‘Lie of the Land’ Schools Project Shortlisted for RSPB Award

Pupils at the top of Screel
Pupils at the top of Screel

A local school project has made the shortlist for the prestigious RSPB – Nature of Scotland Awards.

The project entitled ‘Lie of the Land’ has been nominated under the Youth and Education awards category at the ceremony which takes place on Thursday 20 November at the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh.

The Lie of the Land project, which took place in 2013, was based on recognition that many school pupils in Dumfries and Galloway live in our region without ever taking advantage of the beautiful landscapes available on their doorstep. To address this, the Council’s Education Department and Planning & Environment Services took 18 S2 pupils from four local secondaries into the National Scenic Areas in the Stewartry. The aim was then to document how young people responded to the landscape.

Funded by Dumfries and Galloway Council together with the Holywood Trust and the schools themselves, this project was supported by film maker John Wallace and writer Jackie Galley. They helped the young people to express and record their responses to places as diverse as the Galloway Forest, Screel Hill and the Carrick Shore. Throughout the project the participants were involved in a range of activities such as astronomy, biodiversity and were also assisted by a member of the Ranger Service.

A film about the project was produced and premiered at Fullarton Theatre in Castle Douglas on 27 September 2013. This evening included a presentation being made by the participants, who also took responsibility for the running of the event. Approximately 100 people were in attendance. The film was then showcased at an Education Scotland event held in Kilmarnock in March, when again, the presentation was pupil lead.

A booklet of images and written work generated over the three days was produced, and this will shortly be distributed to local libraries.

The project’s organizers and the film-maker will now attend the ceremony with a pupil from each of the schools involved. The awards, which are presented by broadcaster Chris Packham, acknowledge the valuable conservation work undertaken to protect and restore Scotland’s unique and special places.

Councillor Jeff Leaver, Chair of the Education Committee, said “Being shortlisted for this award is fantastic recognition of the work undertaken by Council Services and the school pupils involved in this impressive project.

It is one of our main aims to support children in being healthy and active and the ‘Lie of the Land’ project encourages our young people to do both by going outside and exploring the countryside. This nomination will also promote our region by drawing focus on the natural beauty the landscapes of Dumfries and Galloway has to offer.

I would like to wish all involved in the project the best of luck at the Awards.”