Funding of £20,000 has been announced for projects to engage young people with nature at an event to celebrate Scotland’s Youth Biodiversity Panel.
The Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) Future Routes Fund is aimed at those aged 11-26 and supports young people to connect with nature and make a positive impact on the environment in Scotland.
Future Routes aims to help young people improve their local environment, increase their knowledge and understanding of Scottish biodiversity and provide more opportunities to connect with nature.
A partnership with Young Scot, the fund is designed and delivered by the Youth Biodiversity Panel, ReRoute.
The latest round was announced at an event in Edinburgh to celebrate the achievements of ReRoute over the last year.
The group of young people aged 14 – 24 from across Scotland have volunteered more than 1,000 hours over the past 12 months.
Following the publication of ReRoute’s first report in 2018, the panel has been working with SNH to take forward its recommendations on environmental volunteering and jobs; outdoor learning and environmental education; junior rangers and kit libraries and urban nature parks.
New projects have sought to inspire more young people to use the National Walking and Cycling Network (NWCN) and to understand and enjoy Scotland’s access rights, and the panel has also worked to develop engaging online content for young people.
SNH Chief Executive Francesca Osowska said: “Over the past year, ReRoute volunteers have done a fantastic job to help make our work more meaningful and engaging for younger people.
“This funding puts young people at the heart of decision making and ensures that they are fully involved in shaping and delivering the action needed to address climate change and deliver a nature-rich future.”
SNH has also confirmed funding of £22,000 to extend its successful partnership with Young Scot and ReRoute, ensuring that young people continue to be engaged and empowered in the environment sector.
Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said: “Young people always tell us that they want a bigger say in the decisions that affect their lives, and that’s why projects such as ReRoute are so important.
“This partnership will help to ensure that the panellists’ friends and peers engage more with Scotland’s stunning natural environment.”
Panel member Oscar Fisher-Wingate, 15, from Stirlingshire, said: “ReRoute taught me about more than just being environmentally aware, but also about teamwork.
“It’s been great to see how working together can really get things done. Team work will give us the chance to change things for the future.”