1 moor, 3 years, 3,000 young explorers
Last modified: 19 June 2012
RSPB Geltsdale is celebrating the end of a 3 year long community project, which gave over 3,000 Cumbrian youngsters the opportunity to experience the magic of their local moorland landscape and wildlife.
Since 2009, the RSPB have been providing schools and community groups across North East Cumbria with a series of free outreach workshops and visits to their Geltsdale nature reserve.
Young people who may not usually have the chance to access the stunning wilderness of the North Pennines landscape have had the opportunity to discover the weird and wonderful birds and beasties that make the reserve their home. Many have taken part in adventurous activities, such as, learning to survive outdoors ‘Ray Mears’ style and solving orienteering challenges.
Some local schools stepped up to raise awareness of the importance of the area for wildlife. Pupils from Hallbankgate Village School created ‘Sprogwatch’, a film documenting their wild adventures, in partnership with the Haltwhistle Film Project. As well as giving the Springwatch team a run for their money, the young film-makers were nominated in the amateur film category at the prestigious Borderlines Film Festival’s competition ‘Under Open Skies’.
Last year young people from Castle Carrock Primary School raised awareness of the plight of hen harriers in the area by helping to create an illustrated book, ‘The Moorwitch’. The children worked with professional storyteller, Malcolm Green and illustrator, Barry Robson to create the book which was inspired by their moorland adventures. Following its launch, copies have been given to local schools, community groups and libraries.
‘Sprogwatch’ and ‘The Moorwitch’ are available to see at www.rpsb.org.uk/exploremoor
Julie Willenbruch, Community Outreach Officer, said “This has been an extremely rewarding project. It has been wonderful to see young people’s enthusiasm for their local landscape and wildlife grow and watch their confidence build as they explore the terrain and learn new skills.” The Geltsdale nature reserve provides the public with access to an important part of this area’s natural heritage. Thanks to the Access to Nature programme, the Explore Moor project has enabled us to introduce a wide variety of young people to the North Pennines, many of whom wouldn’t usually be able to experience places like Geltsdale.
Gareth Lawler, Access to Nature Grants Adviser, said “Natural England is very proud to have supported the Explore Moor project, which is a wonderful example of what Access to Nature set out to achieve. Through Julie’s fantastic work engaging and connecting people with the moorland landscape at Geltsdale, local communities are now more familiar with their natural environment, confident in enjoying it and really value the benefits that this amazing place brings to them and to Wildlife.”
Although the project has come to an end, schools and community groups can continue to enjoy visiting RSPB Geltsdale with the Discover Wildlife Teaching Support Pack which can be downloaded at www.rpsb.org.uk/exploremoor. Copies are also available from the reserve. The pack contains all the information needed to plan and enjoy a day at Geltsdale, including suggested activities and games to try before and after a visit. Trained project volunteers are available on request to support group visits.
To find out more or book a visit, telephone 016977 46717 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Explore Moor project was made possible through a generous grant of £99,999 from Natural England, through Access to Nature, as part of the Big Lottery Fund's Changing Spaces programme.
How you can help
The RSPB field teaching scheme, Living Classrooms, is an exciting programme of school visits designed to bring learning to life.
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