Once upon a time, in a land not so very far away, the children were all stuck indoors. With no school, no playgrounds and no time with their friends, they were bored and looking for adventure. Their parents, too, wanted to keep their imaginations alive and busy…

Nature on your doorstep
Youth nature writing competition 2020

Deadline extended: 10th May 2020

I’ve teamed up with some of my favourite nature writers and champions to run a competition to discover the UK’s next top wildlife storyteller. This is the perfect way to keep your children reading and writing over the next few weeks, encouraging them to use their imaginations and engage with their English classes. It’s really easy to get involved and we’ve got some incredible prizes up for grabs from our partners, including BBC Wildlife, Opticron, RSPB and BEAR Nibbles. Winners from each category will be published in a future issue of BBC Wildlife! Read more about our prizes here or find out how to enter below…

Here’s how to enter:

  • Write a short story on the nature that you can see from your home – it could be in your garden, from a balcony, from a window, up in the sky or on your street. It could be wildlife or trees or plants or flowers, or the aliveness of rivers or the wind. It’s up to you!
  • You can be as creative and fantastical and wild as you like! Let your imaginations run free!
  • You don’t have to know lots, or anything, about nature already: curiosity and creativity are just as important.
  • Your story could be inspired how nature makes you feel.
  • Your story should be a maximum 500 words (we expect the lower age categories to do less)
  • You can type it up or hand-write it and add drawings or photos if you like.
  • Send it, along with a completed permission form (download here as a word document), to natureonyourdoorstep@hotmail.com.
  • The deadline is 10th May 2020, at midnight.

Who can enter?

  • There are three categories: ages 4 – 6; 7 – 12; 13 – 17.
  • You must live in the UK*

What are we looking for?

  • Incredible imagination and stunning storytelling.
  • To see your personal connection with and curiosity towards nature on your doorstep.
  • Thoughtful descriptions, exciting adventure, mindfulness, poetic devices, persuasive language, personal journeys and interesting characters are all encouraged!
  • We welcome all entries, including from people who don’t have English as a first language or those who may struggle with writing, for example who have Dyslexia. If there’s anything else you’d like us to know, please make a note on the form.

Who are the judges?

  • Jini Reddy
  • Stephen Moss
  • Tiffany Francis
  • Judy Ling Wong
  • Hugh Warwick
  • Mya-Rose Craig
  • Paul McGuinness
  • Anita Sethi
  • Lucy McRobert

Find out more about our judges here!

What are the prizes?

Each of the winners will be published in a future edition of BBC Wildlife! We’ve also got magazine subscriptions (BBC Wildlife), binoculars (Opticron), delicious, healthy hampers (BEAR Nibbles) and an RSPB Experience Day up for grabs, as well as books and other goodies from our sponsors.

Find out more here.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll also be sharing some of our top tips for what we think makes a great story and the importance of nature writing. Look out for our blogs, vlogs and conversations online! If you’re in contact with your English teacher, you could ask them for help and get them to share it with your classmates, too!

Good luck! x

If you have any questions or need help, please contact Lucy on natureonyourdoorstep@hotmail.com

*This is to help us manage posting prizes. If you’d like to enter a story from another country you can, but unfortunately you won’t be able to win a prize.

Full T&Cs are available here.