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Pride in the Park

16th February 2007

People living within the Cairngorms National Park will be experts on the area thanks to a number of new free courses being run by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA).

The CNPA is committed to working in partnership with the people living within the Park to achieve its four aims – conservation, sustainable use of resources, promotion of enjoyment and the sustainable development of the area’s communities. The Cairngorms Awareness and Pride project (CAP) will be able to realise both of those ambitions.

The project will see 20 courses being offered that will promote, teach and train in areas that are central to the Park’s aims and special qualities. Experts from a wide range of sectors, including agriculture, wildlife and landscape, will be brought in to lead each programme.

It will bring together as wide a cross section of the Park’s communities as possible so they can learn from one another, share good practice and discuss problems.

As well as learning a new skill, the individuals will gain a better understanding, knowledge and interest of the Park and its aims, its special qualities and how they can participate and be involved in the work that goes on within the area.

They will also be able to use their new skills and knowledge to help others, particularly visitors, have a better understanding, enjoyment and experience of the Park.

Claire Ross, Education and Inclusion Manager for the CNPA said: “This project promotes awareness and greater understanding of the Cairngorms National Park and why it is such a special area. It is giving the people living in the Park a sense of ownership, an understanding of the aims of the National Park and pride in their area.”

Kate Christie, Land Based Business Project Manager at the CNPA and the CAP Project Manager, said: “Cairngorms Awareness and Pride allows people to have their part in developing the Park and helping it become a place that everyone can feel involved with.

“What is exciting about this project is it will not only give people a number of new skills, but they will work alongside existing groups. It will also see the partnership ethos of the Park in action.”

CAP will consist of 20 courses for people of all ages living in the Park. They can take part in as many courses as they want.  The first programme, Leave No Trace/Minimum Impact, is due to take place on March 21st in Kincraig and March 22nd in Ballater. It will teach people how to respect the countryside, rivers and mountains and leave them as they find them.

A number of other courses have already been scheduled, including:

  • Woodfuel (April 26th)
  • Ticks and Lyme Disease (May 10th)
  • Pond Creation (May 29th)
  • Wildflower identification (May 20th)
  • Habitats of the Cairngorms (June 27th)
  • Landscape History of the Cairngorms (July 4th)
  • Wildlife Appreciation (November 7th)

Other programmes will be announced throughout the year, with details to appear in the local press.  Each course will last a day and up to 20 people will be able to take part. Assistance will be given with transport and child care.  There will also be after-course advice and support for those wishing to pursue their interest further.

The project costs £20,000 and is being funded by the CNPA and the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme, which offers grants to local groups.

An Awards for All spokesperson said: “The great thing about Awards for All is that it shows how a small amount of money can make the biggest difference to local communities. We are delighted to be awarding a grant of £10,000 to the Cairngorms National Park Authority. The award will help to increase the membership and most importantly ensure representation from all sectors of communities.”

For more information about CAP or to apply for any of the courses please contact Kate Christie on 01479 873 535.