22 June, 2018
Young people ‘bringing nature to Scotland’s cities’
Scotland’s young people are set to take a new role in making space for nature in our cities, helping to develop urban nature parks, and developing their own nature projects through a new £100,000 Scottish Natural Heritage fund.
The announcement is SNH’s response to young people urging for better ways to connect with nature, particularly in Scotland’s cities; and improved access to jobs in nature, as laid out in a new report by Scotland’s national youth biodiversity group, ReRoute.
SNH’s commitments include:
- Junior ranger schemes to launch in Scotland’s urban areas, commencing with a pilot scheme in Aberdeen. Working with local authorities and partners to get young people involved in nature on their doorstep, learning about the environment, helping make their local places attractive for people and nature, undertaking practical work – and above all - having fun outdoors.
- As part of the Aberdeen Junior Ranger scheme, ‘kit libraries’ also to be made available in the city, to help remove barriers for young people who are keen to get outdoors, but do not have access to specialist clothing - such as boots or waterproofs.
- Junior rangers, ReRoute members and other young people will work with SNH to help us establish urban nature parks and develop ideas for Scotland’s first urban nature reserve.
- Continuation of the Future Routes Fund for a further 5 years, with £100,000 of funding for individuals and groups of young people to promote Scotland’s nature.
ReRoute, which was formed in 2015 through a partnership between Young Scot and Scottish Natural Heritage previously carried out a study which found that half of young people in Scotland want to take action to help protect the environment, and three quarters (76%) of young Scots aged 11-25 consider nature to be important to them.
Based on their research the group produced the ReRoute report. As well as responding with commitments, SNH will use the report’s findings to directly support Scotland’s Biodiversity Strategy and Route Map to 2020.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “It can be easy to take Scotland’s wonderful environment for granted but for many young people living in urban areas they can often face a number of challenges when it comes to accessing nature.
“This fantastic new scheme will encourage young people to get outside, get active and gain new experiences which can be beneficial for their future jobs prospects.”
Mike Cantlay, Chair of SNH said: “We know that living and working in great places brings huge benefits for physical and mental health. But in some areas, there is little or no opportunity to access the fundamentals of nature – grass, trees, bees and other insects. In this, the Year of Young People, we are delighted to work with Scotland’s youth to better enjoy nature on their doorstep.
“SNH will be working with young people and Young Scot to implement these recommendations over the next twelve months. This is just the start, as we work to ensure that we as an organisation engage and include young people in those critical decisions we need to take – and more importantly, ensure our young people are involved in the decisions about the future of their country’s finest asset, Scotland’s great outdoors.”
Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said “The ReRoute panel has provided powerful insight into how young people should be supported to get more directly involved in the environment and nature.
“It’s fantastic to see young Scots having their expertise, ideas and opinions sought. And it’s brilliant to such a positive response to their recommendations from Scottish Natural Heritage and the report already making an impact.
“I have no doubt that ReRoute’s report will have an impact on policymaking for Scottish Natural Heritage and Scotland’s environmental sector for years to come. This report is just the beginning.”
Aberdeen City Council convener of operational delivery committee Councillor John Wheeler said: “We are delighted that SNH is piloting the scheme in Aberdeen as we have an amazing amount of nature in our beautiful city including red squirrels in our woods and dolphins in our harbour area along with in our beautiful award-winning parks and green spaces.
“Our countryside rangers already carry out a lot of excellent work with young people, educating them about the abundant and varied flora and fauna on our doorsteps, so we look forward to seeing how the Junior Ranger scheme progresses.”
Reroute member Katherine Best said: “It is so important for young people to be involved in nature! We need to connect to our roots literally, what better way is there to keep the ties alive than to let our younger generation explore our country’s greenery and learn to appreciate it. Our report has shown us that a lot of young people value nature, but many don’t realise the true meaning of it and we'd like to see this change."
- SNH Media
Notes to editors
To access the Reroute report: http://www.youngscot.net/ReRouteReport
Scottish Natural Heritage is the government's adviser on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help everyone understand, value and enjoy Scotland's nature now and in the future. For more information, visit our website at www.nature.scot. SNH is also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nature_scot
Young Scot is the national youth information and citizenship agency for Scotland, and currently has a membership of over 670,000 young people across Scotland.
Young Scot provides all young people in Scotland aged 11-26 with information, ideas and incentives to enable them to make informed decisions and choices, turn their ideas into action and take advantage of opportunities available throughout Scotland and Europe.
young.scot – The national youth information portal for Scotland
youngscot.net - Young Scot’s corporate website
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