There are several strands to this initiative and so far these have included supporting the rescue of Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre and organising competitions with schools to introduce pupils to the rich natural heritage of the National Park. The Friends are developing additional projects to engage with, and stimulate, young people to become more involved and interested in understanding and enjoying the special qualities of the National Park. Any initiatives developed will complement and add value to the work of the National Park Authority.
Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre
The Friends stepped in to help a local voluntary group to secure the future of this Outdoor Education Centre in Lochgoilhead that was closed as a budget saving exercise by Fife Council in summer 2011. We provided some advisory input to the rescue effort and contributed some start up funding when the Group eventually took over and re-opened the Centre in November 2011.
We also assisted with securing funding support from Optical Express and various Trusts to ensure the Centre was able to re-open and undertake a number of improvements. The Centre has played host to thousands of young people on residential outdoor adventure and environmental courses in the National Park since re-opening under the new arrangements with no public subsidy which is a great achievement.
A Wild.Lomond - WildTrossachs project was piloted in 2011/12 with sponsorship support from the National Park’s Natural Heritage Grants scheme. This was aimed at encouraging schoolchildren to learn more about nature and wildlife species in the National Park. School groups or classes developed ‘Species Tales’ as part of a competition.
The future development of this pilot project is under review and it is anticipated that more schools outwith the National Park will be actively encouraged to participate in the future.
Loch Lomond’s Steamship Heritage
The Friends have provided funding support to the Loch Lomond Steamship Company to develop online educational resource materials with West Dunbartonshire Council to tell the story of steamships as part of the curriculum for excellence.