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Young Scot’s Vision for Natural Engagement

A new report by Scotland’s national youth biodiversity panel, ReRoute, has set out how Scotland’s young people can better connect with nature in our cities and countryside, with improved access to jobs.

ReRoute, which was formed in 2015 through a partnership between Young Scot and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), previously carried out a study which found that half of young people in Scotland want to take action to help protect the environment, and three quarters (76%) of young Scots aged 11-25 consider nature to be important to them.

Based on their research the group has produced a series of recommendations to advise Scottish Natural Heritage and policymakers in Scotland on how to get more young people to engage with the country’s natural environment in urban and rural locations.

Access the full report here – ReRoute Recommendations

The panel’s recommendations include simplifying language and avoiding terms such as ‘biodiversity’ and ‘heritage’ as almost two in three (63%) young people don’t know what the word ‘biodiversity’ means. They also call for more outdoor learning opportunities, junior ranger programmes in urban areas, establishing ‘kit libraries’ for outdoor clothing, a central platform for volunteering opportunities and for Scottish Natural Heritage to introduce more paid entry-level positions for young people.

and urban areas and develop opportunities for those interested in pursuing a career in the environmental sector.

SNH will use the findings of this report to directly support Scotland’s Biodiversity Strategy and Route Map to 2020.

SNH’s commitments made today include:

  • Junior ranger schemes to launch in Scotland’s urban areas, commencing with a pilot scheme in Aberdeen. Working with local authorities and partners to get young people involved in nature on their doorstep, learning about the environment, helping make their local places attractive for people and nature, undertaking practical work – and above all – having fun outdoors.
  • As part of the Aberdeen Junior Ranger scheme, ‘kit libraries’ also to be made available in the city, to help remove barriers for young people who are keen to get outdoors, but do not have access to specialist clothing – such as boots or waterproofs.
  • Junior rangers, ReRoute members and other young people will work with SNH to help us establish urban nature parks and develop ideas for Scotland’s first urban nature reserve.
  • Continuation of the Future Routes Fund for a further 5 years, with £100,000 of funding for individuals and groups of young people to promote Scotland’s nature.

and’s wonderful environment for granted but for many young people living in urban areas they can often face a number of challenges when it comes to accessing nature.

“This fantastic new scheme will encourage young people to get outside, get active and gain new experiences which can be beneficial for their future jobs prospects.”

Katherine Best, Reroute member said: “It is so important for young people to be involved in nature! We need to connect to our roots and what better way, than to let our younger generation explore and appreciate our countries greenery. Our report has shown us that a lot of young people value nature, but many don’t realise the true meaning of it and we’d like to see this change.”

Mike Cantlay, Chair of SNH said: “We know that living and working in great places brings huge benefits for physical and mental health. But in some areas, there is little or no opportunity to access the fundamentals of nature – grass, trees, bees and other insects. In this, the Year of Young People, we are delighted to work with Scotland’s youth to better enjoy nature on their doorstep.

“SNH will be working with young people and Young Scot to implement these recommendations over the next twelve months. This is just the start, as we work to ensure that we as an organisation engage and include young people in those critical decisions we need to take – and more importantly, ensure our young people are involved in the decisions about the future of their country’s finest asset, Scotland’s great outdoors.”

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said “The ReRoute panel has provided powerful insight into how young people should be supported to get more directly involved in the environment and nature. It’s fantastic to see young Scots having their expertise, ideas and opinions sought and listened to and I have no doubt that these recommendations will have an impact on policy making for SNH and Scotland’s environmental sector for years to come. This report is just the beginning.”