Global Network of National Geoparks

The countryside rangers in North West highlands geopark

Published :April 18, 2008

M. Krabbendam
British Geological Survey, Murchison House, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3LA, Scctland, UK

Keywords: Guided Walks, environmental education, public outreach, schools, families

North West Highlands Geopark has 3 full-time and 3 part-time Rangers employed by the Highland Council. From April to November the Rangers offer a series of guided walks, illustrated talks and family orientated activities in the Geopark.
The Rangers are based in 3 different Tourist Information Centres where they have displays, objects of interest from the natural environment, a small library and nature orientated jigsaws and games for the children. At beach locations the Rangers have huts with more objects found at the beach, displays and a book for people to enter their own wildlife sightings. These are open 24 hours a day.

The annual guided walk programmer covers geology and landscape but also birds of prey, rock pool rummages for all the family, plants, insects and archaeology. During European Geopark Week in the spring and The Scottish Geology Festival in September each year the Rangers offer a special activity programmer.

Another important aspect of the Rangers work is environmental education with local primary schools. A current schools activity is the 'What Lives in Our Sea?' project. This brings together environmental field skills and art to teach the children about their home environment.