Protecting Orkney’s native wildlife and economy depends on us all working together, from landowners to tourism businesses, visitors to volunteers. It also depends on young people wanting to learn about and help protect their local environment.
As well as raising awareness about the importance of eradicating stoats from Orkney, the project wants to celebrate Orkney's incredible native wildlife and ensure people can be involved in all parts of the project.
This includes encouraging and supporting young people to learn about how to protect and help Orkney's wildlife through school visits and a youth forum and supporting research projects.
Orkney loves nature
A consultation during the project's development in 2018 revealed immense and widespread support for Orkney's native wildlife:
92% believed we have a duty to protect our native wildlife,
88% worried about the declines stoats would cause in native wildlife if nothing was done,
84% supported eradicating stoats.
The Education Officer is responsible for working with teachers and youth leaders so young people in Orkney have opportunities to learn about the wildlife that lives here, the threats it faces and can be actively involved in its protection. The community team runs events, provides regular updates, is here to answer questions and support people to get involved.
Throughout the project, the Education Officer can visit schools across Orkney to deliver a series of lessons and assemblies about Orkney’s native wildlife and the threat of invasive non-native species particularly stoats.
Students and teachers are introduced to the project and sessions also cover trap safety awareness, vital knowledge if children find traps in the countryside. All lessons are adjusted for the age group and linked to the Curriculum for Excellence.
"Such a difficult subject to cover with young children, but you delivered it in such a sensitive way and thoughtful manner."
P2/3 Teacher, St. Andrews Primary School
Other ways to get involved
The restrictions of the pandemic have stopped all events and workshops for now. In the meantime, planning for a youth forum is underway and community events and tourism workshops will restart when it is safe and legal to do so.
There are opportunities to volunteer to help check traps, monitor wildlife, take part in citizen science, become a biosecurity champion as part of an incursion taskforce on the islands near to Orkney Mainland and much more.