Nature for Youth and Cities: Reconnecting youth with nature through education, training and citizen science

Published: 15 October 2020
Last edited: 15 October 2020
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Establishing the link between urban populations and nature is increasingly considered as an important element of sustainable cities as it contributes to improving the quality of life and public health of society. Yet, intense urbanization in Ankara, Turkey, is negatively impacting on nature in and around the city. The Middle East Technical University (METU) covers 4,500 hectares of mostly natural and pristine ecosystems, presenting a unique opportunity to re-engage citizens with nature.


The aim of the project was to reestablish the link between the youth of Ankara and nature. The project also aimed at inter-city knowledge exchange to observe similar programs and activities in the UK, Greece and Italy. The project had 4 main activities:

  • Mobilization and capacity-building of young people for experience sharing on nature education programs
  • Development of educational programs
  • Establishment of the “Nature for Youth and City Centre” program
  • Dissemination of the model in other selected campuses and institutions


East Europe
West Asia, Middle East
Scale of implementation
Green spaces (parks, gardens, urban forests)
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Access and benefit sharing
Outreach & communications
Science and research
Loss of Biodiversity
Sustainable development goals
SDG 4 – Quality education
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge


Ankara, Ankara, Turkey


Our project reached youth through a program focused on nature conservation, education and sustainability to improve their skills and qualifications and empower them to become nature guides. They were trained on a range of topics including butterflies, plants, steppe ecosystems, sustainability and climate change.

  • The Nature Training Panel was organized with the participation of high-level representatives from governmental institutions, including the National Agency and The Ministry of National Education
  • Nature guides continued to organize nature-based education in cooperation with various schools, including the METU and contributed to the organization of Tür Say (Bioblitz - a citizen science event).
  • Trainers also presented a paper and organized a workshop at Düzce University to disseminate the results of their work and highlight the importance of their program.
  • METU Nature Map, METU's Nature Book, nature guide handbook, participant and guide handbooks on 5 different subjects were published.
  • In addition, an e-learning section was added to the project website in 2019 and short videos were prepared and uploaded to this section.
  • The project also established the METU EKOSAM Student Community which continues to organise training opportunities for youth in the city.

Contributed by

Matthew Koehorst Greenpop, IUCN Urban Alliance

Other contributors

The Nature Conservation Center (DKM)