Young Rangers : Meadow Conservation

Faye McLean explains why she loves volunteering with YDNP

I first joined Young Rangers in 2018.

Gardening and the outdoors runs in my family and I am no exception: two years on and the thought of clearing and collecting sticks still appeals to me. Between 2018 and last weekend I had been unable to attend Young Rangers due to the awful mix of Covid and University, which mainly consisted of my small uni room and computer. So when my younger sister signed up for a day of meadow conservation, I leapt at the chance.

Even only four hours of hands-on work outside is the perfect cure for Vitamin D deficiency and square eyes; I definitely needed it. Not only that, but chatting with the Rangers and learning about conservation methods provided me with some skills and opportunities that I will use in my Archaeology degree.

I think Young Rangers is especially important for those who don’t have the outdoors running in their family or, like me, no longer breathe enough fresh air. It gives the perfect chance to connect with something other than the Wifi and Zoom calls. Now more than ever, Young Rangers and conservation opportunities of any kind provide escapism that is needed by all ages. I am very thankful that Young Rangers could give me that (follow the Dales Young Rangers on Facebook).

Whashton Parish : Local Leadership

The Whashton Parish Net Zero Carbon Footprint Project

Whashton Parish shows how a picturesque, rural hamlet can make a difference by taking action. It's Net Zero project has kicked off with two major components. Firstly, a survey has been undertaken to determine the current sources of energy used across the Parish. The Parish plans to review sustainable and renewable energy sources and to seek funding support to help residents if they wish to transfer to non-carbon energy. Secondly, a group of enthusiastic residents has formed the Whashton Wildlife Group (WWG) to monitor and grow the biodiversity of their lovely parish. To-date the WWG and the Parish Meeting Committee have together created two nature reserves, including the re-instatement of Bobby's Bank to how it looked when filmed for the original 'All Creatures Great and Small' TV series.

St Francis Xavier School, Taking on plastic, and winning!

Year 9 student Mathilde's eco team has unwrapped the power of constructive campaigning

‘I've been part of the St Francis Xavier (SFX) eco team for two years now. My favourite part of being in the eco team is all the experiences it brings to us such as when we went to the Guardian Newspaper after one of our members wrote a letter to them explaining how they could use potato starch bags instead of single use plastics bags to wrap their magazines in – and they did it!'

Tree cheers for Newton

Bob Sampson shows that being Covid-secure doesn't stop tree-planting...

Earlier this winter Newton-le-Willows Climate Change Group wrote to local landowners and asked if they would be willing to have trees planted on a small area of their land. Seven responded positively and then residents were asked if they would sponsor the plants. An amazing £700 was raised almost instantly, enabling nearly 300 trees to be planted with suitable protection.

Volunteers (including Beth and Hannah, pictured) carried out the planting in pairs, socially distanced in order to meet Covid requirements. Bob would like to thank all who contributed to what was a very enjoyable environmental project.

Incredible! Reeth gets growing...

Stacey Adlard has created a community kitchen garden.

Incredible Edible is a network of local groups who have created community vegetable gardens on unused bits of land across the country.

Sustainable Swaledale has created a series of raised beds in the medical centre garden in Reeth and a smaller plot in Gunnerside, so that people can grow their own vegetables for free, by communally tending and harvesting. The Yorkshire Dales National Park Sustainable Development Fund helped us buy the materials.

Eating local produce reduces food miles and packaging, thereby reducing its carbon footprint. It brings like-minded people together in the community and provides opportunities for those who may not have the space, time or ability to maintain a garden of their own.

In our first season we were able to produce a variety of herbs, beans, greens, courgettes, turnips, lettuce and more. This year we are hoping to create more raised beds to enable us to expand our project further.