LGBTQIA+ in the Environment Sector

Nature is for everyone. Representation within the Environment Sector should be too. This is why we celebrate our LGBTQIA+ colleagues in a shared mission of connecting people with their greenspaces – to inspire more people to join in and feel good with The Conservation Volunteers.

Izzy (she/they), is a TCV Project Assistant working at The Paddock in London.

LISTEN: Catch Izzy on BBC Radio 4 (06:05) as she talks to Dan O’Neill a wildlife expert, biologist and the first openly gay wildlife presenter.

Izzy Knight, TCV The Paddock, London

What made you want to get into the conservation sector?

I think it is the same for a lot of people in this sector, I have just always loved animals and wildlife from when I was a kid! I wasn’t the best at being social and I just found connecting with nature was a lot easier for me. I spent most of my time outside and found so much joy there. I guess it led me to want to share that joy with others and contribute to conserving our green spaces. It certainly hasn’t been a straightforward road getting to where I am now, but I genuinely love the work I do! 

What is your favourite UK native animal or plant?

Most people who have met me for longer than two minutes will know my answer to this question! It must be Bumblebees (Red-Tail male if I am getting really specific!). Bumblebees are so important for the ecosystem and they are also really cute of course!

Red-tailed bumblebee
Scientific name: Bombus lapidarius
Red-tailed bumblebee. Scientific name: Bombus lapidarius

What impact has TCV had on your life and your career?

Last year I was really struggling with my mental health. I took a bit of a leap and applied for this job and I am so glad I did.  Working outside again and connecting people to nature just puts a smile on my face! On the really sunny days, my wonderful colleague Anna usually has to put up with me skipping along!

In terms of my career, this job just keeps giving me more and more experience. I find if there is something I want to learn or try, then someone will try and find that opportunity for me. I remember saying I wanted to learn carpentry and two weeks later I found myself making a bench!

I have also just found TCV a really welcoming environment. Being openly queer can sometimes be met with negativity and I know not everyone is comfortable doing that in their workplace. Being accepted should be the norm and I’m really happy working for a charity where I feel that is true.

Are there any LGBTQIA+ individuals that you especially admire in the conservation sector at the moment?

Last year I discovered Susy on Instagram – who goes by the handle queer.as.funghi. I just think they are awesome. They run funghi walks specifically aimed at LGBTQIA+ people, as well as a composting group that goes under the name of Young Rotters. It’s an opportunity for people in the community to join for a shared interest, or to learn something new, in a safe and welcoming environment.

They are always posting interesting and educational content on Instagram, whether it is funghi identification, or the history of other LGBTQIA+ people in the conservation sector. It’s certainly increased my knowledge.

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We thank Izzy for her contribution to this blog!

Representation of the LGBTQIA+ community within the environment sector is vital for real change to happen. At TCV, we encourage all those with an interest in the sector to get involved. We have volunteering opportunities across the UK, as well as Volunteer OfficerKey Volunteer and staff roles.

Keep up to date with the latest news and activities from The Conservation Volunteers by following us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and Instagram. You can also sign up to receive our Greenzine newsletter for more ways to get involved.

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