AONBs are landscapes of fantastic diversity offering natural and cultural heritage to explore. Through different projects we help young people to connect with and care about the Shropshire Hills landscape.
In partnership with South Shropshire Youth Forum, local schools and other youth groups we have worked with many young people in and around the AONB over the years. The John Muir Award has proven a great way to engage local school children and teachers. The AONB Conservation Fund has also been able to support projects aimed at encouraging young people to explore their local landscape.
We have made a successful bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund to set up new Young Ranger groups in the Shropshire Hills. We are working with South Shropshire Youth Forum to help young people (12-16 year olds) develop an emotional connection with the special heritage of the AONB, and get involved and care for local heritage.
The project is currently on hold due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
When we are able to start, the activities will be designed around four core themes:
- ACTION - Practical tasks to conserve natural or cultural heritage e.g. coppicing, hedgelaying, bracken bashing, scrub clearance, creating habitat, tree planting and would be closely linked to the skills element.
- SKILLS – the opportunity to learn and develop new practical skills will be core to the programme. Young Rangers will take part in courses (some accredited) to learn basic heritage skills such as coppicing and hedgelaying which they can use during the programme, and to further develop on into adulthood.
- LEADERSHIP – a facilitated Young People’s Working Group linked to the Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership to give young people leadership experience and a voice within an established governance structure.
- RECOGNITION – Young Rangers will receive recognition through the John Muir Award, a well-established environmental award. Young Rangers will design their Award during initial sessions planning activity for the year.
- Clee Hill Young Rangers - supported by the AONB Conservation Fund
- Buzz in the Borders - one of 15 projects delivered through the Stiperstones & Corndon Landscape Partnership Scheme
Named after the pioneer of the National Parks movement, the John Muir Award helps participants to discover and explore a wild place, to do something to conserve it, and to share their experience. We have worked with local primary schools to help the children and teachers to gain their Award.
Based on our work, resources have been developed to help other AONBs deliver the John Muir Award across the UK.
“The outdoor learning that we have undertaken with the AONB over the past seven years has been invaluable. It develops children’s understanding of their local environment and the wider landscape of Britain. Being outdoors develops confidence and often engages children who may not otherwise participate fully in school."
Head Teacher, Norbury Primary School