Students triumph in outdoor education

Students from a school in Scotland have been boosting biodiversity as part of a joint project to open the countryside up to younger generations.

At the start of this year, the Stair Estate donated the use of a duck pond to aid the outdoor practical education of pupils from Stranraer Academy in Dumfries and Galloway.

Throughout the year students have been improving and boosting the pond’s condition, making a positive impact on its biodiversity.

The work is being carried out in partnership with the Royal Highland Educational Trust, the Scottish Youth and Countryside Education Trust and BASC. The organisations are working together to open the countryside up for younger generations to develop skills in habitat management, conservation and gamekeeping.

In November the pupils took significant steps forward at the site by building several duck hides on the pond perimeter. They also got the opportunity to learn more about sustainable shooting and deer management from experienced Stair Estates gamekeeper, Len Dey. This included an introduction to the larder and carcass preparation.

BASC Scotland country officer and former Stranraer Academy student Jake Swindells said: “The steps taken over this year highlight the outstanding progress being made by the pupils. The introduction of duck hides reflects the growing biodiversity on the pond, and it has provided us with a great opportunity to educate the pupils about the sustainable harvest of waterfowl.

“It has been great to have continued support from Stair Estate. Len Dey’s introduction to deer management has provided the students with a flavour of other types of essential wildlife management that takes place across Scotland.

“The project will now enter an exciting phase in the run up to the bird breeding season. We look forward to working with our partners to continue to provide this unique experience to the pupils of Stranraer.”

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