New award for Peak youngsters

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Peak District youngsters are showing they know what is special in the National Park by achieving a new award.

The Peak District Award celebrates people’s knowledge of the Peak District National Park’s special qualities, such as its wildlife, plants and local history.

It has been introduced by the Peak District National Park Authority to encourage people to find out about the place and earn recognition for their achievements.

The scheme has been test-piloted by 24 students from Buxton College, including 15 to 19-year-olds and adult learners, and schoolchildren aged 5 to 11 years, from Longnor and Flash (28) and Edale (22) primary schools.

The youngsters chose a special quality and studied it for at least 10 hours with the help of national park rangers and the learning discovery team. They took part in conservation activities, such as making bird boxes, pond-dipping and maintaining paths, in the National Park to qualify for the award.

They received their Peak District Award certificates in a ceremony at the Devonshire Dome, Buxton on January 12.

Tony Favell, Chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, who presented the awards, said: “It was good to hear that these young people have learnt something new about the National Park and thoroughly enjoyed doing so. I hope it will inspire them to do even more and get involved in helping look after this wonderful place.

“The pilot scheme has proved a great success and we are looking forward to more schools getting involved in the year ahead.”

Sue Evans, headteacher at Heathylea Federation of Flash & Longnor school, said: “Studying for the award has given the children a greater sense of belonging to the Peak District. It’s the children’s environment and habitat too and they need to be part of it. They are the farmers and residents of the future and will need to be innovative to look after, live and work in the National Park.”

Following the successful pilot scheme, the Peak District Award is now open to any schools, within the National Park and beyond, and is suitable for all ages and abilities.

The main requirement is that students and teachers find out more about what makes the Peak District National Park special. This could be by going on a ranger guided walk, taking part in a Learning and Discovery event, visiting cultural heritage sites or volunteering for conservation, community, cultural or arts projects.

Sarah Wilks, who co-ordinates the award, said: “We want people to experience what’s special in the national park then spread the word and let others know what they have learnt.”

To gain the Peak District Award, participants must complete a study plan and keep a record of what they have done to show others, for example, a diary, scrap book, video or a blog.

The team aim to extend the award to the public later in the year and will run a pilot scheme in the summer.

Sarah said: “We are looking for individuals, families or groups to complete the award during National Park’s Week, Monday July 30 to Sunday August 5. If you are up for the challenge contact the award team to find out more.”

For more information or to apply for the award contact the Award Team on 01433 620373 or learning.discovery@peakdistrict.gov.uk