Rangers are Euro bound

Glyn Jones from Balmoral Estate
Glyn Jones from Balmoral Estate

A trio of countryside rangers from the Aberdeenshire area of the Cairngorms National Park have been selected for this years’ International Junior Rangers Camp, which takes place in Slovenia and Italy next week.

Junior Ranger Hannah Scott (14) from Alford, along with mentor rangers Glyn Jones from Balmoral Estate and Helen Rowe, who works for Aberdeenshire Council, will set off for the special week of events and learning this Saturday.

For the first time, the camp is taking place over two locations – Triglav National Park in Slovenia and the close by Prealpi Giulie Regional Park in Italy.

As well as taking part in a range of activities such as hiking and biking, the rangers will be looking at how these two parks operate and are being asked to think about how well national parks communicate with young people.

Launched by EUROPARC in 2002, the Junior Ranger programme celebrates its 10th birthday this year. Since then a network of protected areas has become involved, with activities taking place all over Europe. The International Junior Ranger Camp is the highlight however, and is a great opportunity for young people to have fun and discover more about biodiversity.

In the Cairngorms National Park, the Junior Ranger programme has been running for four years and is managed by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), who has helped the rangers meet their travel expenses for the trip.

Hannah – a pupil at Alford Academy – said she was very excited to be taking part: “I’m really looking forward to the whole experience and can’t wait to meet the other junior rangers from other countries. This is a great opportunity and I am so pleased to have been chosen to go on this amazing trip.”

Helen, who works for Aberdeenshire Council, said:”It will be a wonderful opportunity for us to meet others from across Europe with a common interest in environmental conservation. While exploring this beautiful part of the Julian Alps together we will be able to exchange experiences from our own protected areas.”

Balmoral’s Glyn Jones added: “Working with the junior rangers has been a great pleasure. They are always enthusiastic and have managed to complete a great deal of work on Balmoral Estate from maintaining upland paths to controlling invasive species and improving habitats for wildlife. It will be great to meet other rangers involved in projects from across Europe and gain ideas that we could use in the Cairngorms National Park.”

Alan Smith, Outdoor Learning Officer at the CNPA said: “The Junior Ranger Project is a great opportunity for young people to find out about the Cairngorms National Park and potential career pathways in the land based sector. It is also a lot of fun and they get to take part in outdoor activities and meet people from different backgrounds.”