• Scotland's Bird Club

    Young Birders

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Helping Young Birders

SOC is in the privileged position of having a membership composed of skilled ornithologists, scientists, educators and creatives, working within a wide range of industries and fields. In recent years particularly, the Club has sought to explore ways in which this wealth of knowledge and expertise can be passed on to ensure that there will be a future generation of naturalists recording, conserving and speaking up for our country’s birds. Much of the Club’s development work centres around supporting, encouraging and developing young naturalists which SOC aims to do via a variety of ways.

 

Discounted Conference Places

Discounted Conference Places
The Club heavily subsidises places for students and under 25s at SOC’s Annual and joint Spring Conferences

Young Birders’ Training Course

Young Birders’ Training Course
A week-long funded opportunity teaching 16-25 year olds essential bird survey skills and techniques

Discounted Student Membership

Discounted Student Membership
Students (and juniors) can benefit from a substantial discount on the Club's annual joining fee and still enjoy all of the perks membership offers

Mentoring

Mentoring
Promoting A Focus On Nature’s voluntary mentoring scheme which matches mentees with mentors operating across a broad range of disciplines

 

 
Discounted Conference Places at our Annual and joint Spring Conference 

The Club recognises the networking potential and opportunities for furthering one's knowledge attending conferences presents, and thus heavily subsidises the registration fee for students and under 25s at SOC’s Annual Conference. The Spring Conference (the Scottish Birdwatchers’ Conference) which takes places in collaboration with BTO Scotland each March, also offers discounted places to students and under 25s. Details of each conference will be posted on our Events page, when available.

Visit our Events Page

 

Young Birders' Training Course (YBTC)

Click on the video below to see some highlights from Amy Hall's (2017 Young Birders' Training Course participant) week on the May! 

Launched in 2014, the Young Birders' Training Course is only opportunity of its kind in the UK. A joint venture between SOC and Isle of May Bird Observatory the course provides an opportunity for six young birders, aged 16-25 years to spend a week on the Isle of May gaining experience to help them progress with future involvement in wildlife recording and conservation.

The course presents a unique opportunity for budding ornithologists’, both in its setting and teaching options. Participants gain a thorough introduction to daily recording of birds and other taxa, species monitoring, hands-on experience of bird ringing, and activities such as visible migration watches and co-ordinated seawatching counts. Outwith the scope of most university curricula, these skills are essential attributes for those embarking on a career or role in wildlife recording, surveying and conservation. 

Details of the 2019 training course will be published on the website in late 2018.

 

Discounted Student Membership

Students and juniors can take out membership to the Club for just £14 annually, with access to all of the benefits membership offers including four issues of the SOC’s quarterly journal, Scottish Birds annually, access to a programme of talks and outings across Scotland, the opportunity to borrow books from the Library, alongside a number of other benefits.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MEMBERSHIP

 
Mentoring

Are you looking to be mentored or could you mentor young naturalists?

A Focus On Nature is a voluntary organisation run by a voluntary committee of nature conservationists and enthusiasts. 

The organisation’s aims complement the educational remit of the SOC and include: ensuring a transfer of skills and knowledge between generations, working with other youth networks and environmental organisations to create a youth conservation movement in the UK and promoting nature conservation and natural history to young people.

AFON runs and manage a successful mentoring scheme which matches volunteer mentors operating within a broad range of disciplines (including Practical Conservation, Nature Writing & Journalism, Art & Design, Policy & Campaigns, Filmmaking & Television, Science, Ecology & Surveying, and Academia & Research) with mentees: budding conservationists/writers/ scientists and similar, eager to network with, and learn from, experienced professionals.

Think you could benefit from being mentored?

Take a look at the range of skills and expertise on offer.

Could you be a mentor?

AFON is looking to grow their mentoring programme in order to build on the support and expertise on offer to young conservationists. Encouraged by the success of the Young Birders’ Training Course, the SOC is looking to build on the training and support the Club offers young naturalists. As such, the Club is hoping to sign a number of ‘SOC Mentors’ up to the scheme.

Prospective mentors complete a two-page form providing more information about themselves and their specific expertise, alongside a head shot, which is added to AFON’s Mentors directory, as hosted on the organisation’s website.

Mentees complete an application form and shortlist three potential mentors they feel are the best suited to their individual career needs. AFON distributes its application to each prospective mentor, who will then have the opportunity to comment and either approve or reject applications at its discretion and for whatever reason – no explanation is required.

Mentoring can take many different formats: from a distance, e.g. via the internet, over the telephone, via social media, or on a much more personal basis, offering work experience, meetings, talks or lectures. Mentors are encouraged to give advice tailored to the individual mentee, appropriate to their circumstances (the scheme is open to mentees aged 18 and above).

As a minimum, AFON expects mentors to:

  1. Send an introductory email explaining background and current career, thus entering into correspondence with the mentee
  2. Answer all emails fully
  3. Give advice on careers
  4. Assist in the construction of CVs
  5. Where appropriate provide references and recommend jobs and prospects, etc.
  6. Highlight any upcoming opportunities to mentees

Any additional support (including any financial costs incurred) is given at the discretion of the mentor.

Mentoring is expected to continue for a minimum of six months, providing the recipient keeps up the correspondence, however, AFON would like mentors to support talented individuals for as long as possible, following and influencing the careers of promising individuals.

If you would like to find out more about possibly becoming a mentor, please drop Jane a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact 01875 871 330 for more information. To view a list of current mentors signed up to the scheme, click here.


£14 Membership

For juniors, students and unwaged individuals!

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BECOME A MEMBER

SOC brings together like-minded individuals with a passion for birds, nature and conservation through a programme of talks, outings, conferences and via the Club’s quarterly journal, Scottish Birds.