Secondary school pupils from across Aberdeenshire are learning about the outdoors with five days of adventure in the Cairngorms National Park. Around 30 students are taking part in this year’s Cairngorms Outdoor Adventure programme, which runs from Monday 24 June until Friday 28 June.
The annual programme is a partnership between Aberdeenshire Active Schools, Cairngorms National Park Authority, the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), the River Dee Trust, John Muir Trust and Tiso. The secondary school pupils from Banchory, Mackie and Mearns academies are taking part in the event, based at Mar Lodge Estate.
They are getting involved in a wide range of activities to raise their understanding of issues around environment, ecology, land management and conservation. Activities include mountain biking, gorge walking, conservation work with NTS staff, stalking, midnight stake outs. The activities are designed in such a way that, all participants will have achieved their John Muir Discovery Award by the end of the week.
The Cairngorms Outdoor Adventure programme is aimed at exposing students to the landscape of the Cairngorms National Park and to develop their understanding of the people who live and work in the area and the organisations which manage it.
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning & Leisure Committee, Councillor Isobel Davidson, said: “In Aberdeenshire we have some of the most beautiful and diverse countryside in Scotland but it is easy to forget about the huge amount of conservation and management work that goes in to the area.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for school pupils to learn more about the countryside and the people who make it what it is, while taking part in some fun and exciting activities.”
CNPA Outdoor Learning Officer, Alan Smith, said: “This week is an ideal opportunity for young people to gain an understanding of the conservation work that is done in the Cairngorms National Park by a wide variety of partners and to possibly give them some ideas of future careers in the land-based sector.”
Mar Lodge Property Director, David Frew, said: “Getting these young people out into Aberdeenshire’s glorious outdoors will be great fun. We’ve got loads of conservation activities for them to get involved in on the estate and who knows, we might even inspire ecologists, rangers, stalkers and foresters of the future.”
Teachers will also gather at Mar Lodge today (Wednesday 26 June) for a CPD (continuing professional development) outdoor learning day. Workshops will be run throughout the day by the River Dee Trust, Aberdeenshire Council Ranger Service, teachers from Aboyne and Banchory schools, the John Muir Trust and outdoor expert Willow Lohr.
Other organisations, including Active Aberdeenshire, Duke of Edinburgh, Education Scotland, Ocean Youth Trust, Police Scotland, Outward Bound and Scottish Natural Heritage are hosting stalls at the event.