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Forty two girls and boys, aged between 6 and 15, accompanied by 7 leaders and adult helpers from both Kirkby Stephen Scout Group and Loki Explorer Scout Unit travelled to the Whinlatter Forest Visitor Centre on Saturday 21st April for a fun-packed day working towards their Environment Partnership Award. This award, sponsored by Serco Environment, encourages young people to take pride in keeping their neighbourhood clean and requires them to successfully identify, plan, complete and assess an environmental project as part of a team.
With pick-ups at Brough, Kirkby Stephen and Tebay, the coach arrived at the centre with Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers on board, ready and eager for a full day’s programme of activities. The first session was an introduction by the Rangers to the life and work of everyone at Whinlatter, and the scouts all enjoyed examining all the exhibits, such as horns, stuffed animals and furs.
This was followed by a Guided Trail, Bug Hunt and Pond Dipping session for Beavers and Cubs, giving them an experience in the vivid and thriving ecology of the forest. The Scouts and Explorers had expert tuition in how to use some of the wood-chopping equipment, and then took part in some very hands-on conservation work, even trying to see which team could saw their trees down first!
Later in the day, while Beavers and Cubs bravely tackled a woodland assault course and other challenges, Scouts and Explorers walked one of the many rugged trails of the forest.
Group Scout Leader, Loïs Wiseman, said: “The rangers understood their brief and delivered in full; the day was exceptional, and we have all been invited back to do more conservation work with them!”
Time in the Gift Shop at the end of the day allowed everyone to buy a souvenir. “Brilliant”, “Awesome” and “Fantastic” were some of the comments summing up the day from the young people. The rangers were delighted with the intelligent questions posed, the children’s enthusiasm, and the way in which each scout faced an aspect of personal challenge.
Anyone who feels they would like to be part of the Scouting adventure in their area or wants to know more should contact the County Scout Office on 0845 094 6059 or visit www.scouts.org.uk/join