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8 Jul 2021

Meet Ben Nevis' Youngest Rangers

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The Nevis Junior Rangers programme offers young people from Lochaber High School the chance to get their hands dirty with practical conservation in the wild places they call home. 

The Junior Rangers initiative - a partnership between the John Muir Trust, the Nevis Landscape Partnership and the Woodland Trust - launched in early July with a group of students from Lochaber High School.

The mission of the programme is to offer young people an opportunity to actively contribute to conservation projects in their area, and gain experience in the outdoors and conservation sector.

"I like the idea of conserving the wildlife in the Highlands, and pushing myself to learn new skills. I think that the program will open a lot of job opportunities, and skills that could be used in certain jobs. I feel that an area of employment in my future may be linked to practical outdoor skills and wildlife preservation, so I believe that being involved in this programme would support me in my career goals. On a personal level, I love the fact that the program is based entirely outdoors." — Junior Ranger

Starting in August, Junior Rangers will meet fortnightly on Wednesday mornings, in line with the school’s existing 'Developing the Young Workforce' initiative. Led by John Muir Trust staff, and with support from partners, Junior Rangers will learn about the value of biodiversity, and get an insight into what it takes to manage a wild place for people and nature. They are being encouraged to speak up for the benefits of wildness, and find out how they can play a part in preventing the loss of wild places.

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"I am lucky to live in the countryside and feel it is very important that people learn about the environment and how to protect it.  I would like to learn more about native Lochaber species and habitats and understand how to keep them safe, as well as how to encourage visitors to be responsible and careful when they visit our special natural places."  — Junior Ranger

In line with Scottish Countryside Rangers Association (SCRA) and  EUROPARC guiding principles, the programme is composed of a combination of practical experiences and training, including: 

  • Nature Conservation: Actively contribute for the management of habitats and species in their local area through practical conservation tasks, habitat surveys & monitoring, visitor management and sustainable tourism incl. Scottish Outdoor Access Code and land use conflicts. 
  • Advocacy: Act as ambassadors for their local wild area, and the John Muir Trust, at a public event or display and contribute to the Trust’s policy and advocacy work through consultation workshops.  
  • Working with others: Develop skills in leadership, communication and problem solving whilst working with others as part of a team. 
  • Awards & Qualifications: Work towards John Muir Explorer AwardScottish Countryside Ranger Association (SCRA) Junior Ranger Award, First Aid certificate, navigation and bushcraft skills. 

In August 2021 we will also be launching a Quinag Junior Ranger programme with pupils from Ullapool High School.

The project wouldn’t be possible without funding from ALA Green Charitable Trust; a heartfelt thank you for their continued support.

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