Get kids outdoors, says Forestry Commission

Scotland’s tourism minister is urging Lanarkshire schoolchildren to get outdoors and experience some of the country’s natural icons and fantastic landscapes.

Fergus Ewing is backing VisitScotland’s latest campaign, Natural Explorers, which hopes to encourage more youngsters to make the most of the great outdoors by providing them with inspiration about days out and trips, in time for the October holidays.

The £30,000 Natural Explorers initiative is a partnership between a number of organisations including VisitScotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and RSPB Scotland.

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More than 165,000 fact-finder booklets including an outdoor adventure planner game for playground fun, have been published for distribution to P5, P6 and P7 pupils in schools throughout Scotland to encourage them to take part.

The booklets are designed for teachers to use in discussion during class, then to be taken home so children can share the fascinating natural facts with their parents.

The Natural Explorers booklet also points to money saving offers, as well as the chance to win one of 50 family breaks through the Scottish Youth Hostel Association.

Tourism Minister MSP Fergus Ewing, said: “This fantastic campaign provides an opportunity for young people and their families to explore the natural beauty and outdoor pursuits that Scotland has to offer.

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“I am keen for all young people to enjoy first-hand experience outdoors, whether within the school grounds, in urban green spaces, in Scotland’s countryside or in wilder environments.

“This booklet supports our Year of Natural Scotland celebrations of Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty, landscapes and biodiversity and this will continue as we progress towards Homecoming 2014 and beyond.

“This programme will help school children and their families to learn more about our world renowned scenery, wildlife and other natural attractions.”

Annique Armstrong, regional director for VisitScotland, added; “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to produce this truly inspirational booklet and that so many children across Lanarkshire will have the opportunity to learn about our fantastic country.

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“Throughout the Year of Natural Scotland 2013 we’ve been encouraging as many people to get out and about, and with a beautiful Scottish autumn just about to start, there is still time to enjoy what has been a wonderful year so far.”

She added: The Year of Natural Scotland 2013 provides visitors with the ideal opportunity to become immersed in all things Scottish, from the splendour of our natural spaces to the freshness of our natural larders and the warm welcome from people who passionately care about this wild land.”