If you go down the woods today… you’ll be seeing green, as a new initiative to clean up Anagach Woods of dog poo gets underway this weekend (Friday 18 and Saturday 19 March)!
The Green Dog Walkers Scheme involves people taking ‘the pledge’ to promote responsible attitudes among fellow dog walkers towards picking up after their dog. Dog owners who have committed to the scheme will wear a green wristband or snood and their dogs will be entitled to wear a green collar as a badge of identification with the scheme and it’s their role to positively encourage others to join up too.
Members of the Anagach Woods Trust, The Highland Council Ranger Service, the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) outdoor access team and the local community dog warden will be setting up a stall in the woods this weekend to promote the scheme and – with the help of volunteers – will be carrying out a ‘poo count’ so that the effectiveness of the scheme can be measured over a set period of time.
The Green Dog Walkers Scheme was initially started up in the Falkirk area by a local community group supported by Falkirk Council. Within 18 months 1,500 people in the Falkirk area had signed up and a reduction in dog fouling of up to 99 per cent was reported in Dunipace. The project has been so successful that Falkirk Council decided to trademark the scheme and licence it out to other local authority areas.
The Highland Council has since acquired a licence to run the Green Dog Walkers Scheme and groups are already springing up in Ross-shire, Skye and Lochaber. Now it’s the turn of Grantown-on-Spey residents with the Anagach Woods Trust overseeing the scheme here.
Pam Baird, Director of Anagach Woods Trust said: “There has been much reported in the press regarding dog fouling in Anagach woods in recent months and we are confident that the Green Dog Walkers Scheme will help to improve the situation. The Trust will be looking after the administration of the project but the Green Dog Walkers Scheme will belong to the dog walkers of Grantown themselves who will be encouraged to spread the message of responsible dog walking in a non confrontational and friendly way.”
Saranne Bish, a countryside ranger with The Highland Council added: “Those who sign the Green Dog Walkers pledge always commit to cleaning up after their dog, will always carry extra bags to give to others who need them and to encourage others to clean up after their dog.”
The Outdoor Access team at the CNPA are right behind the Green Dog Walkers Scheme. Fran Pothecary said: “We have been working hard with rangers and land managers to promote responsible outdoor access with dogs in its widest sense and part of that work, is making sure that people pick up after their dog. We are very happy to support the Green Dog Walkers Scheme in Grantown-on-Spey.”
Local Councillor and CNPA Board Member Jaci Douglas added: “Anagach Woods is a beautiful place to spend some recreational time, with or without a dog, but the issue of dog fouling is blighting people’s enjoyment of the area. I give my full backing to the Green Dog Walkers Scheme and think that the friendly approach to getting the message across about cleaning up after your dog is an excellent way forward.”
To become involved in the Green Dog Walkers Scheme in Grantown please contact Pam Baird on tel: 07766 241250, or take yourself and your pooch to Anagach Woods Forest Road car park this weekend where promoters of the initiative will be happy to answer questions and dog walkers will be able to take the pledge there and then! The Green Dog Walkers stall will be open for business between 7am-9am, 12pm-2pm and 4pm-6pm on Friday and 9am -11am on Saturday.
If you live in Badenoch and Strathspey and are interested in setting up a Green Dog Walkers Scheme in your community, contact Mandy Macleman at The Highland Council on tel: 01349 868471.