Through our partnership with Raleigh International and as part of our commitment to promoting a sustainability-driven culture across the Air Partner Group, we’ve been delighted to have two representatives from the Group volunteer on Raleigh’s most recent conservation and rewilding programme, Re:Green.
Re:Green is a conservation and youth leadership programme for 18-24-year-olds taking place in remote areas of the Scottish Highlands. As part of the Re:Green initiative, our Volunteer Managers play an important part in the essential work to conserve and restore the Scottish rainforest and other ancient woodlands. Project leading the young volunteers on their campaigning workshops and environmental project sites, our Volunteer Managers help to inspire the young helpers through every stage of the conservation programme.
The first trip in the three-trip programme, saw the group take on numerous conservation activities, including setting up wildlife cameras, gorse cutting to create space for the seedling tree to grow, setting moth traps to identify local species, oyster monitoring, and litter picking. Throughout the programme, the young group of volunteers are hands-on with all areas of activities during the day, with a full curriculum of learning in the evenings, to get a full view on climate campaigning, rewilding, protecting and restoring the natural world.
Take a look at a snapshot of some of the amazing activities the group have been getting up to.
The morning was spent setting up wildlife cameras and learning about the ecological value of peat bogs for carbon storage. In the afternoon the group spent time on the estate's coast sorting oysters which are being reintroduced to clean the water.
The day was spent gorse cutting to create space for the seedling tree to grow in an area that is being rewilded and setting up moth traps to identify local species.
Today the group identified the moth species from the traps set up on the previous day, before looking for different plant species in the area. This is part of the ongoing monitoring in the area which helps determine factors including air quality. As part of the exercise, the group came across a very rare species of a caterpillar – Marsh Fritillary, which has not been seen in the region since the late ’70s.
The morning was spent beach litter picking all the plastic waste that had been washed up from the saltwater Loch. In the afternoon the group undertook some curriculum work.
In the morning the group spent time with the gardening team learning about chemical-free and low carbon growing techniques for fruit and veg. Before an afternoon of further oyster monitoring.
Today the group attended a course on marine biodiversity surveys run by Seawilding and were joined by members of the local community who were being trained as volunteer surveyors to provide regular feedback on the state of local marine life.
The activities today included a beach clean-up, which involved visiting a small island by boat with a seal colony. While the group didn't manage to spot any seals there was a lot of waste that was bagged up and disposed of. In the evening, the group were shown a presentation from The International Conifer Conservation Programme, learning about the important role these trees play in the environment and the global threat they are under.
In the morning the group spent time on gorse removal and in the afternoon they finished painting a bird hide to make it water and weather tight and to help blend in with the landscape to protect bird species in the area.
As the trip nears an end, the group spent the day preparing for a 15k trek to another bay in the area. During their time on the programme, they have been learning about climate change through curriculum modules, gaining some detailed insight and hands-on learning.
The Re:Green programme has been a great insight into protecting and restoring the Scottish rainforest and ancient wildlife, as well as planning and delivering environmental action and awareness to young people. We have more Air Partner Volunteer Managers heading to the Scottish Highlands soon to continue this great initiative.