The Loch Ken Trust is delighted to have secured funding for their education and environmental work around Loch Ken.
The award, received through Inspiring Scotland from the Scottish Government’s Rural and Island Communities Idea Into Action Fund will go towards delivering the Loch Ken Plan. Specifically, this work focuses on their Baseline Ecosystem Assessment, including commissioning research and ‘citizen science’ activities.
Caring for the environment has always been at the heart of the Loch Ken Trust. As Barney Fryer, Loch Ken Trust Officer, told us,
“We are looking at ways to protect and cherish our beautiful environment here at Loch Ken. We believe it is no longer good enough to say we are doing less damage than we used to. We need to be able to say that the environment around Loch Ken is improving because of the work we are doing. To begin this we need to know the health of the environment right now so we can assess how best to protect.
We want to create a list of priority species which we will monitor as a guide to overall ecosystem health.”
One of the lessons learned from the pandemic, is that not all young people have the equipment they need to be able to enjoy the health benefits of nature and the outdoors safely. Part of this funding is going to allow them to buy a stock of waterproofs in various children’s sizes which can be used for outdoor activities around Loch Ken or borrowed by other community groups. The Trust never wants a lack of equipment to be a barrier to any of our young people enjoying all that Loch Ken has to offer.
One of the most exciting activities covered by this funding will be Loch Ken Ranger Service working with staff and students from the Wildlife and Conservation Management course at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). They will be developing and designing exciting activity sessions related to our Baseline Ecosystem Assessment work. Thanks to generous support from Drax, the owners of the Galloway Hydro Scheme, we will be able to deliver a programme of these sessions to our local schools this summer.
Drax Group Head of Community, Shona King, said: “We’re proud to help fund the Loch Ken Trust’s valuable work which promotes our shared values of protecting the natural environment and providing educational opportunities. It’s so important that children and young people can access areas of natural beauty in order to learn about biodiversity and ecosystems, hopefully sparking a future interest in conservation.”
Cath Seeds, Senior Lecturer in Wildlife and Conservation Management at SRUC’s Barony Campus, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be involved with this project.
“Over the last few years, we have built a great partnership with the Loch Ken Trust. It is a brilliant project for our students to be involved in.
“The Wildlife and Conservation Management course aims to provide real-world experience of managing natural heritage and working with communities – and this project meets all these needs. We are looking forward to seeing what our students can produce.”
It’s going to be a very busy and exciting time with lots of other environmental science activities happening. If you would like to find out more and be kept up to date on what we are doing, why not join us? Loch Ken Membership is free and open to anyone who enjoys Loch Ken.