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City Girl in Nature

We sat down with Kwesia, City Girl in Nature, to discuss her work and why she got involved with Green Space Dark Skies.

How did you get started in your passion for nature?

In 2020 I had a lifechanging experience in the Peruvian Amazon as part of a British Explorer Society expedition, and I could feel a difference in myself, though I carried on with youth work, e.g., football coaching. I spoke at the Adventure Mind conference, when I was working with the British Explorer Society to get more people from different communities to go on expeditions. I realised that the scene was white middle class, I didn’t look like people that were being targeted to go on these adventures, there was not enough representation. So I thought I could use my experience and give back to my community and start a YouTube channel as the best way to reach young people. I spoke to a filmmaker and director and came up with an online series from September last year in my quest to get inner city people to connect with the natural world. I also facilitate workshops, do stuff in the community, speak about adventure and my story, it’s essentially about giving back to the community.


Why do you want to get young people into nature?

Nature is a source for healing and nourishment for our lives, we should all have the opportunity to live that life in abundance. There is factual evidence that it helps with mental health. A lot of people from my communities have trauma that they carry and I believe nature is a true source of healing – everyone should have the opportunity to go outdoors and it’s free. There are a lot of barriers to getting outside but nature is also within us.

Kwesia, a young woman with braids stands in a natural gorge looking upwards

Tell us more about your work

I produce an online series – lots of different videos that explore different ways to engage with the outdoors, e.g. looking after plants inside, meditating outdoors, collecting. I go to where people are at which is so important. It’s often said that my community is hard to reach but people aren’t going to where they are already. So I go out into the community and work with groups, share my knowledge and give young people a different outlet of city life and show them hidden gems. I facilitate walks and share knowledge like botany – flowers, plants, foraging, birds and mindfulness – it’s what I offer and allows young people to see the world in a different perspective.


How can nature impact on young people’s physical and mental health?

When we go outside it can be a source of exercise and release positive hormones for our bodies, it enables and helps us to heal. It gives people the opportunity to meet other people, reduce isolation, social interaction. For people with mental health challenges, nature can destress and provide therapy, raise your mood and allow you to feel like you can cope a bit better. It’s all centred around mental and physical self-healing – often we don’t speak about self-healing, but nature enables that.

Why get involved in Green Space Dark Skies?

What really excited me is something I’ve never seen before; it spoke to me that it’s a great opportunity for young people and especially those that haven’t come out into a green space and do something exciting – be a Lumenator. It helps people to access the opportunity that they wouldn’t usually be able to do and be part of a community. I’ve seen how much there’s a community element to the events. The project removes barriers that other projects have. There’s a willingness to support young people.  The support and vision of the project is something that if I was younger, I would have loved to do and this can be life changing for young people – so exciting, it can take one person to change a wider community of people.


Kwesia and a man stand amongst trees. The man is doing a pull up on the tree branch

What are you hoping to get out of Green Space Dark Skies personally?

Being an enabler, I’m hoping that being a part of the project I can see the impact of the project on young people – that’s why I do the work I do – it can be life changing and it’s about young people being able to access these types of opportunities. I want to show that young people can access these places, young people relate to me and so it’s safe for them to get involved – I’m giving that back to them. I want to see young people be part of a community – that essence of coming together and being in nature; that’s what I’m most looking forward to – young people being able to say they got to be part of such a great opportunity.


What are you doing next?

I’m working on my second online series. I’m going up a notch in terms of knowledge and what I’ll be sharing, not only storytelling, and guest speakers, but showing more hands on things that can be done in nature. I’m making it a bit more interactive, working with collaborators that will help to fund and support the work I’m doing, to tap into their platform to reach more people and to share the messages in a greater sense.

I’ll be doing a gofundme for this second series and the series will be released at the end of this year. I’ll be doing more walks and continuously working in the community.

Kwesia crouching in a forest

And finally

I’d like to emphasise more opportunities for young people to be exposed to projects like this and have more representation and going to where the communities are; often people want the opportunities but don’t know where to go. It’s important to reach out to community groups, work with people at the grassroots level and give them the ability to connect with nature and be exposed to these types of things.


You can sign up to Kwesia’s newsletter via her website or social media, and if you want to support her second series, donate at the link below:

Donate Here