Green Health in the Cairngorms National Park Junior Ranger Project
20th May 2022
By CNPA Countryside Ranger Pete Short
What is Green Health?
Green Health is all about people connecting to nature and the outdoors in whatever way brings them benefits for their health and wellbeing. In the Cairngorms National Park Junior Ranger programme we are always looking for ways to facilitate this.
The Cairngorms National Park Junior Rangers
The project is an exciting, fun and adventurous outdoor learning programme for young people aged 11–18 years, with monthly sessions running in both Badenoch & Strathspey and Deeside. We also run 5 day Junior Ranger weeks with high schools in and around the national park. It’s a collaborative project run by the family of ranger services across the area, meaning Junior Rangers get a chance to explore a wide variety of wild places across the Cairngorms, meeting lots of great people along the way.
We regularly check in with the junior rangers for insights and ideas on how we shape the programme going forward, so for Green Health Week, we asked them:
How does being in nature make you feel?
We got a brilliant 20 responses to our question, and there were some common themes. ‘Happy’ came up often, along with ‘Calm’, ‘Relaxed’ and ‘Healthy’. These words were input into a blank feedback form and entirely generated by the Junior Rangers themselves.
Our monthly Junior Ranger programme has been running since November 2021. So we wanted to know:
Has being a part of the junior ranger programme this year improved your Green Health? If so, how?
We didn’t want to pick from the responses we got back – so we have included them all below!
‘The exercise is good for me and being able to breath some clean air as opposed to stuffy air from indoors.’
‘I’ve only been to one, but that one was really fun and made me feel happy. Everyone was kind and I love being outside in nature.’
‘I love being outside and it makes me feel happy.’
‘Yes it has, it has made me appreciate the world around me.’
‘Yeah, its helped me understand stuff about nature a bit better.’
‘When you are outside for the day your sleep is better and your mind is peaceful.’
‘Being part of the Junior ranger has definitely help build my confidence around others and around taking part in things like using tools and equipment.’
‘Yes, because it’s fun & you feel good about doing something positive, it makes you sleep well at end of the day.’
‘Activities help take my mind elsewhere, meaning it is indirectly helping my mental health.’
‘Yes – even more reason to be out and about in the natural world.’
‘Yes. It feels good to contribute to protect nature- the junior rangers are enhancing my understanding.’
‘It makes me get outside in all weather.’
‘Yes – more time spent outdoors.’
‘Definitely! Because junior rangers has encouraged me to spend more time outdoors on my own, with my friends, and also with the new friends that I have met through the junior ranger programme.’
We are thrilled that the junior ranger project is continuing to improve the green health of young people in and around the Cairngorms National Park and we can’t wait to see where this project leads in the future.
Thinking of the future, the project will always help any young person with an interest in employment in outdoor, practical or environmental jobs.
If you know someone 11-18 who lives locally and might like to join in with the Cairngorms National Park Junior Ranger project, all the joining information can be found by heading to cairngorms.co.uk/caring-future/education/learning/junior-rangers/ or find our page on social media for updates: