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There is little likelihood that the Young Naturalist Club will be able to meet anytime soon at Brodick Castle and country park.
The club, which usually meets every second Saturday of the month, is run by the Arran Ranger Service who have been furloughed by the National Trust for Scotland, with as many as 75 per cent facing the threat of redundancy.
This week two of its young members wrote to the Banner telling of their concern for the future of the club and the ranger service.
Callum Brand, aged six, wrote: ‘Hi everyone, I am very sad to hear that the Young Nats Club at the rangers centre might be stopping as there will be no rangers to run it. I love going to this fun club with my friends as I learn lots of new, interesting things and I get to be in the forest!’
While seven-year-old Mac McArdle said: ‘I go to Young Nats at Brodick Castle. The rangers run it and it’s so much fun! Sometimes you chop down bushes or make fires and learn stuff about the castle. My mum says it won’t happen this year because of coronavirus. Please can you help us get it running again? Thank you!’
At the last prize-giving at the club, last December, outdoor enthusiast Callum Glister was chosen as the young naturalist of the year for 2019 after he and other club members had enjoyed another great year of activities including a bat walk, tree planting in Glen Rosa, beach safari, rhodie bashing and many other outdoor fun activities.
Meanwhile a national campaign has been launched in support of the rangers and ecologists Scotland wide who are at risk of redundancy. Last Friday night campaigners launched a petition asking NTS and the Scottish Government to save vital countryside jobs and protect Scotland’s nature. By Monday morning 3,200 people had signed.
The National Trust for Scotland is Scotland’s largest conservation charity and one of the biggest employers of countryside rangers in Scotland. However, the trust has put over half their staff at risk of redundancy, proposing to cut 429 jobs.
Campaigners have set up a petition http://bit.ly/2B0sHJm calling for the protection of vital countryside jobs and of Scotland’s nature. The #ForTheLoveOfNature campaign takes its name from NTS’s strapline ‘For The Love Of Scotland’, with individuals and organisations urging NTS to recognise the value of Scotland’s nature reserves and of the staff who have devoted years and decades to protecting them.
Mac McArdle sent this picture himself at the club. NO_B25nats01
Members of the Young Naturalist Club at the prizegiving last December. NO_B52naturalist05