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Under new management

Last modified: 27 March 2012

Primary school pupils at Loch Leven

Pupils takeover the newlook RSPB Loch Leven (formerly Vane Farm)

Image: Colin Hattersley

You’d be forgiven for thinking staff at the new-look RSPB Loch Leven appear a little on the young side today (Tuesday 27th March). That’s because for one day only the popular Kinross-shire nature reserve has been taken over by junior conservationists.

16 pupils from nearby Portmoak Primary School have been granted the unique honour of running their own nature reserve for one day, in a bid to learn more about working in conservation.

It comes as the Kinross-shire nature reserve, formerly known as Vane Farm, officially reopens after its £500,000 makeover, with a new look and new name: RSPB Loch Leven.

Since 2008, a major project has worked at transforming the reserve, providing improved habitat for a variety of birds and revamped facilities for visitors.

Work included restoring wet grassland areas to benefit wading birds and wildfowl, and the refurbishment of the visitor centre, including the popular cafe, shop, car park and disabled toilets. These improvements were made possible by a generous grant from Biffa Award and the Rural Tayside LEADER 2007-2013 Programme.

This year also marks the 45th anniversary of environmental education at the site, which regularly provides an ideal setting for up to 3,000 children each year to learn more about the natural environment.

In a bid to show the primary 7 pupils more about life on a nature reserve, each child was given the chance to takeover an important role, applying to be either a warden, information officer, retail assistant or cafe assistant.

Helen Black, Class teacher at Portmoak Primary, said: “We are very grateful to be able to take part in this event as it provides the children with real-life learning experiences. These opportunities to carry out different roles in a new setting will enable them to identify achievements, skills and areas for development which hopefully will help them to prepare for the next stage in their lives and in their learning. In addition, it allows the children to play a part in bringing about a positive change in the wider community.

Uwe Stoneman, Site Manager at RSPB Loch Leven said: “There are many different aspects of running a reserve - each requiring certain skills and attributes - so it’s great to see these children taking such pride in showing our visitors the new RSPB Loch Leven, and putting into the practise the things they’ve learned over the past couple of months. It’s also an exciting change for our visitors to see our revamped reserve through the eyes of young conservationists.”

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