Cairngorms National Park

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Adventure beckons for teenagers in the Cairngorms National Park

11th May 2009

Teenagers living in the Cairngorms National Park are being given the chance to take part in an amazing adventure on their own doorsteps.

Youngsters aged between 13 and 18 from Kingussie High School and Aboyne and Alford Academies have been invited to go on a course enabling them to become ambassadors for the Park.

The five-day long Cairngorms National Park Junior Ranger Project is being co-ordinated and funded by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) with support from local Ranger services.

The programme will involve the youngsters going canoeing and doing nature conservation, as well as learning about the National Park and the Countryside Ranger profession.

Youngsters taking part in the course are promised plenty of fun and the prospect of learning more about the beautiful area they live in. They will also meet new people and get the chance of travelling abroad.

The Project is a great opportunity for youngsters to become directly involved in the Cairngorms National Park and also see what opportunities there are for careers in land-based professions.

John Tracey, head teacher of Kingussie High School, said: “This project provides a wonderful opportunity for our young people to learn more about what’s on their doorstep and be involved in it.

“At the same time, the links with other young people in similar schemes throughout Europe broadens their horizons. It gets them thinking about big issues such as getting the balance right between conservation and tourism.”

He added: “Their experiences will hopefully encourage them to want to stay and work in the area instead of moving away.”

Moira Milne, Head Teacher of Alford Academy, said: “This is a tremendous opportunity for our young people at Alford Academy to become actively involved in their local heritage and environment.

“By continuing to develop our partnership with the Cairngorms National Park Authority our young people will understand, respect and be proud of the rich resources we have on our doorstep. They will be more aware of the potential employment opportunities through the sustainable growth of tourism/leisure as well as traditional and new land based industries.”

Eric Baird, Deputy Convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Head Ranger of Glen Tanar, said “The European Junior Ranger camp, held at Glen Tanar last year, convinced us that this was something we had to encourage in the Cairngorms. One year on, and we are preparing to welcome local youth onto the ground.

“They will experience for themselves the type of work involved in looking after our wonderful environment, and in managing the many visitors who come to enjoy it. It’s particularly heartening to see the support of the schools, for the project: we see this as an endorsement of its educational value.”

The Project is being run under the guidelines of the EUROPARC Federation, of which the Cairngorms National Park is a member.

Kingussie High School’s programme will take place from June 15 to 19 while the Aboyne and Alford Academies event will take place from June 22 to 26.

Anyone interested in taking part in either event can contact Alan Smith, the Cairngorms National Park Authority’s John Muir Award Manager, on 01479 870518 or email [email protected]

The Cairngorms National Park Junior Ranger Project is supported by Aberdeenshire Council Ranger Service, The Highland Council Ranger Service, Glen Tanar Charitable Trust Ranger Service and Balmoral Estate Ranger Service, NTS Mar Lodge Ranger Service, Cairngorm Mountain Ranger Service and Explore Abernethy.