This was a trip with many highlights and at first I found it difficult to choose just one but in spite of the incredible landscapes and nature we experienced first-hand, it was in fact the group itself that was the stand out highlight for me. To have a group of people from a range of backgrounds and roles that were all completely on the same page was both exciting and in many ways a relief. Large scale restoration of our landscapes here in Scotland is often a difficult message to promote and it’s easy to feel like a lone voice but it provided great comfort (and indeed many excellent conversations) to know there are others out there with similar passions to help restore what once was.
I have a little bit of a different blog for you this time as I have been away on an Erasmus+ Mobility exchange program in Finland to look at and compare their forestry. The project was funded through the Erasmus+ programme and developed by ARCH and its consortium partners. This course gave me a greater experience of what the Caledonian pine forest could look like and how we are better able to engage people in nature and conservation. I wanted to use this experience to explore my understanding and share what I learned with all of you.
From 30th August to 6th September 2022, I was fortunate to take part in a Nature Exchange in Finland. The visit was funded through the Erasmus+ programme and hosted by staff and students from Tampere University of Applied Sciences.
My role as Head Ranger at Balmoral Estate involves taking practical action on the ground to manage habitats and species as well as visitors and access. I am also involved in providing access and interpretation to visiting members of the public.
Delayed from from 2020 due to COVID restrictions, our group finally made it in early July 2022. Follow our story as we explore a small area of Western Slovenia, welcomed by many interesting people who told us their stories. This report is hosted on the “StoryMap” website.
The Polish coast is largely made up of dunes, both those that form active dunes systems moving landward and those that build seaward or along the coast to form sandy barriers creating lagoonal systems between areas of eroding morainic cliffs. This unconsolidated nature has implications for conservation and development. The National Parks in Poland also appear to have greater potential for generating revenue through entrance fees, parking charges and visitor attractions (e.g. bison) – these funds then go directly into park management, including conservation. Development of honeypots for visitors through beach replenish schemes help to take pressure off national parks and more naturalised coastal areas.
Traversing Through Transylvania: Christine Devlin You can download Christine’s report as a PDF here. Romania, and in particular southern Transylvania, is a hugely biodiverse country rooted in traditional culture. We were hosted by Fundatia ADEPT (Agricultural Development and Environmental Protection in Transylvania), a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) which focuses on biodiversity conservation and rural development. […]
Saxon Villages of Transylvania: Myles Maydew (Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park) Saxon villages of Transylvania The way that the houses are built in a certain area is normally related to the building materials in the locality and the needs of the population. Traditionally in the Saxon villages of Transylvania, these appear to be […]
I would start by saying it was a wonderful experience. I feel so privileged to have been given the opportunity to take part in this learning journey . I have enjoyed every single minute of it ,learned and exchange vision, ideas and best practice with both our Slovenian partners and hosts but also with my Scottish colleagues – which made the entire experience even more fulfilling .
The course had a particular focus on interpretation – how we tell our stories and present matters to others – a topic I am truly passionate about and a skill necessary and important to both of my roles. Taking the course in Estonia was a very meaningful experience, rich in content and inspiring on many levels.
An inspirational and diverse programme of topics and visits was put together for us which included Kemeri and Gauja National Parks, the Lubana wetland complex and Latvia’s only gorge near Sigulda. The themes explored were Forestry, large carnivore management, research and legislation, peat bog and wetland management, nature protection system and practices, cultural and green infrastructure and digital tools in conservation. Cultural visits included a visit to the Nordic Herbal Museum in Cecis, a guided walk and history talk in the old town of Cecis, a visit to the Ligatne Nature Park in Gaujas National Park, the Kalsnavas Arboretum and the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum in Riga.