Coinciding with Scotland’s Year of Young People, the John Muir Trust has recruited four young people to work as conservation rangers on properties in the Highland Perthshire, the West Highlands and the English Lake District.
These practical land-based roles are part of a new initiative funded by the ALA Green Trust. Its aim is to help young people kick-start their careers in nature conservation by working alongside land staff in rugged mountain landscapes that the John Muir Trust manages. They will gain invaluable hands-on experience, supported with a generous training budget to encourage the development of relevant skills.
The posts are based at Schiehallion, Ben Nevis, the Skye Cuillin and Helvellyn in Lakeland.
Izzy Filor, who lives in Dunkeld, will be employed for a ‘sandwich’ year working with Schiehallion Land Manager Liz Auty. “Being involved in the day-to-day management of East Schiehallion has proved to be a brilliant experience so far and I’m excited to see what the next year will bring,” said Izzy. “I’m always kept on my toes and am constantly gaining new knowledge.
“My highlight so far has been counting mountain ringlet butterflies high up on the slopes of Schiehallion. The beautiful weather so far this summer has brought these montane butterflies out early this year and we were lucky to see so many out on the hill.”
Nathan Berrie, who grew up in Lochaber and struggled at school with dyslexia, will now start a two-year ‘apprenticeship’ at Nevis. He said: “So far, I’ve loved every minute working alongside inspiring individuals in this spectacular landscape that I grew up in. I learn something new and unique every day.”
Eighteen-year-old year Finn Lane from Skye has just finished his crofting and countryside skills course at West Highland College UHI in Broadford, and will now start a one-year paid ‘sandwich’ placement on the Trust’s nearby Strathaird Estate.
He will work alongside Sarah Lewis, the Skye Conservation Officer for the John Muir Trust, who said: “We’ve worked with Finn through his crofting and countryside skills course and have found him thoughtful, practical and down-to-earth, so we’re delighted to welcome him on board. He’ll be a great asset over the coming year.”
Isaac Johnston, from Bowness-on-Windermere has joined the Trust as apprentice conservation officer at Glenridding Common which looks Helvellyn, England’s third tallest mountain. He will be involved in hosting educational visits and guided walks, as well as tree planting, path maintenance, habitat monitoring and other conservation work.
He said: “My job at the John Muir Trust has given me the opportunity of a lifetime. I feel privileged to be able to live and work in such an amazing part of the world while gaining new skills and learning all the time. Conducting bird and butterfly surveys, maintaining mountain footpaths and planting some of England’s rarest mountain flora have been my highlights so far!”
Mike Daniels, Head of Land Management for the Trust said: “We are really excited by this opportunity to employ young local people on the properties we manage. Conservation is a growing sector in the rural economy, and it’s great that we’re able to make such as tangible contribution to Scotland’s Year of Young People.”