The Young Country Diary series is now accepting submissions once more! Every quarter, as the UK transitions into a different season, we invite children aged 8-14 to submit their written work.
The topic of the article should focus on a recent experience with nature, such as encountering a cold robin, a famished hedgehog, or a bustling rockpool.
Regardless of whether the child is knowledgeable about nature or has never used binoculars before, we are particularly interested in reaching out to teachers who are interested in taking their class outside to observe and appreciate nature.
The submission deadline is at 12pm on Tuesday, January 2nd. Six entries will be selected as winners and will be featured in the Guardian newspaper and on their website. Two entries will be featured on December 23rd, followed by two in January and two in February. In March, we will announce a new call for submissions for spring-themed pieces.
If you submit your work early, there is a possibility that it will be published on December 23.
How your child can participate in
We are currently seeking children between the ages of 8 and 14. As a parent or guardian, we will require your consent. Here are the instructions for the child:
Go outside to a natural area, such as a nearby forest, beach, garden, farm, or park.
Rewording not possible.
Step 3: Submit the article to us by completing the form provided below. We kindly request that you, the parent or guardian, fill out the form instead of the child.
Photos/drawings – These are helpful (especially landscape rather than portrait) but they are not a condition of entry. If you have some, please tell us in the “more information” field, as there’s no way to attach them to the form.
Suggestions and advice for aspiring writers on YCD.
If the child is struggling and unsure of what to write, here are some tips:
Start your nature writing by focusing on your senses. What did you observe and hear? What about your sense of smell and touch? Make sure to jot down notes while you’re outside so you don’t lose track.
Can you explain what occurred? Did it bring back any memories?
I encourage you to research additional details about what you observed and share them with us. For instance, if you come across an intriguing insect, try to determine its species and lifespan – any interesting facts would be appreciated!
You have the option to approach this in two ways. One is to focus on the bigger picture, including the sky, horizon, and landscape. Alternatively, you can zoom in and provide specific details about the butterfly’s wings or the beetle’s markings.
What thoughts did your experience with nature provoke? How did it impact your emotions?
The cut-off time for submissions is 12:00 PM on Tuesday, January 2nd. Parents or guardians of children between the ages of 8 and 14, residing in the UK, are eligible to submit an entry. If your child’s piece is chosen for publication, you will be notified and compensated on their behalf.
To find more ideas, check out some recent entries from the Young Country Diaries.
Hayden, a 10-year-old, at a bustling badger den.
Aisha, who is 12 years old, is observing a bird that is well-hidden.
Scarlet, who is 11 years old, has noticed swallows in her garage.
Good luck, everyone!
Paul Fleckney, editor of Young Country Diary and Country Diary
Please have the parent or guardian complete the form below instead of your child. Your answers will be kept secure as the form is encrypted and only the Guardian can view your submissions. Our journalist will reach out to you, as the parent or guardian, before publishing, so please include your contact information.