21st June 2010
Teenagers from Aboyne Academy, Alford Academy, Kingussie High School and Grantown Grammar are set to become Junior Rangers in the Cairngorms National Park this week (Monday 21 – Friday 25 June), as well as gain their John Muir Discovery Award.
From their base at either the Badaguish Outdoor Centre or the Burn O Vat Visitor Centre, the Junior Rangers will be introduced to the flora, fauna and special qualities of the Cairngorms National Park.
The Junior Rangers based at Badaguish Outdoor Centre will take part in activities including a visit to Insh Marshes to see the work of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and learn about the mountain environment with a Cairngorm Mountain Ranger.
For those based at the Burn O Vat Visitor Centre, activities include a visit to Balmoral to learn about biodiversity and a trip to Glen Tanar Estate to hear about visitor management.
By the end of the week the groups will be fully fledged Junior Rangers and there will be a graduation ceremony to celebrate. They will also be presented with their John Muir Discovery Award, which encourages groups or individuals to discover, explore, conserve and share their experiences of wild places.
The Junior Rangers programme is co-ordinated and funded by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) with support from Scottish Natural Heritage, the RSPB, The Highland Council, Explore Abernethy, Cairngorm Mountain, Aberdeenshire Council Ranger Service, Glen Tanar Estate and Balmoral.
Alan Smith, Outdoor Learning Officer for the CNPA said: “The young people taking part will gain a much better understanding of the National Park during their five days from undertaking conservation work and hearing about the role of Ranger Services in the Park, to gaining an insight into career opportunities in the land based sector.”
Opportunities for the junior rangers to take part in Europe-wide camps and exchanges may also be possible at a later date, further expanding their knowledge and understanding of wild places.
David Green, Convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority said: “These junior ranger events have gone from strength to strength each year and provide our young people with a valuable insight into the qualities that make the Cairngorms National Park such a special place.
“Opening up young people’s minds to the challenges and opportunities that living in or near a National Park brings, can help make a valuable contribution to retaining young people in rural areas and ensure future generations understand the significance of the National Park. It is encouraging that as National Parks become more embedded in the National Curriculum, outdoor learning opportunities like these are taking place to help connect young people to their local surroundings.”