North West Chilterns Rangers Young People Conservation LAF project 2018/19
Chiltern Rangers engaged with 192 young people and 70 adult volunteers who contributed 876 hours of volunteering on sites in the North West Chilterns. Many of the schools/youth organisations and families we worked with were new to Chiltern Rangers. We are grateful for the support of Butterfly Conservation, the National Trust, BBOWT, local private landowners and all of the volunteers and groups who joined in.
We mainly worked on rare chalk grassland sites managing the sites for the benefit of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority species, the Duke of Burgundy Butterfly in particular. Volunteers carried out a wide variety of tasks in line with the management that these habitats needed.
October 2018 Risborough Youth Club
Ranger Paul Stack and artist Dan Wilson constructed and painted arty bird boxes with Risborough Youth Club which the young people took back home with them. The Youth Club team are keen to make the next step and bring their young people out to a practical session as part of the 2019/20 LAF project.
October 2018 Wardrobes with Bledlow Ridge Year 4 and Folow Up Session With Highcrest Academy Special Needs Forest School Group
We used our Heart Of Bucks funded Minibus (as with all of the schools in this project) to transport a brilliant class of year 4s for their first ever taste of being a Junior Ranger. They carried out a wide variety of tasks, creating a network of sheltered glades and paths ideal for the Duke of Burgundy Butterfly. All was then ready for a bonus session funded by The Fish Partnership where HIghcrest Academy’s Special Needs Forest School group braved the weather and continued cutting down walls of scrub and planting cowslips. As a result both schools are keen to work with us again.
The benefits we see from this sort of work are so very valuable to these students. The confidence it develops in them, before our eyes, and the sense of achievement are really precious to this vulnerable group.
Half Term Family Events at Far Kingdom and Small Dean Bank
We were blessed with fantastic weather at both events at new sites to Chiltern Rangers. Over 40 people, of all ages, volunteered at each of these sessions, some were inspired to come after our school sessions, others were inspired by our marketing of the event supported by the Bucks County Council Communities team. It was good to see so many different groups partnering together. For example at Small Dean Bank we saw our volunteers, Butterfly Conservation, Bucks Unite Youth Ambassadors and the National Trust all mixing in working together.
February 2019 Hughenden Primary at Grangelands
When delivering a project of this nature, there are always unforeseen events and Hughenden Primary School were able to come at short notice after another school cancelled. We led an event with our friends from BBOWT and Butterfly Conservation clearing a large area of scrub and building fences to protect slow growing juniper saplings. We are looking forward to working again with the school in the future. Ranger Steph received a letter from one of the Hughenden Primary School pupils saying,
‘Thank you so much for driving us and helping us out when we arrived. We all said it was our most favourite school trip EVER!’
Three Sessions at Dean Farm
Naphill and Walters Ash Combined School came twice to carry out a variety of tasks from cutting down scrub to make sunny sheltered scallops for the Duke to raking up brushcut areas, disturbing the soil and making space for wildflowers to germinate and grow through and managing a big bonfire. This all preparing the way for a group of Bledlow Ridge Students to plant 250 Cowslips donated by Butterfly Conservation and grown by local charity, Lindengate.
We had a fab day and the parents talked about how much their children enjoyed it at Parents evening.