Trees for Life’s activity days encourage students to connect with nature – and introduce them to the possibilities of a career in conservation.

On a sunny day in mid-May, 20 primary six and seven students from Kilchuimen Primary School, Fort Augustus, took part in an activity day at the Trees for Life Dundreggan estate in Glenmoriston.

The event was hosted by five Trees for Life trainees, who have been on a one-year placement since July 2018 learning rural land skills. The activities involved the young visitors participating in aspects from all the different traineeships, including planting rowan tree seedlings, measuring the ages of birch trees, interactive demonstrations and forest craft activities.

Trees for Life works to expand and link fragments of ancient Caledonian Forest through natural regeneration, planting native trees, and removing non-native species.

Paul Greaves, the Skills for Rewilding training programme manager, said, “We were really keen for the trainees to demonstrate to the students that there are exciting and interesting outdoor careers that they could aim for. It was also an excellent opportunity for our trainees to use some of the leadership and practical skills they have gained since joining us at the beginning of the traineeships.”

Tim, Tree Nursery Horticulture Trainee, being helped with baby trees
Image courtesy of Trees for Life

The day was a resounding success and received positive feedback from the students. One commented, “I liked measuring the trees to see how old they were and I was surprised to see what baby trees look like, very different to the older ones.”

Tim Buchan, one of the tree nursery horticulture trainees, who led an activity, said, “It’s great to have young people involved in growing the next generation of trees as part of this Caledonian Forest restoration project.”

The Skills for Rewilding traineeship programme is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The next group of trainees will start in July and recruitment for the third group will start early in 2020.

Header image: Kilchuimen School students planting young rowan trees. Image courtesy of Trees for Life.