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Are you a teacher?

Please feel free to use our online self-led resources to inspire your pupils in class projects and topics. All learning is linked to the Curriculum for Excellence.

Throughout the project, our Education Officer can also offer lessons and assemblies anywhere in Orkney to help your pupils learn more about Orkney’s native wildlife and the threat of invasive non-native species, such as the stoat.

If you would like to talk to us about coming to your school soon, please contact us.

“The children have experienced a rich learning opportunity. They talk about their knowledge for a long time after the class visit. I also come away feeling a greater sense of appreciation for where I live and inspired to do more of this type of work in my teaching. Thank you!”

P6/7 Teacher, Glaitness Primary

Are you a young person with a passion for nature?

Then check out the Youth Forum! The Forum - or 'Collective' - as they have styled themselves on Instagram, is an informal group of people aged 16-30 with a shared passion for the natural world.

This group meets monthly (more or less), to take part in a range of outdoorsy and nature-based activities. Past examples include foraging for wild garlic, a beach clean-up, and camping out on Hoy. While most of what they get up to takes place under the vast Orkney skies, the group do occasionally venture indoors. When they do, this usually entails some kind of nature-related crafting.

Since the start of 2023, the Forum have experienced the aurora together, spotted golden eagles and watched killer whales cruise along the coast! But while orcas cannot be guaranteed for every occasion, great company can. Take a scroll through the events below, to see what’s on the agenda for this year.

Upcoming events

  • 24 March 2023 - Hoy Camp Out

    On 24 March, the Youth Forum will be camping out in the bothy at Rackwick Bay on Hoy. The evening will be filled with games, stargazing, and s'more-consuming. The Forum will then walk to the Old Man of Hoy the following morning.

  • 15 April 2023 - Day Trip to Wyre

    15 April is the Youth Forum’s first birthday! To celebrate, there will be a nature walk around the beautiful island of Wyre, famed for its otters. The Forum will book ferries to and from Wyre, so get in touch if you like the sound of otter spotting while consuming copious quantities of cake.

  • 14 May 2023 - Guide in the Hide

    On 14 May, the Forum will be in the hide in the Loons, an RSPB reserve in Orkney. Whether you're a birding afficionado or liable to confuse your pigeons with your gannets, this is an opportunity to spend some time in the hide with a real expert.

  • 10/11 June 2023 - Photography With Raymond Beasant

    On the weekend of 10/11 June, the Forum will be treated to a workshop with Raymond Beasant, an Orcadian photographer, author, and filmmaker. Raymond has worked on a range of programs for the BBC Natural History Unit, and his debut film, Flying Dustbin, won two awards at the International Film Festival in Montana, 2009. In the meantime, go get inspired by his Instagram account @orkneymondo.

  • 24 June 2023 - Little Tern Monitoring

    After helping to paint clay terns in March (which are placed near the colony to encourage nesting), the Forum will be helping to monitor the little tern colony at Barrier 4. Terns are struggling to adapt to the climate crisis, and the colony is a real success story. This will be a day for developing practical conservation skills, but still expect the ubiquitous fun and good vibes that the Youth Forum bring to whatever they do!

  • 8 July 2023 - Shorewatch

    Orkney is well known for its whales and dolphins, and the Forum have encountered their fair share while out and about. On 8 July however, cetaceans are the only game in town. The Forum will be joined by Whale and Dolphin Conservation for some expert-guided whale watching. While whales cannot be guaranteed, this is about as good an opportunity as any to see them in the wild.

To get involed in the Youth Forum, email or drop the Forum a message on Instagram @orkney_nature_youth_collective.

Orkney schools celebrate nature in creative writing competition

In 2021 Orkney Native Wildlife Project (ONWP), in partnership with Orkney International Science Festival and Raising Awareness in Science Education (RAiSE), organised a school creative-writing competition inspired by our wonderful native wildlife. Orkney school children were challenged to dive into their ancestor’s language, dig up some forgotten words and celebrate their natural heritage using the Orcadian dialect. The judges had a tough job as the standard was so very high. Here are the winners with links to their work and some photos of the prize giving.

Best Group category: For groups of four or more or a whole class. Boys and girls at Papdale School Class P2/3S for a lovely short story called ‘The Peedie Partan’s Misanter’.

Joint Best Individual Overall: Gracie Train (P7) North Walls Community School for her poem ‘Ringed Plover’.

Joint Best Individual Overall: Erika Bews (P7) Shapinsay School for her poem Oot Me Window I Saa.

Best Orkney School: North Walls Community School for the high quality of all their entries and their creative ideas.

Special Recognition Award: Jessica Rendall Papdale School class P4M for her short story ‘The Vole Travellers’.

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