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School pupils take to Moorlands to investigate climate change

15th March 2011

Speyside High School pupils are taking to the moors of the Cairngorms National Park this week to investigate the link between moorlands and climate change.

Their visit forms part of the ‘Moorland Indicators of Climate Change Initiative’ (MICCI), which began three years ago in the Peak District National Park and is a UK-wide project involving schools in or close to National Parks.

The S5 pupils will be on Feith Musach in Glenlivet on Friday 18th March to collect data samples in order to explore the role that peat plays in carbon sequestration. Moorlands are a significant global carbon store in the form of peat and the pupils will be looking at the interaction of people and moorlands and the subsequent effects on climate change.

The Speyside High School students are carrying out their fieldwork during National Science and Engineering Week which began on Friday 11 March and runs until Sunday 19 March.

Moorlands cover more than half of the area of the Cairngorms National Park, formed by a combination of man and nature and managed to maintain a landscape for sporting and farming pursuits – a significant part of the Park’s culture and economy. Britain has most of Europe’s moorland and nearly all of its heather moorland with 12 per cent of Scotland covered by moorland.

The Speyside High School pupils will be assisted in the scientific investigations by the Cairngorms National Park Authority’s (CNPA) Outdoor Learning Officer, Alan Smith. He explained: “MICCI brings together the world of science and education and allows secondary pupils to experience team working and learning in the great outdoors. Speyside High School pupil’s findings are set to feed into this major initiative with the information being used by real scientists to build a picture of the connection between moorlands and climate change so they truly are making a difference at a national level.”

Bill Miller from Speyside High School added: “This is an excellent opportunity for some of our pupils to experience real, hands-on scientific research, and to use techniques and equipment which will greatly enhance their future studies in Advanced Higher Geography and Chemistry. It will also provide them with a greater understanding that climate change is not something that is happening “somewhere else” but is having an impact right now in our local area.”