School children from in and around the Cairngorms National Park were invited to Glenmore Forest Park yesterday to take part in some hands-on activities and demonstrations based around rural skills.
Over 200 gathered yesterday as the Cairngorms Nature Big Weekend was brought to a close, with local companies and organisations laying on a day of opportunities to try new skills, with the hope that children will now seek more information about rural career opportunities.
The event was sponsored by Forest Holidays as part of an ambition to connect 20,000 youngsters with nature over the course of the next five years.
Bruce McKendrick, chief executive of Forest Holidays, said: “The UK’s National Parks are breathtaking and inspiring landscapes of which we should all be proud.
“Our generation has a responsibility to offer young people the opportunity to experience these places first hand and it’s a pleasure to observe the positive impact spending time in nature provides.”
Grant Moir, Cairngorm National Park Authority chief executive, hoped the event would encourage youngsters to get more involved with nature.
He said: “This partnership with Forest Holidays means that school children and young adults who live in and around the UK’s largest and most northerly National Park can benefit from first-hand experience of rural skills that care for our natural world.”
Youngsters also had the opportunity to take part in an art competition as part of the event, with the final taking place in Carrbridge on Sunday.
Local artist Justin Prigmore judged the hundreds of entries relating to the theme of lochs and rivers, with Georgie Grant from Carrbridge winning the nursery to primary three age group, and Maria Mackellaig of Newtonmore scooping top spot in the primary four to seven category.
Both winners were awarded a selection of wildlife watching goodies and a trip to the Highland Wildlife Park for their whole class.