YOUNG people have been getting stuck in, protecting local wildlife and caring for their environment – and have earned awards for it.
Teen Rangers are a group of 12 to 16- year-olds from West Berkshire and South Oxfordshire who are passionate about wildlife and want to find out more about how to protect it.
In recognition of their hard work and dedication, 10 rangers, eight boys and two girls, were awarded John Muir Discovery Awards last Wednesday.
The awards were presented while they were carrying out some scrub control work at a local lake near Thatcham.
The award is part of a nationally recognised scheme focused on wild places. It encourages people to connect with, enjoy and care for the natural environment.
Teen Rangers is supported by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), helping them gain experience with wildlife and practical conservation.
BBOWT’s community engagement officer Ed Sweetman said: “It’s great to see young people with a real passion and enthusiasm for looking after nature. Any one of them could be the next Chris Packham or David Attenborough.
“Sometimes I feel like they know more than I do about our local native wildlife and there is a real sense of shared learning. But what Teen Rangers really does is give them an outlet for taking real, practical action for nature, while hopefully having a bit of fun at the same time.”
As part of the West Berkshire Linking the Landscape project the rangers have been involved in activities including coppicing, control of bracken, scrub and Himalayan balsam, woodland surveys and bat walks.
They have also helped out at sites including Thatcham Reedbeds, Bowdown Woods, Greenham Common and Manor Farm, near Greenham.
Over the next year the group will be carrying out more conservation work and aim to achieve the next level of the John Muir Award – the Explorer award.
The group meets on the first Wednesday of the month, as well as occasional weekends.
Anyone aged from 12 to 16 is welcome to join for free and can contact Mr Sweetman on (01635) 500886 or firstname.lastname@example.org