Children urged to explore outdoors

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing urges children to explore the great outdoors
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing urges children to explore the great outdoors

Children throughout Dumfries and Galloway are being encouraged to get outdoors and experience some of the region’s natural icons and fantastic landscapes.

Scotland’s Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing is backing VisitScotland’s latest campaign – Natural Explorers – which hopes to encourage more youngsters to make the most of the great outdoors by providing them with inspiration about days out and trips, in time for the October holidays.

The £30,000 Natural Explorers initiative is a partnership between VisitScotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and RSPB Scotland, with more than 165,000 fact-finder booklets, including an outdoor adventure planner game for playground fun, published for distribution to P5, P6 and P7 pupils.

The booklets are designed for teachers to use in discussion during class, then to be taken home so children can share the fascinating natural facts with their parents. The Natural Explorers booklet also points to money-saving offers, as well as the chance to win one of 50 family breaks through the Scottish Youth Hostel Association.

Mr Ewing said: “This fantastic campaign provides an opportunity for young people and their families to explore the natural beauty and outdoor pursuits that Scotland has to offer. I am keen for all young people to enjoy first-hand experience outdoors, whether within the school grounds, in urban green spaces, in Scotland’s countryside or in wilder environments.

“This booklet supports our Year of Natural Scotland celebrations of Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty, landscapes and biodiversity, and this will continue as we progress towards Homecoming 2014 and beyond.

“This programme will help children and their families to learn more about our world renowned scenery, wildlife and other natural attractions.”

Paula McDonald, regional director for VisitScotland, said: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to produce this truly inspirational booklet and that so many children across Dumfries and Galloway will have the opportunity to learn about our fantastic country.

“Throughout the Year of Natural Scotland 2013 we’ve been encouraging as many people to get out and about, and with a beautiful Scottish autumn just about to start, there is still time to enjoy what has been a wonderful year so far.

“The Year of Natural Scotland 2013 provides visitors with the ideal opportunity to become immersed in all things Scottish, from the splendour of our natural spaces to the freshness of our natural larders and the warm welcome from people who passionately care about this wild land.”