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Connecting urban youth with Scotland's natural heritage

A new project connecting young people, with limited work and social development opportunities, to spend time with ghillies, stalkers and other Scottish estate staff was launched at this year’s Royal Highland show.

 The project has been warmly welcomed and encouraged by a number of estate owners, MSPs and other government officials. The outcomes of the project will be not only to connect young people with their natural heritage through experience of wild places and intergenerational sharing, but will aim to regenerate an interest in work, skills development and living in rural areas of Scotland.

Our youth face some of the greatest challenges of any generation through history, due to increasing urbanisation, economic crises and over population. This includes their loss of a vital connection to the natural world and rural heritage skills, thus impacting on wellbeing and sustainable futures.

   100 young people, aged 15-17, from urban and rural settings, will over the next two years spend a week at a time on estates from the Highlands to Perthshire and Dumfries-shire, who have already committed to the project. In addition to growing the skills and interest of the young participants, the estates who are all custodians of much of Scotland’s natural heritage, will demonstrate the environmental, economic and social benefits that these areas offer a wide range of the public with a focus on the next generation.

 Paul Wakefield of Scottish Land & Estates said: 'this is an almost perfect relationship between two organisations who want to improve the future both of Scotland and of young people. With its roots in Africa and youth development the Wilderness Initiative has enabled us to provide something which we feel is incredibly special.' Imbewu Scotland is a project jointly delivered by The Wilderness Foundation, and Scottish Land and Estates.

 Background to the Organisations The  Wilderness Foundation has for thirty years been connecting people with wild places, through pioneering  initiatives and projects that serve social and environmental sustainability. They have a proven track record in nature based learning, coupled with robust learning outcomes in order to develop young leaders of the future. They have been running the successful Sirius Leaders programme in Scotland for four years and have worked closely with  several estates to deliver their social benefit programmes.   Scottish Land & Estates since its inception in 1906, have worked alongside estates and landowners and managers; the custodian’s of Scotland’s natural resources, representing them politically and commercially. The organisation has been involved in a range of national education projects and provides a wealth of knowledge for this project within the rural sector.

Contact Details:

For further information please contact: David Eckersley , Programme Coordinator, Wilderness Foundation on 01245 443073 Or Paul Wakefield, Director of Operations & Communications, Scottish Land and Estates 0131 653 5400.


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