A group of youngsters have been making their mark at one of the city’s biggest parks as they’ve been recruited as Junior Rangers.
The Lochside Academy pupils have taken on their new role as part of a joint project between the Duthie Park Rangers and Scottish Natural Heritage.
This follows on from recommendations by Scotland’s national youth biodiversity group, ReRoute, which called for better ways to connect young people with nature, particularly in Scotland’s cities, in a report last year.
The Duthie Park Junior Ranger group meets at the David Welch Winter Gardens old pavilion every week, and tasks they’ve been set include learning about the history of the park, carrying out a variety of surveys including soil and pond surveys, learning first aid, and carrying out practical work in the park. Throughout the year, the Junior Rangers will gather evidence of what they have done, which is sent to the Scottish Countryside Rangers’ Association for assessment of achievement of the Junior Ranger Award.
Aberdeen City Council operational delivery vice convener Councillor Philip Bell said: “The Junior Rangers have been doing a great job and I’m sure they’ve learned a lot since they started.
“Duthie Park is one of the jewels in the crown of our award-winning parks and gardens in our beautiful city and the contribution these youngsters have been making is invaluable.”
The national Junior Ranger programme and award is overseen by the Scottish Countryside Rangers’ Association which aims to get young people involved in nature on their doorstep, learn about the environment, help make their local places attractive for people and nature, undertake practical work – and above all – have fun outdoors. SNH has supported the development of this SCRA programme and in response to Reroute’s recommendations, is now seeking to support new junior groups in Scotland’s towns and cities.
Scottish Natural Heritage chief executive Francesca Osowska said: “Recent research by ReRoute found that three quarters of young people in Scotland say nature is important to them, and increasingly we are seeing the younger generation leading the way in taking action to help protect the environment.
“The Junior Rangers are a fantastic example of how young people can make a real difference in their local area, helping to improve biodiversity while at the same time having plenty of fun.”
Picture caption: Councillor Philip Bell and Andrew Ferguson, operations officer with Scottish Natural Heritage, with Jyden Kinnaird, Junior Ranger at Lochside Academy, 14YO S4, holding some of the ‘Beastie House’ shelters made during the sessions