Connecting for Nature

Keeping Yorkshire folk in touch with their local biodiversity news

Norton Wildlife Watch

Norton Wildlife Watch-Making a local difference with a global impact’

Aims & objectives:

  • Enable young people to learn of the natural world and participate in local conservation activities.
  • Enable young people to have a say in the future of their environment- local, national and global.
  • Network with other conservation and environmental groups
  • Invite support from county town and district councils and other community associations and services, using information from field experts as valuable resources.

Project Description:

The Norton Wildlife Watch is a group of young people ages 6-16 based in Norton on the River Derwent near Malton, and started out in 1988. Their regular site is Norton Ings, which is a wetland area situated by the River Derwent. Surveys are carried out on the weltand fauna and flora to monitor the effects on the area since the area was flooded and flood defences were built.
The group carried out a range of recreational tasks such as pond dipping and quizzes, but the group also enjoys helping the community by carrying out work such as litter picking and tree planting.

Aim: To make a difference

A range of activities are carried out which provide a fun day for the young people involved. In the summer the group ventures away from their familiar sites to discover other areas rich in wildlife. The group makes quite an impact, working not just in Norton, but in countries all around the world. Attending International Children’s Conferences on the Environment, the group have visited countries such as South Korea and Malaysia, as well as visiting Kenya, America, Japan and Canada. The group has also been awarded national Watch Group of the Year in 2008!

Future projects & aims:

The group is now meeting in the Georgian Gothic Mill Site which is also along the River Derwent. Working alongside the Renewable Heritage Trust, members hope to develop and interpret the site for young people and families.The group have been working together with Yorkshire Mammal Group to survey what species inhabit the area, and found 27 individuals in a survey, including species such as wood mice, bank voles and shrews. Bird boxes have also been built and positioned in the surrounding woodland, and the group hopes to uncover more information on the wildlife of the area.


Policy changes at the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust mean that the group cannot allow young people to meet independently of their parents to contribute to the programme, and wish for the group to create paying family events. Therefore the group is currently investigating new ways to run the group to maintain the current group structure. There are possibilities of joining the RSPB and an Explorer Group, or joining the Renewable Heritage Trust as a Junior Group. Insurance and funding is also a problem that the group encounters.

How to achieve the group’s goals:

The group requires an adoptive ‘parent body’ to offer support which will allow the group to continue to function in the same way.

Links and contact:

Enquiry form: