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31 Oct 2022

Field Notes: Introducing the new Quinag Junior Rangers

Our Land Development Manager at Quinag and Sandwood, Romany Garnett, reports that this year's Quinag Junior Ranger programme is off to a great start.

Quinag Junior Rangers 22&23 - tideline

Twelve pupils from Ullapool High School have signed up as Quinag Junior Rangers for 2022/23. This John Muir Trust-led programme runs fortnightly on Friday mornings throughout the academic year. We hope to inspire, challenge and build confidence by providing opportunities to develop practical environmental skills.

The Junior Rangers started off by taking part in a citizen science survey, inputting data into a national seaweed survey with the help of Fiona Mackenzie from the Aberdeen Science Centre. During this session we plotted the pattern of the tide to help us understand its movement and impact on the shoreline. We did this using a trundle wheel and chalk. On the beach the Junior Rangers got a chance to use specialist equipment such as infrared thermometers, microscopes and they operated with supervision, an underwater ROV (remotely operated vehicle).

Quinag Junior Rangers 22&23 - introductory sessions

On 23 September, the Junior Rangers met with Em Planterose Magenta, forester and organic grower of West Edge, Leckmelm, who has a wealth of experience. She taught us about which plants to forage for freshly grown pizza toppings. Everyone had a go making their own pizzas, cooked on the outdoor pizza oven and enjoyed the results!

On 7 October, the Junior Rangers learned about brash hedge building in Culag Community Woods in Lochinver. The aim was to build a hedge to help protect the holly seedlings from deer browsing. Elaine MacAskill from The Woodland Trust came along to supervise and instruct. By the end of the session the hedge was an impressive size and definitely deer proof!

Throughout the programme we aim to build on the expertise offered through partnership opportunities. It is often the conversations at break time sipping hot chocolate round a Kelly kettle that interesting discussions and debate develop. Climate change and bio-diversity loss will be key issues covered as well as land management, navigation and first aid.

We hope the Junior Rangers will learn how their actions can make a real difference to the local environment: also how they can become advocates for protecting wild places into the future. We look forward very much to another exciting, fun and varied year ahead!

Hand with flowers - David Lintern

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