The Re:Green programme run by Raleigh International aims to inspire young people to take action on issues of the climate and ecological crisis. We have been fortunate enough to volunteer on the Kilchoan Estate by helping with existing marine and terrestrial rewilding projects. As a group of young people from different backgrounds and places, we have been united by the common aim of restoring and protecting Scotland’s biodiversity. We have learnt a huge amount in a short period of time from extremely passionate and dedicated staff here at Kilchoan, such as the role that ferns play as indicator species in monitoring climate change.
A few of the highlights:
Discovering and recording Marsh Fritillary caterpillars on the estate for the first time since they were last recorded in 1979
Taking part in the full lifecycle of the oyster restoration project from stocking nursery cages, sorting them, removing predators and releasing them back into the wild
Becoming certified oyster monitors and coastal biodiversity surveyors through training from the charity Seawilding
Meeting and listening to the renowned horticulturalist Martin Gardner who has a specific expertise in Chilean botany
Partaking in terrestrial rewilding through removing invasive species to allow native saplings to thrive
Having access to the broad expertise and enthusiasm of horticulturalist Luke and marine biologist Marnik (the ferns versus oysters debate goes on)
Visiting the vegetable garden and being exposed to low carbon gardening techniques which the gardeners here have pioneered on the estate
Catching a glimpse of a range of interesting and uncommon species including the golden eagle, red squirrels, dogfish and otters
We were all inspired to implement what we have learnt into our own lives, for instance Ross will seek oyster monitoring programmes at their local coastlines. Lucy intends to join her local wildlife group to learn more and help monitor local biodiversity. Jane, Enkuush and Ricki will certainly partake in similar programmes during the remainder of our gap years and potentially return to further develop the Kilchoan projects. Greg is going to be rolling out the Raleigh Action Challenges at work as well as undertaking some litter picking sessions with his family.
We would like to give a massive thank you to the whole team at the Kilchoan Estate for making our stay so wonderful and being extremely welcoming as well as giving up their time to share their knowledge.