During the Essex Book Festival this month, 17-year-old student, climate activist and WWF Youth Ambassador, Hattie Phillips, will be hosting a nature workshop in Chelmsford for 15–22-year-olds. Myself, Others and The Land takes place at Marconi Ponds Nature Reserve on 18 June from 12.00pm–3.30pm. Tickets are free and can be booked online.
The event is part of the Radical Pilgrimage: The Saffron Trail, which sees artist, writer, and wild-crafter, Lora Aziz, set off on a 7-day 70-mile trail through Essex. Myself, Others and The Land is one of a series of creative, contemplative, and ecological workshops taking place along The Saffron Trail as part of the pilgrimage.
Forming a community of young people connected to the natural world
Using nature as a framework, Myself, Others and The Land will explore old and new ways of ‘gathering’ to create spontaneous rites of passage.
The workshop will highlight the significance of communities in shaping lives and giving voices to young people, with a connection to the natural world at its heart. Hattie’s own community experiences have influenced the workshop:
“Myself, Others and The Land aims to create a community of young people who can learn from one another and make strong bonds with which to move into the next stage of their life. It acknowledges the power of gathering in circles, creating a safe space for likeminded young people to discover the environment around them.
The communities I’ve grown up within have shaped the woman I am, especially when it comes to speaking the truth. In these spaces I have learnt that my voice can be heard through gentle and respected ways and that is what I hold true to me whenever I am campaigning.”Hattie Phillips, climate activist and WWF Youth Ambassador
Taking positive intentions through life
During the workshop, young people will be asked to choose three positive and hopeful words to take with them as intentions for the next stage of their lives. One word for themselves, one word for others and one word for the land. Activities will range from creating art based on these intentions, to gratitude sessions. A complimentary vegetarian lunch will also be provided. The day will then finish with a ceremony guiding participants into the next phase of their lives.
Hattie says attendees’ experiences of the workshop will differ, but she wants everyone to leave with a changed view of the environment around them:
“I want people to see the world differently. What each participant gets out of the workshop will vary as we’re all moved by different senses and emotions. Ultimately, I want each person to understand that the natural world around them is always there when they need to step off the daily routine and take a break.”Hattie Phillips
About Hattie Philips
Hattie works alongside global and national organisations to raise awareness of climate change and to engage young people to connect with the environment.
Having always felt connected to the land around her, Hattie first became involved in climate activism while in Year Eight at secondary school. She has been WWF Youth Ambassador for the past four years and in 2021 attended COP26 (UN Climate Change Conference).
Marconi Ponds Nature Reserve offers green retreat in city centre
The Marconi Ponds Local Nature Reserve is an area of wooded land and ponds in central Chelmsford, located near to Central Park.
There are three habitats on the Marconi Ponds site: grassland, woodland and two ponds. This green oasis provides space within the urban city centre for a variety of wildlife. Foxes, deer, small mammals, and a number of different bird species have made Marconi Ponds their home.
The site is a registered Local Nature Reserve (LNR), meaning it is a site of special local interest; the reserve is locally important for wildlife, education, and enjoyment.
The rural retreat in central Chelmsford creates an ideal opportunity for people to get involved with nature on their doorstep. Love Your Chelmsford and the Friends of Marconi Ponds group host community events on site where adults and children alike can get participate in practical conservation activities and learn about nurturing nature.
Essex Book Festival’s Manifesto for Essex
Myself, Others and The Land is also part of the Essex Book Festival’s Manifesto for Essex programme.
The Manifesto for Essex was set up in 2020 to provide a platform for young people living in Essex to express their fears and hopes relating to the climate emergency. It has presented a range of environmental projects, including eco-podcasting, live performances, exhibitions, poetry workshops and planting. For 2023, the programme presents the theme ‘Hear My Voice’.
Essex Book Festival Director Ros Green explains why the Manifesto for Essex is so important:
“Following this year’s very successful Manifesto for Essex Youth Summit, which took place in January at Firstsite as part of EASUSTAIN Festival, we are hosting a number of inspirational green projects that give our young people a creative platform to express their thoughts and ideas about the Climate Crisis, and even more importantly, a space and a place to be heard.
All too often young people feel talked over. And let’s face it, it is them – our young people – who are going to have to bear the brunt of what lies ahead. The good news is that we have some amazing young people in our midst bursting with ideas and a passion to make a difference. It’s up to us to listen to what they have to say.”Ros Green, Essex Book Festival Director
You can find out more about events planned as part of the programme on Instagram.
Myself, Others and The Land is free for 15–22-year-olds. Booking is essential, spaces can be reserved via the Essex Book Festival website.