BASC hopes the success of an innovative scheme to get youngsters onto the North Yorkshire Moors will be a model for future conservation work with schools.
BASC gave £7,000 of legacy funding to the ‘Let’s Learn Moor’ project after North Yorkshire Police donated £3,000 from its Police Property Fund to allow primary school pupils to help with conservation tasks and learn about the region’s unique habitats and wildlife.
Over three days, more than 300 four to 11-year-olds enjoyed an experience that BASC plans to repeat next year with continued support from a number of partners including the North York Moors Moorland Organisation (NYMMO), the National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO) and Countryside Learning.
BASC North regional officer Gareth Dockerty, who led the scheme, said: “It has been a fantastic opportunity for children to engage in their local habitats. We hope they have realised that it’s one big picture, with the gamekeepers, farmers and police all working together for the benefit of these beautiful moors.
“We showed the children the bell heather, they listened to skylarks singing, saw a lapwing near its nest, found frogs, jumped up and down on the spongy moss. In essence, we explained to the children just how special this area is and how we achieve balance in this beautiful countryside.
“We received a fantastic response to the scheme this year. The legacy funding will support this work for a second year and will allow even more youngsters to see the unique nature on their doorsteps. It is a project we would like to roll out to a wider audience.”
BASC North director Duncan Thomas said: “Everybody got stuck in and pulled this together. More than 300 children enjoyed a first class experience and you only had to see the sheer joy on their faces to get a sense of this project’s success.”
NYMMO’s Tina Brough said: “It was excellent to get the children out of the classroom and into the fresh air to give them a taste of the excellent conservation work that takes place on the moors.
“The gamekeepers also really enjoyed the experience as it was very different to what that would normally do. The children were interacting really well with the gamekeepers and we believe the project provides an excellent model for future engagement.”
BASC set up the scheme after securing money from the Police Property Fund, which turns unreturnable stolen or recovered goods into grants for local community groups. BASC’s council was so impressed with the project, they agreed to add the legacy funding.
BASC chairman Peter Glenser said: “It is extremely heartening that legacy funding translated directly into smiles on the faces of young people up on the moors. It enables these children to see conservation at close quarters and to sample the amazing wildlife which is such a feature of this region.
“The children played with the gamekeepers’ dogs, listened to skylarks singing and watched a lapwing protecting its nest of young. I don’t think you can put a price on that sort of experience.
“BASC is rightly proud that it supported this project and we were delighted that other organisations like NYMMO, NGO and the police were on board. The project this summer was a credit to all who put in so much hard work to make it a success and should be a model for future schemes that link young people to their countryside.”