Young rangers take flight with a range of countryside projects

Young people are taking care of the county's wildlife and countryside as Shropshire's National Lottery Heritage Fund project, Young Rangers, returns after lockdown.

The young rangers in action
The young rangers in action

The launch of the project was delayed because of the Covid lockdown but is now gaining momentum.

Project officer Joe Penfold said: "We were able to deliver a programme, albeit scaled-back, of permitted, Covid-safe activities in the lead-up to spring.

"Included in this were activities for vulnerable young people and young people from ethnic minorities in the Craven Arms catchment. This was led by our project partner, South Shropshire Youth Forum.

"Hot on their heels, a new fledgling group was set up in the Pontesbury/Stiperstones area. It began with taster woodland craft sessions at Poles Coppice in Pontesbury, and the group has since taken an interest in monitoring a local population of pied flycatchers in an area of woodland overlooking Snailbeach. The location is a well-kept secret."

Young Rangers is aimed at 12-16 year olds who live in, or near to the Shropshire Hills, but Joe said there was another strand to the project, the newly launched Youth Voice for Nature.

"This seeks to engage those aged between 17-21. As the title suggests, the aim is to set up a youth forum on environmental issues and in so doing, promote greater collaboration, representation and involvement of young people in the AONB’s governance. It will be interesting to hear what young people have to say and how this is manifested into local action, be it an environmental campaign or a local project to address our climate and ecological emergency.

For more information visit the Young Rangers and Youth Voice for Nature web pages or contact the Young Rangers Project Officer, Joe Penfold at joe.penfold@shropshire.gov.uk.

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