Celebrating the end of this year’s ‘Galloway Glens Goes Wild’ project

The Galloway Glens summer programme of outdoor learning and fun culminated in September with a day of celebration at the Galloway Activity Centre. 28 children and their families joined us to mark the weeks that they spent learning how to care for their natural environment and how to have fun in it over the summer. They all received the John Muir ‘Discovery’ award that they had earned through the programme, as well as an individual ‘Go Wild’ certificate that personally highlighted their achievements.


‘Go Wild’ is designed to give P6/P7s from the local primary school’s experience of their local wild places, with an emphasis on having fun without specialist equipment.

Helen Keron, Galloway Glens Education and Community Engagement Officer, said,

“We wanted to show the pupils that they can have fun practically anywhere in this beautiful area, just by stepping outdoors.”


A key focus was also on building self-esteem through overcoming challenges, and on learning new skills in a relaxed environment. Mary Smith, the Project Coordinator, devised and executed a clear vision of inclusivity and well-being that really made these events special for the children.


The weeks were held on the Garroch Estate in the Glenkens and at the Barhill Woods and St Mary’s Isle in Kirkcudbright. Thanks very much to the landowners for permitting the camps, and even in some cases joining in to share their experiences of growing up outdoors! The other week was held in partnership with the National Trust for Scotland, on the Threave Estate near Castle Douglas.


The children learned how to light fires, river-walk, cook over a fire, create bracelets from nettles, make dens and many other activities. In doing so, they all gained in confidence, team-work and love of the environment. One pupil attending the rather damp Kirkcudbright session said

“A whole day in the rain was better than playing on my X-Box”.

Another said

“Thank you for just letting us do stuff”. 


Helen added:

“As well as delivering this year’s activities, we wanted to learn from them for next year and also support other organisations in the area in replicating them. With this in mind, an excellent meeting was held in September where the learnings, costs and benefits from this summer were shared. You can see the slides from that meeting here. We also have available a full set of exemplar or template documents, from Risk Assessments to Deliverer Job Descriptions to Activity Plans, which we are more than happy to share with youth-supporting organisations in the area.”


If you would like to be involved in our 2020 Summer plans in any way, or to find out more, do just get in touch with [email protected]. The 2019 programme was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Ernest Cook Trust, thanks to support from Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Environment Team and the John Muir Trust.

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