National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

The climate changer

Jack Nicholls and Wedmore YFC

While Jack Ncholls may spend his day chopping down trees as an arborist – he’s working just as hard to plant replacements.

The 27-year-old Wedmore YFC member’s work takes him all over the world but NFYFC’s Protect Your Future campaign is bringing him back to his club in Wedmore and encouraging other members to plant trees.

“I helped our YFC apply for sapling trees from The Woodland Trust a week before NFYFC launched Protect Your Future. When I saw the campaign details a week later I thought it was obviously meant to be! I really want to plant as many trees as possible this November,” said Jack whose work involves him regularly removing damaged or unsafe trees, as well as unwanted trees. “I have chopped down some nice trees in the past, which I am not proud about but I have planted a lot of trees too. This campaign is another way for me to do more for the environment. I’m really passionate about climate change.”

Wedmore YFC has been awarded 420 trees that are all species good for encouraging wildlife and they will be planted in the wetlands of Somerset. The club has already chosen two locations where the trees will benefit others, which include Chew Valley Rugby and Football Club and an adult learning disability centre called the Orchard Vale Trust.

“Chew Valley is really exciting as they’re building a new development that is currently being landscaped. I used to play rugby there when I was kid. It’s also great because I really want to get Chew Valley YFC involved in this project and this is on their doorstep,” said Jack who has recently got a new job in Australia but is regularly in touch with his club and has even set up an Instagram page called @yfcfreetree.

Jack grew up on a dairy farm but his father sold the cows when he was 15. He decided farming wasn’t for him but knew he wanted a job outdoors and was interested in animals and conservation.

“I have been made more aware of climate change due to my job. Spreading awareness is important and it’s something we can all do together. We can all make small changes that make a big difference rather than one person doing a lot of things,” said Jack who is also taking part in a Slow Fashion Season campaign, which involves buying no new clothes for three months, except from second hand shops or by exchanging with others. It aims to promote the negative impact the high turnover of styles in the fashion industry can have on the environment.

Inspiring others 

Jack’s enthusiasm for protecting the environment has rubbed off on his fellow club members and they are all keen to be involved. A few weeks before Jack flew out to Australia this summer, he presented the tree project at a club meeting.

“I explained why trees are important for farmers as there can sometimes be some resistance. Two of the club members – Samantha, 16, and Verity, 17, suggested taking cuttings from willow trees, which are native to the area, and planting those in lots of places. This is a great idea as the Somerset levels are pretty much a floodplain and planting willows will help farmers too. Maddie, 12, has also asked if we can plant trees at her school to help promote our campaign to her peers.” 

Jack has worked in Sweden, New Zealand and Australia and says being part of a YFC since he was 10 years old has given him the confidence to expand his horizons.

“I have been a treasurer twice for my club and get involved in the Performing Arts competition most years – both in terms of helping with directing and being in the productions. I have learnt so much with YFC – school taught me the basics but I learnt life skills through YFC. It has been an asset when travelling as it gives you the confidence to talk to people and put yourself out there. YFC is a big community, which is really important for people in rural areas. It’s why I have stayed a member even when I have lived further away.”

It’s this community that Jack hopes will now pull together to help save the planet. Inspired by the impact his own club is making he hopes that in his final year as a member he can spread the environmental message wider. 

“I’m hoping lots of YFC members will jump on board to plant as many trees as we can. I think it’s important for young people to get behind this campaign because it’s our future that we need to protect.” 

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