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Friday, 19 December 2014

Wildlife festival for all

A WILDLIFE festival in Dumfries and Galloway is set to save young naturalists from extinction, with more than 100 family-friendly wildlife events, activities and adventures during the Year of Natural Scotland.

The 10th Wild Spring Festival from March 29 to May 31 in Dumfries and Galloway and Southern Ayrshire is addressing the recent claims by TV veteran Sir David Attenborough and BBC Spring Watch presenter Chris Packham that young naturalists have become an “extinct species”.

Interviewing Sir David for the Radio Times, Chris, who gave a talk in Langholm last year, said: “When it comes to children, the one species which is extinct in the British countryside is the young naturalist. I’m out there all the time and I just don’t see the boy that I was and you were. That’s a disaster in waiting, isn’t it?

“The passion has to come from the heart. You’ve got to want to set your alarm clock to go out and sit in a hide. Young people in particular are so disconnected from the natural world. It’s a shame to think that there aren’t kids out there.”

Wilma Finlay, chairman of Destination Dumfries & Galloway, said: “We would like to challenge more young naturalists to take part in one of the Wild Spring Festival’s many unique and surprising festival adventures.

“From sharks, frogs and fishtails to badgers, red kites, barnacle geese and buzzards and from red deer, reptiles and red squirrels to bats, moths and bugs, there is a huge amount to discover in Dumfries and Galloway.

“Many of the festival events are free and most are hosted by some of the country’s best wildlife experts, offering a fantastic opportunity for all budding Chris Packhams, Sir David Attenboroughs or Kate Humbles.”

Festival events take place around Dumfries and Galloway and the recently-designated Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere recognises the outstanding natural environment and the way in which the community works to conserve it.

Chris Miles, Scottish Natural Heritage area manager, said: “Events like the Wild Spring Festival, especially in this celebratory Year of Natural Scotland, are essential to help inspire the next generation to find out how wonderful the natural world is.”

For further information about the festival visit www.wildspringfestival.com

A number of events are being planned for wildlife enthusiasts in Eskdale, details of which will be publicised later.

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