Igniting Innovation is an exciting nature conservation challenge that invites passionate young people to share their brightest ideas for a healthier planet. This is your chance to bring a real project to life with funding and expert support. 

With climate change on everyone's doorstep, woods and wildlife are under threat. So we're joining forces with the next generation. With your help, we're finding new ways to boost biodiversity and support woods and wildlife in the fight against climate change. 

What is the challenge?

We are offering six individuals or small groups aged 16-25 a chance to develop and deliver projects that will help nature.

Your idea could:

  • win project funding up to £6,000.
  • get 12 months mentorship from experienced conservation experts. 

If your idea is one of 18 to be shortlisted, you'll be invited to a unique training session to build your confidence in standing up for nature and making a good pitch. Six finalists will be selected to pitch their project in person for a chance to make their project a reality. 

On top of helping secure the future of woods and wildlife, your project with us can even kick-start your career in conservation. Get real industry experience and improve your CV or university application all while helping the planet. 

So, what makes a good idea?

Entries will be judged by four main criteria:

  • Innovation. You will be judged on how innovative and creative your idea is.
  • Impact. The more directly impactful your idea is for woods and wildlife, the more we'll want to support it. Can your project help create healthy woods, protect valuable habitats or inspire others to nurture the environment? 
  • Feasibility. We want you to dream big, but it has to be doable. Each project will be judged on the practicality of its journey from idea to real world application within the 12-month delivery time span.
  • Research. What need or problem is your idea solving? What evidence do you have to back up your pitch? Demonstrate that you have identified a real, existing issue and show how you think your idea will creatively solve this problem.

Get inspired!

What's next?

Step one: apply!
Outline your idea and how you think you can make it happen. Please note that applications for 2024 are now closed.

Step two: shortlisted applicants are invited to training
The top 18 applicants will be invited to take part in online workshops to help refine the details of your project, boost your pitch and bring your ideas to life. This is your chance to meet like-minded people and get expert help to build your confidence and skills. 

Step three: video pitch
18 shortlisted applicants will submit a video pitch. Nervous to be on camera? Don't panic - we're looking for good ideas over bold performers! We're here to support you, so talk to us if you have any concerns. We’ll then select the final six applicants to go to the final.

Step four: the final
Having worked on your idea and confidence with our expert support, you could be one of six finalists invited to a face-to-face event. Here we'll celebrate your achievements and you'll finally pitch your environmental project to a small audience and panel of celebrity judges. Prize money is allocated from a £20,000 pot, according to the needs of each project. The judges have the final say on the financial backing offered for your project. The prize money can be between £2,000 and £6,000.

Got a question?

Let us know! Chat to us via email at youth@woodlandtrust.org.uk and our friendly team will help you with any questions, concerns or accessibility needs.

Key dates

  • 27 November 2023 – applications open
  • 4 February 2024, 12am - applications close at midnight
  • 12 February 2024 – applicants informed if successful/unsuccessful
  • 24 February 2024 – mandatory online training session – learn to pitch your project
  • 8 March 2024, 1pm – semi-final video submission deadline
  • 13 March 2024 – applicants informed if successful/unsuccessful
  • 20 April 2024 – final in-person judging event in London (travel will be paid for)

For further information, please see our full terms and conditions.

Would you like this information in a different format?

If you have any additional needs and require support to access any information, please email youth@woodlandtrust.org.uk

More ways to get involved