The next generation of those who will safeguard our wildlife and wild places is set to grow thanks to a £308,400 grant to the Scottish Wildlife Trust from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future programme.
The grant will enable the Scottish Wildlife Trust to run a further ecological survey course. The 18 month programme is a practical field based course and aims to fill the current worrying gap in surveying, assessing and recording of wildlife and habitats.
Would-be field ecologists are queuing up for such training; the current course attracted over 450 applicants for 10 places. From tracking wildcats and identifying mosses to studying rare ant colonies and assessing ecosystem health this intensive course is designed to secure the future of field survey skills in Scotland.
Scottish Wildlife Trust Chief Executive, Simon Milne said:
“Good wildlife recording and identification skills are vital to carrying out effective conservation. This is particularly important when undertaking assessments connected to planning applications, to ensure that our resources are directed to where they are needed the most, and to assess results of our work. We are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for this wonderful grant and for their confidence in our work”.
Carolyn Cowan, a student on the current course, Developing Ecological Surveying Skills said:
“On this course I have learnt ecological skills and knowledge far beyond my expectations and have seen an amazing range of wildlife and habitats – including a species of bat new to Scotland. I look forward to using these skills to study and protect Scotland’s wonderful biodiversity. I am so grateful to the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund for this opportunity.”
Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said:
“We have been overwhelmed by the response to our Skills for the Future programmes which clearly shows a great hunger for skills training within our sector. HLF has been championing work-based placements for a number of years and we are pleased to be in a position to give even more financial support to the Scottish Wildlife Trust. It is great news for the sector which a decade ago feared that many key skills would be lost.”