadened my knowledge. I feel really proud of myself, knowing that I’m making a positive difference.

In the world of  social media, and especially for young people with eco-anxiety, I think, if you see something online to do with climate change and it makes you worried – it motivates you to do something about it. Being a Youth Ambassador gives you a certain feeling of power, and being able to make major changes that have a wider positive impact for people and the planet. We all have a voice and through my role, I want to help as many people use theirs as possible.

My second favourite part of being a youth ambassador is all of the amazing people that I get to work with. I’ve made some really good friendships. And I just think it’s a great environment to be amongst all of the amazing youth ambassadors. I think, working together for a shared goal really helps you build a bond with people.

What is your least favourite part about the role?


I wouldn’t say I have a least favourite part. But for me as an A-Level student, maybe the most challenging part is sometimes time management. So I have time for schoolwork, extra-curriculars, then WWF. And I volunteer with other organisations as well. So it’s not my least favourite part but balancing time is probably the most challenging aspect for me.


I think probably time management as well. I’m a GCSE student. So I think, especially this year, it can occasionally be difficult to kind of find time to dedicate to WWF projects. But then again, I always seem to be able to find time. I think when you have a passion, and when you enjoy the role so much, you kind of put aside other things to do.

Is there any advice for young people who want to get involved in the conservation space?


My advice would be to act now, or rather, don’t be afraid to do something. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, whether it’s something small or big!

I think, especially with social media, there’s an opportunity there for young people, who are on platforms like TikTok or Instagram, to kind of raise their voice and to express their thoughts and things can go viral overnight.

Take every opportunity that you can get, I think it will always lead to something good.

Will enjoying some time in nature.


I would say that conservation is a developing field at the moment, and there’s lots of niche opportunities you might not know about yet. So I would say do what you love and focus on developing the skills that you’re really good at. Because there’ll definitely be an opportunity for your specific set of skills – it’s just finding those opportunities.

My other piece of advice would be to start getting involved, even if you’re still in school. Get involved in Eco Club and volunteering and fundraising, there’s opportunities with WWF or the Wildlife Trusts that you can get involved in and they don’t all need a big investment of money or time.

You don’t even have to travel anywhere – you could do bird watches for British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) in your local green spaces, or identify images for Instant Wild, just from your house. If you have that experience, that’s what employers will be looking for.

Do you know what specific conservation careers you’re interested in going into?


Currently, I’m not entirely sure what exactly. I know I definitely want to do something out in nature – interacting with different animals. I think either something to do with zoology or marine biology definitely. I’m not really sure at the moment. After that I would definitely like to get into presenting and present wildlife documentaries and be the next David Attenborough!


Like Will, I’m not 100% certain what exact career path to take yet but I know I’ve liked science through school so I’m going to study biology at university later this year and then hopefully specialise in zoology. I think I’d like to spend some time working abroad in a practical conservation project as well at some stage. I’m not entirely sure what form that will take but that’s my plan at the moment.

“It’s okay to not know what conservation career path to take.”

The WWF’s youth engagement team works with brilliant young people aged between 13-25 who care about our natural world, want to take action to protect it and are interested in potentially pursuing a career in conservation.

Check out the WWF’s Youth Ambassador site to learn more about the type of work they get up to, or find out more about potential opportunities to become an ambassador yourself!

Like Aoife and Will, if you’re not entirely sure what conservation career path you’d like to take, have a look at our Key Conservation Roles for some inspiration.


Author Profile | Maya de Paz

Maya de Paz is a passionate creative with a drive for conserving our planet. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and has a particular interest in the human connection with nature. Currently, she is working for a media company as a Marketing Executive. She hopes to combine both her love for conservation and the natural world, with her growing communications and storytelling skills. Connect with Maya on LinkedIn or check out her portfolio.


Interviews, Early Years, Educator