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Park Talk: Partnership and goodwill

19th May 2022

By CNPA Board Member, Deirdre Falconer

Last weekend was a very special one – it was the first time in two years that we were able to host the Cairngorms Nature Big Weekend in ‘real life’ as opposed to self guided or online events only. Life is starting to feel more normal, for most of us anyway.

The Cairngorms Nature Big Weekend is our annual celebration of the fantastic natural heritage of the Cairngorms National Park. With more than 60 events to choose from people were spoilt for choice. There were family adventures, guided walks and specialist ‘behind the scenes’ events. From bugs and wee beasties to our furry and feathered friends, the programme was designed to shine a light on the incredible wildlife that lives here in the Cairngorms National Park – and in some way – the people who care for it.

I couldn’t attend, but the opening event at Boat Hall – ‘Landscapes and Livelihoods’ was said to be particularly interesting. This event, hosted by TV naturalist Gordon Buchanan explored how we approach nature recovery in a living, working National Park. The event brought together a range of voices for an open, honest and meaningful discussion on the key themes and challenges facing the Park, its residents and businesses. I care passionately about the future of our rural workforce who we absolutely rely on to deliver a great deal of what we want to achieve.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority does not own any land or assets in the Park – it relies on effective partnership working, a lot of goodwill, and private alongside public investment to deliver the wide range of objectives outlined in the likes of the Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan, the Cairngorms Nature Action Plan or the Cairngorms National Park Forest Strategy.

All of the work on the ground that’s required to make these aims and objectives become a reality, takes a dedicated land based workforce – those men and women who grow, rear, plant, build, guide, cull, research, restore and much more – 365 days of the year in all kinds of weather. I take my hat off to them all and thank them very much indeed.

But, did you know, you don’t have to be a farmer, a gamekeeper, ecologist or path builder to help shape the Park – you can be a shop keeper a dentist or an accountant! There are lots of opportunities to do environmental volunteering in the Cairngorms National Park to help restore nature and enhance the environment around us – benefitting the Park’s wildlife but also our own health and wellbeing.

You can help nature to recover by becoming a Cairngorms National Park Volunteer Ranger. But if that is too big a commitment there are opportunities across the Park to volunteer for a day or even just a matter of hours whether it’s wildlife recording, path maintenance or taking part in a local litter pick.

Whatever you choose to do – please do it, and play your part in protecting and enhancing the Cairngorms National Park for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

You can find out more about volunteering here: