Young Explorer Programme

The Young Explorer Programme

The Young Explorer Programme aims to assist young people with a passion for exploration and conservation. It supports them with a financial grant of between £100 – £1,000, as well as offering practical planning assistance and advice. As well as the Explorer team who have a wealth of travel and adventure knowledge, recipient’s can benefit from advice from a wide network of professional Explorer supporters.

We are honoured that the eminent explorer Colonel John Blashford-Snell, who was instrumental in Operations Drake and Raleigh, has become a Patron of the programme.

The YEP programme is open to young explorers between 18 and 23 years old. They should be planning a trip with an element of adventure, exploration and/or conservation in it. This might be an all-encompassing trip or a shorter component in a longer holiday.

Send a short bio and outline of your trip to yep@realworldconservation.org.uk, putting “YEP” as the subject. We need to know where you are planning to go, how long you are planning to travel for and an outline of your objectives. If your proposal meets our criteria and we have funds available, we will contact you and request more details and arrange a meeting.

Please note we do not support trips that are leaving within 3 months of the application. We only give a few bursaries per year and get many applications. Please don’t be disappointed if we are unable to support your adventure.

In return for the grant and planning assistance we will put your profile on our website as you plan your trip with details of your objectives. This can be useful for you as you approach potential sponsors and supporters by giving your project credibility.

Upon your return we ask for a report on your trip. If it is a longer expedition we ask for updates as your adventure progresses. (WiFi/signal permitting!)

The YEP is separate from our conservation work. It is underwritten through specific fund-raising by supporters of Explorers against Extinction. These activities range from cake sales to sponsored runs and trips.

Young Explorers 2020

Name: Mark Lewin

Age: 22

Objective: Trekking from Kathmandu, Nepal to Everest Base Camp, recreating the route of the 1953 Everest Expedition

Start: 17th February 2020

Duration: 4-5 weeks

Mark is planning to walk from the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal to Everest Base Camp, recreating the route of the 1953 Everest Expedition which successfully put Tensing Norgay and Edmund Hilary on the summit of Everest for the first time. The last part of the trip will be the classic Base Camp trek. For the first couple of weeks he will be walking east across the large river valleys that drain the Himalayas.

Our Young Explorer Programme has helped with route planning, emergency planning and by contributing to the cost of Mark’s flights.

To support Mark’s expedition please click here.

Young Explorers Archive

Name: Jack O’Shea
Age: 19
Objective: Cycling unsupported from Kenya to South Africa
Duration: 4-5 months
Start: 3rd March 2019
Finished: 14 July 2019

“I have always had a love for adventurous sports and travelling and after reading Mark Beaumont’s books I had a desire to get on my bike and cycle a large distance across a continent…I started reading other peoples blogs about long distance cycling and overlanding, I started to research some of the countries I plan on cycling through. I can’t wait to meet new people from a wide variety of cultures and learn about different ways of life.”


The YEP supported Jack with a financial bursary as well as advice on logistics, route-planning and security. We arranged for local back-up should the need arise and organised for him to start his journey at Ol Pejeta Reserve in Laikipia, Kenya. Explorers against Extinction donated a trained arms/ammunition Spaniel to Ol Pejeta using funds from its 2017 campaign. Jack stayed for two nights at the start of his trip to assemble his bike and equipment and visit the anti poaching dog unit.

Jack had live tracking through a SPOT Gen3 and could be tracked/monitored by his back-up team. This device also gives a critical line of communication using 100% satellite technology, ensuring that if he is out of phone signal he can always contact nominated people should he need to in the case of emergency.

Jack cycled through Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, completing his adventure at the Waterfront complex in Cape Town.

Jack was presented with his Young Explorer Award by Levison Wood (pictured) at the Royal Geographical Society in Novmber 2019.

Name: Joe Parry
Age: 23
Objective: Write a Business and Commercial Plan for the Mariamma Trust, India
Duration: 3 weeks
Started: 20 Oct 2019
Finished: 10 Nov 2019

Joe is a Business Graduate from Anglia Ruskin University. Before taking up a place at Leeds University to study for a Masters in Business Management he wanted to use his theoretical knowledge to help a Conservation Project. We placed him with the Mariamma Charitable Trust in Karnataka State, India for 3 weeks.

The Mariamma Trust helps protect tigers living in Bandipur National Park by mitigating human-wildlife conflict. It does this by a compensation scheme for local families who lose livestock to tiger and leopard kills, providing medical care to local villagers and inoculating dogs and other domestic animals against illnesses that could pass to the wild populations.

While at the project he learnt about their projects by working with the various teams, analysed their procedures and wrote a detailed business plan and e-commerce strategy to assist them in future projects and fund-raising initiatives.

The EAE Young Explorer Programme paid for his board/living expenses while at the project.