WORDS Imogen Pickering

PHOTOS Joe Smithy

How often have you heard the phrase, ‘there’s nothing to do in Jersey’? How many times have you stayed indoors, taken the kids to the cinema, or even not left your bed to just have a good old Netflix binge, simply because there’s ‘not much to do’?

Twenty-five-year-old Jessica Pinel has something to say about that. Throughout the month of July, Jersey born adventurist Jess is making it her mission to squash the idea that our island has nothing to offer and aims to change the deep set ‘nothing to do’ philosophy of islanders into ‘what shall we do?’.

Jessica’s vision for this project began with a conversation with a fellow outdoor enthusiast and friend, discussing their upset over the stereotypical view of what to do in Jersey.

“I went away feeling passionate about our discussion and thought hard about how I can play on my strengths to change the opinion of my fellow islanders. To me, outdoor activities are so much more beneficial than the facts that support them. They have lead me to places I would have never imagined and have led me to share experiences better than that of my wildest dreams.”

An idea had been planted in Jessica’s head. She knew she was passionate about changing people’s view of the outdoors to be more inlign with hers, but didn’t know how she’d do it.

“The second time my friend and I met, I felt I had something interesting to bring to the table. An idea that I first thought was crazy, quickly turned into an explosion of creative thinking and before I knew it, my idea was catapulted into reality – an idea that fitted in perfectly with Durrell’s recently launched ‘Rewild Our World’ strategy.”

By 2025, what would have been Gerald Durrell’s 100th birthday, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust are aiming to deliver significant change to the fortunes of threatened wildlife, by introducing a positive and bold vision for conservation. Through their Rewild Our World strategy, they hope to reconnect 1 million people to the natural world we share, by taking responsibility for demonstrating the value of the natural world.

‘Human actions are stripping wildlife from the face of the planet, destroying the building blocks of ecosystems and reducing wild species’ resilience to cope with future change. Restoring the health of our planet requires people to positively change how we value the environment, with the first step being to build a strong emotional connection between people and the natural world.’

Cue Jess – the young female ambassador with dreams of ‘rewilding’ the people of Jersey, encouraging locals to reconnect with the natural world while raising awareness of Durrell’s campaign. Every day throughout July, Jess will be partaking in 31 different outdoor activities over 31 days, with the hopes of inspiring locals to spend more time outdoors. Many of the activities are also open the public participation, with more information on how you can get involved being found at the project’s Facebook page, @rewildthepeople.

To celebrate the completion of Jessica’s project, Durrell will be hosting a special ‘Connect with Nature’ themed Durrell At Dusk on Friday 3rd August, where attendees will have the opportunity to engage with different activity specialists, clubs and businesses, as well as spending the evening exploring Jersey Zoo at night time. Throughout her mission, Jessica will be raising money in aid of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and donations can be made via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rewildthepeople.