Children across Scotland will have a chance to get connected to nature thanks to a new partnership between RSPB Scotland and supermarket chain Aldi. Money from sales of Aldi carrier bags in Scotland is being donated to the conservation charity to support its work in giving nature a home and getting children engaged with the natural environment around them.
The partnership began at the start of January 2016 in Aldi stores in Scotland, having run in England and Wales from July 2015, and will run for three years. Funds from it will allow RSPB Scotland to ensure that more children have the opportunity to have hands on experience with nature. This work will help improve children's health and well-being while inspiring them to love and understand the natural world.
Starting from April a new schools outreach programme in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen will bring outdoor learning to inner city schools. The schools outreach team will be supported by new project officer roles focused on encouraging children and their families to get involved in nature based activities in greenspaces across these cities.
Aldi funded visits to RSPB Scotland's Loch Leven reserve will be available to schools as part of the partnership. Through these visits children will be able to experience some of Scotland's incredible wildlife including migrating species such as swallows and whooper swans and wading birds such as lapwings, curlews and oystercatchers.
Aldi has always charged for carrier bags since it first opened in the UK in 1990, to reduce its environmental impact. The Scottish Government introduced a 5p charge for each new single-use carrier bag in October 2014. In the first year of the charge the use of such bags in Scotland fell by 80 per cent.
Giles Hurley, Managing Director of Corporate Buying at Aldi, commented: 'We are proud to have been among the first supermarkets to charge for carrier bags.
'It is an honour to partner with the RSPB. They play an important role in protecting Scotland's amazing wildlife.
'Our partnership will leave a long-lasting legacy; a generation of children who are connected to nature, benefit from it, value our wildlife and care and understand enough about it to make a real difference.'
Judy Paul, RSPB Scotland Education, Families and Volunteering Manager said: "This partnership with Aldi will support RSPB Scotland to connect even more children to nature which is fantastic. It's really important that children are able to explore nature on their doorsteps, not only for their own well-being but so that in future they feel the need to conserve it.
"Scottish nature is in trouble and it's vital that future generations see the importance of saving it. We're really looking forward to getting more children excited and passionate about the natural world through these new programmes and opportunities."