A recent visit saw 300 schoolchildren from local schools enjoy a fun-filled and informative trip onto the North Yorkshire Moors to learn about the region’s unique habitat and wildlife.
Thanks to £7,000 of legacy funding from the British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and a £3,000 donation from North Yorkshire Police’s Police Property Fund, the ‘Let’s Learn Moor’ project took off in style.
Over three days, more than 300 four to eleven-year-olds took part in an active and educational experience that BASC plans to repeat next year with continued support from a number of partners including the North York Moors Moorland Organisation (NYMMO), the National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO), Countryside Learning alongside local gamekeepers and farmers.
BASC North regional officer Gareth Dockerty, who led the scheme, said: “It has been a fantastic opportunity for children to engage in their local habitats. We hope they have realised that it’s one big picture, with the gamekeepers, farmers and police all working together for the benefit of these beautiful moors.
“We showed the children the bell heather, they listened to skylarks singing, saw a lapwing near its nest, found frogs, jumped up and down on the spongy moss. In essence, we explained to the children just how special this area is and how we achieve balance in this beautiful countryside.
“We received a fantastic response to the scheme this year. The legacy funding will support this work for a second year and will allow even more youngsters to see the unique nature on their doorsteps. It is a project we would like to roll out to a wider audience.”
NYMMO’s Tina Brough said: “It was great to get the children out of the classroom and into the fresh air to give them a taste of the excellent conservation work that takes place on the moors. The gamekeepers really enjoyed the experience as it was very different to what they would normally do and we believe the project provides an excellent model for future engagement.”
BASC set up the scheme after securing money from the Police Property Fund, which turns unreturnable stolen or recovered goods into grants for local community groups.
Inspector Jon Grainge of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce said, “Educating children about the moor, and the types of crime which they might encounter there, is important when it comes to preventing crime in the future.”
BASC’s council was so impressed with the project, they agreed to add the legacy funding.
BASC chairman Peter Glenser said: “It is extremely heartening that legacy funding translated directly into smiles on the faces of young people up on the moors. It enables these children to see conservation at close quarters and to sample the amazing wildlife which is such a feature of this region.
“The children played with the gamekeepers’ dogs, listened to skylarks singing and watched a lapwing protecting its nest of young. I don’t think you can put a price on that sort of experience.
“BASC is rightly proud that it supported this project and we were delighted that other organisations like NYMMO, NGO and the police were on board. The project this summer was a credit to all who put in so much hard work to make it a success and should be a model for future schemes that link young people to their countryside.”