Schools visiting Forsinard's peat bogs

19/05/2016 9:55am
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It’s great to get out and about with young people. Although the midges started to appear this week, on the plus side the weather is slowly becoming milder. So far since Easter we have had 4 school classes come to the RSPB reserve to learn firsthand about peatlands and how important they are for tackling climate change. And several more school classes will visit the peat bogs before the summer holidays.

When coming on the train or bus, the children do not always appreciate the richness of the wide open landscape that rolls out around them. But when we get up close with some special plants, or with the wonderful life cycle of dragonflies, it becomes easier to understand that the value of a place is not always plain obvious! One of the ways I like to illustrate this is with a peat probe This probe can be pushed right down into the peat to show how deep it is and comes up sticky with the ancient peat . The children are intrigued by the age of the peat, and even more so when they can touch the 2000-year old peat they are standing on top of. The peat has been growing for such a long time. Will it continue to do so for another 2000 years? Or do we need to help and take action?

It is that first-hand experience that really makes a difference in knowing how special peatlands are, for both adults and children. Of course, the sensitivity of the peat forming Sphagnum has to be taken into account, just as we need to take care when accessing peatlands during the bird breeding season. Therefore, it is great to have the boardwalk, the Lookout and the visitor centre facilities at RSPB Forsinard Flows. We are also looking forward to start using the field centre. This will have additional educational facilities and resources and is due for completion in the autumn this year!

I am looking forward to all the planned visits to Forsinard, as well as the outreach sessions with the Highland Council Ranger in the Durness and Kinlochbervie area!