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‘Wild about Scotland’ education bus visits Deanburn Primary School in Falkirk

19th March 2015

Pupils at Deanburn Primary in Falkirk were able to experience a series of interactive Scottish wildlife lessons this week thanks to a specially designed double-decker education bus currently touring Scotland.

The ‘Wild about Scotland’ bus is visiting schools in West Lothian as part of a wider campaign being brought to all of Scotland’s 32 local councils over the next year. The programme has been developed by the Royal Zoological Society for Scotland (RZSS) and has been made possible through a partnership between Clydesdale Bank and the RZSS to support the charity in its conservation goals across Scotland.

Pupils from Deanburn got to get hands-on in a variety of interactive and fun lessons which focused on Scottish native species, their habitats and environments. Lessons were delivered by a dedicated education team from RZSS.

As part of British Science Week, the team was also joined by PhD biology student, Hannah Taylor, from the University of Edinburgh. As well as lending a hand with the lessons, Hannah helped demonstrate the link between science and nature while answering questions from the children on her own research in animal behaviour.

Chris West, CEO of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “Conservation through education is one of the founding principles behind the Society and remains one of our key goals to this day.

"We believe connecting young people in Falkirk to the natural world is vital and the ‘Wild about Scotland’ outreach programme will further add to the curriculum based learning delivered each year by the Society. Importantly, now more than ever, preserving and learning about the huge variety of wildlife living in Scotland, and how children may help make a difference in the conservation of that wildlife, is of huge worth."

Helen Page, Customer Experience, Products and Marketing Director at Clydesdale Bank said:

"RZSS makes a vital contribution to the conservation of Scotland’s wildlife, both through direct preservation and its commitment to educating the public on endangered species, habitats and ecosystems. We’re proud to be joining forces with them to help deliver this educational programme to primary schools in West Lothian.

"Our support will enable them to bring the ‘Wild about Scotland’ programme to young people not only in Falkirk, but to communities across Scotland that may not otherwise have the opportunity to engage with expertise from RZSS on Scottish conservation."

The customised double-decker has been transformed from a Stagecoach passenger bus into a fully functional and interactive mobile classroom with capacity to accommodate up to 26 children at once.

Laura Beattie, Primary teacher at Deanburn Primary, said:

"The pupils absolutely loved the ‘Wild about Scotland’ bus visiting the school. It’s a great initiative and a fun way for the children to learn about nature without being bound to the classroom."

‘Wild about Scotland’ aims to engage a younger generation with Scotland’s wildlife – not just in forests or wild areas of Scotland, but also in their own back gardens. In particular, the lessons covered the following topics:

  • ‘Minibeasts’ – Looking at the huge diversity of insects on earth and the variety which can be found in the local area.
  • ‘Highland Tiger’ – Raising awareness of the Scottish wildcat plight and what pupils can do to help preserve the species.
  • ‘Beavers’– Looking at whether the beaver should be reintroduced back in to Scotland and the effect reintroducing a species can have on an ecosystem.

The corporate partnership with Clydesdale Bank is the biggest in RZSS’s history and includes significant support. As well as funding the overhaul of the bus, the partnership is helping support the delivery of the programme by the RZSS outreach education team as it travels across Scotland to as many schools as possible. Part of the package also includes a donation to RZSS’s conservation aims for endangered species.

For more information about Clydesdale Bank’s partnership with RZSS and to find out if the bus will be visiting your local primary school, please visit Wild about Scotland.

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