Pupils of Strath of Appin primary school have been learning about the wonders of Atlantic Woodland and the importance of woodland conservation in Glen Creran. Gordon Gray Stephens from ACT led a classroom session and a visit to the Glen which included a butterfly hunt and a walk through the woods.

The pupils went for a walk through the Atlantic oak woodland and learned about the plants and animals that make the habitat so special. They were introduced to rhododendron and the problems it can cause for native trees and other plants. Heather Watkin, Argyll Reserves Manger for Scottish Natural Heritage, helped the pupils look for butterflies in Glasdrum National Nature Reserve. They were delighted to find some chequered skippers – a small butterfly found primarily in the west of Scotland.

Education and community engagement are a vital part of the Glen Creran rhododendron project. The rhododendron clearance work, facilitated by ACT, will span three years, but the recovery of the woodland habitat will take much longer. By involving the community, including children, through a programme of education, guided walks and volunteer training it is hoped that they will continue the conservation work and manage the woodland for many years to come.

Find out more about the project and the problem with rhododendron in our Blogs: pesky ponticum part one and part two.

Pupils search for butterflies with Heather from SNH Example of a chequered skipper butterfly (photo: Bob Eade/Butterfly Conservation)
Pupils and teachers enjoy a walk in the woods