Young people showcase their outdoor art in a pop-up exhibition

3rd January 2024 - General Catchment

West Cumbria Rivers Trust’s Youth Panel will be showcasing some new art pieces to form an exciting pop-up exhibition at Walkmill Community Woodland, near Whitehaven. The youngsters worked with local artist and geographer Anne Waggot Knott on a project aimed at encouraging the local community, especially young people, to visit and engage with Walkmill Community Woodland.

They created a range of artworks inspired by the woodland, including photography, cynotypes and lino printing, which will be on display around the site for the pop-up exhibition on Sat 13 January from 12pm until 2pm. Visitors will be given a map to follow a 2km wheelchair friendly loop of the site where the artworks will be visible along the route.

The young people met regularly over the past year at the woodland undertaking activities such as campfires, kick sampling* in the river and exploring the site to learn about different animals, plants and the mining history of the area.

The Trust’s Youth Panel formed in 2022 with funding from the #CanDoFund through Cumbria Community Foundation and the Dreamscheme project through the Cumbria Youth Alliance. The panel consists of a group of 14-19 year olds who work closely with key decision makers at West Cumbria Rivers Trust, ensuring that young voices are at the heart of what the Trust does.

There are currently nine members at present from across West Cumbria, however some of the members will be moving on to jobs, College or University so the Trust is calling out for new members to join. The scheme is a great way to make new friends, build professional relationships and gain experience for their future career, which doesn’t necessarily need to be in conservation. The panel provides young people with a range of skills including teamwork, problem solving and leadership, as well as being a huge amount of fun in an outdoor setting. Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Emma Jenkinson, West Cumbria Rivers Trust’s Learning and Engagement Officer on

Jodie Mills, Director of West Cumbria Rivers Trust said:

“The Youth Panel have been an amazing addition to the Trust’s team. It’s vital that we have young voices in the operation of our charity. It’s been insightful to work with them and consult about the best ways we can reach and engage with other young people and the community to ensure that the wondrous resource they have in Walkmill Commuity Woodland is understood and utilised. It’s been a very rewarding experience for us all and we’re really looking forward to hearing from more young people to join us as new members”.

Anne Waggot Knott said:

“Each piece of creative art the panel members made was inspired by an activity session in the woodland with conservation and ecology experts from West Cumbria Rivers Trust. This hybrid approach means there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Making art helps us slow down and look much more closely at the natural world, encouraging young people to build lasting relationships with these fragile environments”.

*Kick sampling uses the biotic index to examine the condition of a section of a river by identifying the invertebrates found in the gravels on the river bed.