From Birds to Bugs: Chloe's back bringing nature to the Scouts.

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Chloe Foster is well known within the County. She was the first to achieve the Top Award trio of the Queen's Scout Award, Explorer Belt and the Scouts of the World Award and is now a volunteer within the County.

Following her last Birds of the World badge project, Chloe is now back with the Bugs of the World badge challenge encouraging our Scouts and other young people including members of Girlguiding to look down and notice the little critters that make our world tick.

Just like the previous award, this also helps raise money for other good causes. Last time, for the Birds of the World, the £1,000 raised was initially to support Chloe to attend an international expedition to Tanzania in 2020 to build a medical centre. When this couldn't happen, it instead went to the Hawk Conservancy for the Vulture Trust to help the birds that the badge had been focused on. For the Bugs of the World, this will allow Chloe to attend Hampshire Scout's Project 23 as a Team Leader.

Project 23 is a European expedition for those who applied to attend the World Scout Jamboree in 2023 but were unsuccessful. It's a chance for as many young people as possible to get abroad on a journey and adventure just as exciting given the unfortunately limited number of people who we can take to Korea.

We had a chat with Chloe about the journey so far.

What does it mean to have achieved so much with Birds of the World?

"It makes me feel proud that I was able to do this and even though I couldn’t go on the Tanzania 2020 trip, the money raised is still going to an amazing cause and something I feel strongly about as an animal lover.  

"I’m also grateful to everyone who helped and supported me and bought my badges. I feel that by just creating a simple badge, it has helped me achieve so much.

"I’ve achieved my Scout of the World Award, I became the first person in Hampshire to complete all their top awards, I raised money to send out to Tanzania to help build a medical centre, I raised money for a critically endangered bird."

Why do you believe this is an important charity that needs support from people like you? 

"Vultures are misunderstood animals and people have bad impressions of them due to movies and how they always play the villain. Vultures are actually a key part to cleaning up animal carcasses, but unfortunately the carcasses are being poisoned by poaches intentionally to kill the vultures. It's a big problem and one that few are fully aware of, but videos and information like this helps.

"I was shocked to find out all this information and I just can’t believe this is going on and the impact that it’s causing. Vultures are the most threatened group of birds in the world and no one knows about it. I wanted to help them by donating the money raised from my badges to them and to make more people aware of the severity of their endangerments.

"I learnt so much more about these birds when I went to the Hawk Conservancy Trust and what they are doing to support and help them, including their breeding programme. I got to see how majestic and amazing they were, nothing like the movies depict them out to be. I absolutely loved watching the vulture fly on to my hand and holding one." 

How did you feel when Tanazia 2020 was cancelled?  

"There is no doubt that I was devastated. I’ve always wanted to go to Africa and help with a community project, learn their culture and see animals in the wild.

"But I was more devastated for the young people. I had a lovely group of inspiring young people who were so ready to do good in Africa and help build a medical centre. They had done so much hard work fundraising for the money including a whole weekend bag packing in multiple shops. Unfortunately, it was hard to know what to do to help them through it as it was such an alien time for everyone. I did organise some Zoom call quiz nights for the young people but everyone was just sitting tight and waiting for the pandemic to blow over.

"Once we were back to some kind of reality, I decide to throw myself into a new adventure and apply to be a leader for Project 23, a three-week expedition road trip through Europe. This trip provides all the young people who did not secure a place on the World Scout Jamboree an opportunity to experience and be part of an international expedition. I was over the moon to be offered a place, as well as being offered to be a team leader which I was very honored to be chosen for."  

What's next?

"I’ve just learnt so much and have loved the journey these badges have created for me and I want to continue this by releasing another Scout challenge badge. BUGS OF THE WORLD.

"This badge will follow a similar format to the Birds of the World badge but this time I want to educate young people on bugs. This will then help me fundraise for Project 23 where I am a leader of a group and provide a memorable experience to 33 young people."   

About the new Bugs of the World challenge

Complete some challenges from a list covering creating something, discovering more and exploring for bugs in your own garden.

You can find out the latest with her project at the dedicated Facebook page for Bugs of the World or email [email protected] to get the full details.

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